Sergeants Orton and Gibson were members of a Catalina that – as local witnesses remembered a couple of years ago – almost crashed in the small village. In the last minute the aircraft gained some altitude, was able to climb a cliff, but suddenly exploded over the water. Only these two men were recovered from the entire crew (if you want to know more about this event click here).
It was on this day that in 1918 the Portuguese positions in Flanders were overrun by overwhelming German forces loosing thousands of men as prisoners, killed or missing. Since that date Portugal pays homage to all his combatants one this day.
Besides the two RAF men the ceremony also paid homage to five local soldiers that lost their lives in two wars that involved Portugal during the 20th century.
Carlos Sequeira e José Joaquim Abelum died on World War I, in the 9th and in the 12th April 1918. Both were members of the 1st Infantry Regiment, that curiously was at the cemetery as Guard of Honor.
Henrique José de Freitas (1962), Joaquim Pereira Dias Leite e Joaquim António Conceição (both in 1966) died during the portuguese colonial war that killed thousands of men during the sixties and the beginning of the 70’s. Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, Guinea and parts of India were part of the Portuguese empire until 1974.
About one hundred persons were at the cemetery paying homage to these combatants.