They gave their today for our tomorrow
Jean Maridor; Chasseur de V1


Royal Air Force

Crossbow against Polorbärs

"The main storage depots for the flying bombs in France now lay in a few large natural caverns around Paris, long exploited by the French mushroom-growers. One of these caverns, at Saint Leu D'Esserent, in the Oise valley, was rated by the Germans to store two thousand bombs, and it had supplied 70% of all the bombs fired in June. In Early July it was largely destroyed by Bomber Command."

Winston Churchill

Steve Darlow, in his book Sledgehammers for Tintacks has written the accounts of the raids on the Saint Leu caves. Prior to getting a copy of this book, I contacted many associations in search of information regarding the bombing raids. The Imperial War Museum helped me with my research and based on B. Corleys book 'Bomber command', I have put together a collection of crew photos, accounts and together with my friend Marcel Mavre went in search for many of the crash sites of the aircraft which failed to return. Scouring the French country side in search of the crash sites, I have met many families who helped crews escape capture, however, many of my visits are to towns where only the local cemeteries hold the answers to some of the final moments for some of the brave crews whos fight for freedom came to an end whilst on missions to Saint Leu & Saint Maximin (Trossy).

A huge thank you goes out to all those who have helped me with my research regarding the crews. Beit crew members themselves or family. THANK YOU!

27 June 1944

Still debating if this was really a 'NOBALL' Target.


04 July 1944

Mission: Saint Leu d'Esserent

04/05 July 1944

Mission: Saint Leu d'Esserent

The BBC had sent a rebus message to the local population of Saint Leu d'Esserent informing them that the RAF would bomb the installations. Mr & Mrs Bonnaventure worked as railway line crossing guards opposite the entrance to the base. It would be their name which translated in to English which was used. Bonne aventure meaning good trip was the code used in the following message:

"Ce soir nous irons a la bonne aventure" ( Tonight we go on a good trip)"

That night, Bomber command sent a force of 231 Lancaster's and 15 Mosquito's to attack the V1 supply depot at Saint Leu D'Esserent. On this raid 13 aircraft would fail to return.

07/08 July 1944

Mission: Saint Leu d'Esserent

Any information regarding the crews who took part would be welcome. Both on the British side or German



03 August 1944

Mission: Saint Maximin / Trossy

372 Lancasters & 5 Mosquitos

02 August 1944

Mission: Saint Maximin / Trossy

17H30 the RAF sent 94 Lancasters & 2 Mosquitos

04 August 1944

Mission: Saint Maximin / Trossy

61 Lancasters

05 August 1944

Mission: Saint Leu D'Esserent

208 Lancasters