Friday, May 13, 2011

They Are Not Forgotten

Post Supplied by: Bill Bishop 

I was helping Carl Mills to get photos for the cemeteries and/or grave sites of our Squadron members listed on our Honour Roll.
Pierre Vandervelden
I discovered a truly remarkable website called In Memory run by Pierre Vandervelden of Belgium.  This site contains links to 3,561 cemeteries  (both large and small) in Belgium, France, and Switzerland.

A link on the main page accesses a cemeteries section which provides a list of all cemeteries (be they WWI, WWII Memorial, Military cemeteries, Communal cemeteries, or Churchyard cemeteries) by country or region.
Once a country or region has been selected, all the cemeteries in that region and the number of veterans (by country of origin ... UK, CAN, NZ, AUS, S.AF, IND) who are interred there will be displayed.
Selecting a specific cemetery displays a listing of all veterans in the cemetery, sometimes with picture(s) of the cemetery and/or individual tombstones.
The work required to create this site and keep it current boggles the mind !
But read on....
On May 2, 2011 I left the following message on Pierre's web site :
Merci mille fois, Pierre, for your excellent efforts....they are appreciated.
I am the administrator of the 400 squadron RCAF blog ( and came across your site while looking for a picture of the Epinay Churchyard in Eure, France to include with the details of one of our past members buried there.
F/O ROBERT WILLIAM CLARKE - PILOT - J12318 - From Ottawa, ON. 
Killed 2 June 1943 - age 20. F/O Clarke was engaged in operations in a Mustang aircraft (#AM256) over the Cabouty - Tisieux area of France and crashed, due to enemy action, at Epinay. 
F/O Clarke is buried in the Epinay Churchyard at Eure (Epinay), France
If you have a picture I would deeply appreciate same by return email.
Once again, many thanks for your outstanding efforts.

Today, May 12 (just 10 days since my guest book entry) an email arrived from Régis Biaux who received permission from Pierre (site owner) to email me.  His mail read, in part:

 I am a contributor with Pierre to cover the region, departments where he has not the possibility to go.Also I visit systematically the french cemeteries where there are Commonwealth graves, specialy in Normandy and for the Seine-Maritime, Eure, Calvados, Orne, Oise..
Recently I have read you message on the guest book of Pierre and I have seen your require.Last saturday, I have visited the Epinay Churchyard in Eure and I have pictures of the RCAF Pilot RW Clarke grave. Epinay will be on line next thursday or friday...
I have attached two photos of the grave and if you want others pictures of the site, church, churchyard entry with the Commonweath Grave Plate, large view of the cemetery..., I can return to you in a next message and I will be a very high pleasure to send to you these pictures. Also as the photos are mine, you can used them on your site if you want but only with the legend "Photo Coutesy Régis Biaux" as we note on the Pierre site..
Here are the two pictures Régis sent me:
Photo Courtesy Régis Biau
Photo Courtesy Régis Biau

View F/O RW Clarke

Here is my reply 
Dear Régis,
… or I should say dear Comrade,
Many thanks for what you have done.  It is deeply appreciated.  I just put your photographs on our blog.  You can look at your fine work here: F/O R.W. Clarke (link)
Régis, in addition to providing a link to Pierre's “In Memory”, I have also written an article describing how we connected. You can see it here: They Are Not Forgotten (link)
At your convenience, I would also appreciate a copy of the other photos you mentioned.
I used a translator to change English to French.  I hope it is understandable in French.
Again, in the name of all the members of 400 Squadron, of the  Royal Canadian Air force, I express our sincere appreciation for your efforts.
Best Regards,
Bill Bishop
Now, something truly amazing !
The following information is relative to my Uncle Herbert, after whom I am named 
...William Herbert Bishop

Flight Lieutenant HERBERT BOND  CLARKE 
138020: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Division: RAF Transport Command, Group 45
who died age 24,on February 6,1945

Although F/O R.W. Clarke and my Uncle Herbert, F/O H.B. Clarke share the same last name they are not biologically related . However.....
No one can convince me that there was not unseen, and unknown, guidance involved in leading me in the direction I have travelled during this search. 
Maybe not biologically related ....but I wonder ?
Return To: F/O Clarke
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