This blog is part of a site named where you can find the stories of more than one hundred planes that during WWII landed or crashed in Portugal. Here I will announce the updates and also publish stories and information related with WWII in Portugal. All the stories will be in English and there another twin blog in Portuguese... forgive if sometimes the English is not always correct...

Saturday, April 9, 2011

RAF men remembered in Sagres, Portugal

Two RAF sergeants were remembered on the 9th April “Combatant day” in Sagres, Portugal, where they are buried after their Catalina exploded in the air.

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.

The British Consul in Portimão, Clive Jewell, and Major Oliveira pay homage to the Portuguese soldiers that fall in the two wars.

Local veterans put flowers on the graves of the two RAF airmen. Sargeant Correia and the local presidente of the veteran association, Bernardino Martins (on the back), prepare do pay homage to those men.
Major Oliveira (1st Infantry Regiment) pays homage to the RAF Sargeants.

The British Consul in Portimão pays tribute to the two RAF men. Standing beside him is the local Mayor (Sagres belongs to Vila do Bispo), Adelino Soares.

Guard of honour

The graves from RAF sergeants Orton and Gibson.

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