histoire d'une forteresse volante abbattue à Saint-Colomban, près de Nantes, le 4 juillet 1943
1943 - 2004
July 3,4,5, 2004
# 42-5053
crash on July 4, 1943
in St-Colomban
Focke Wulf
into grand-lieu lake
10 young
american boys
B17 technical
Ralph D. McKee
(his escape)
Pilot escape
thanks to
american families
French witness

Danièle LecorreDanièle LECORRE, Jean Ligonday resistant's daughter - March 2004
"he would bring me a big doll as tall as me"

The crash of the Flying Fortress took place on July 4th and I can remember that Ralph McKee, the navigator, arrived at the house in Basse-Indre 3 or 4 days after during the day.
He was accompanied by Dad Jean LIGONDAY(1) and Félix GUYOT, but I don't recall M. DUPONT, the baker, my father's bodyguard being there.
If I refer back to M. Ralph McKee's story in 1958, he was brought dry garments and above all a beret to hide his fiery blond hair. They crossed the Loire with the ferryboat and made many detours by bike before bringing him to the house located just in front of the ferryboat.
I was 4 and a half, I was told these memories and events later, in particular the arrival of Bill WETZEL, the pilot , the following night (both had escaped from the Germans) and they met up by chance at the house. On the other hand, the next day, the schoolteacher brought me back home telling my parents to look after me, because I had told the whole class that some Breton cousins who couldn't even talk French had arrived at my house by plane!
From then on I can remember afternoons that the two Americans spent with my grandfather, confined to bed with a broken leg. They would play cards, smoke and drink a lot. They used to ask me to fetch the jar of cherries in eau de vie from the dining room, until the day I broke it.
My last memory is the day when Ralph left; a tall and thin man, with reddish blond hair and freckles. I think he was dressed in brown. He took me in his arms and he told me that the next time he saw me, he would bring me a big doll as tall as me.(2)
I know that Ralph still remembers the little girl because he spoke about it in a letter to M. CHATELAIN at the beginning of 1990.
The most beautiful homage he could have paid is in the last paragraph of his story.(3)

(1) Jean Ligonday - Read his biographie
(2) Ralph McKee...61 years later, on July 4, 2004 did it! But the little girl was taller than the doll!!
(3) Read the escape of Ralph McKee


Navigator Ralph McKee and pilot William Wetzel, at Jean Ligonday home (Basse-Indre) in July 1943