French honoured to remember brave English airmen

French veterans form a guard of honour as children lay crosses to honour the dead

French veterans form a guard of honour as children lay crosses to honour the dead

First published in News
Last updated

WREATHS and crosses were laid in memory of a Rainhill teenager and his pilot who were killed in France as the First World War drew to a close.

Aircraft observer and gunner Second Lieutenant Thomas Alfred Jones from Rainhill died along with his pilot Lieutenant R I Hickes after being shot down over Latour-en-Woevre in occupied France. They were just 19 years-old.

The tragic duo were buried in the tiny French village graveyard following the their deaths on August 30, 1918.

Research by Rainhill Civic Society resulted in contact with French villagers who were honoured to remember their British allies. Simultaneous services were held in Rainhill, Market Weighton and at Latour-en-Woevre churchyard and two minutes silence was observed at the three venues. French schoolchildren placed on the graves crosses that had been sent over from Rainhill.

“The following week Peter Hastings of the Royal British Legion branch at Market Weighton, travelled to France and met up with Councillor Edith Vouge to lay two wreaths from the people of Rainhill and Market Weighton on the graves,” said Rainhill Civic Society spokesman Ann-Veronica Howitt.

“An amazingly moving remembrance of two brave 19 year-olds who died almost 100 years ago.

“We hope the deep friendships forged may be continued with a visit to France next year by people from Rainhill and Market Weighton.”

*The details about Lt Jones were unearthed as Rainhill Civic Society members researched the impact of the Great War on Rainhill in preparation for a First World War exhibition being held on September 26 and 27 in St Ann's Church.

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