French village will honour flying hero

Mary Mott (front centre) with the letters at Blagdon Drive, Blyth, with (back three-left to right) Mary Hogg, David Mott and George Hogg.'REF 1106130448
Mary Mott (front centre) with the letters at Blagdon Drive, Blyth, with (back three-left to right) Mary Hogg, David Mott and George Hogg.'REF 1106130448

A former RAF man who was shot down during the Second World War has been honoured by having a street in France named after him.

The family of RAF Bomber Command flight engineer George Mott will be making the trip from Blyth to the village of Evergnicourt, near Rheims in northern France, to commemorate the opening ceremony of a street dedicated in his honour.

George’s plane was shot down over France when he was returning from a mission to bomb the Skoda factory in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, in April 1943.

Five of the crew managed to parachute to safety but the pilot, Flight Officer Glen McNichol, from Canada, went down with the plane and was killed.

George, of the Pathfinder #207 and #83 Squadron in Lancaster, landed just outside of Evergnicourt, and after burying his parachute he went to search for help.

He was taken in and looked after by the family of Madame Malot, but as his injuries were so serious and required hospital treatment, the family had to hand him over to the Germans.

After being treated at the American Memorial Hospital in Rheims, George was taken to Laon and then to the Dulag Luft prison camp in Germany where he was interrogated before being sent to Stalag Luft III.

George was a prisoner of war for two years and six days.

Weighing just six stone, George was released in 1945 and demobbed at Tranwell, near Morpeth, in 1947.

Madame Malot later wrote to the Air Ministry enquiring whether George had survived the war and recalling the night he arrived at her door.

George, who was born in London but lived in Newcastle, kept in touch with the family and visited France many years later but felt too emotional to knock on any of the houses.

George sadly died in 1999, aged 81.

Eleven years later, his family were contacted by local Frenchman Francois Caille, who was interested in the history of Evergnicourt, and they were invited to visit.

George’s wife Mary, his son David and his daughter, also named Mary, made the trip and visited the place where George landed, the house where he was taken care of, as well as the cemetery at Pont a Vert and the American Memorial Hospital.

It was during this visit that the Mayor of Evergnicourt, Fabrice Bersano, told them that a street on a new housing estate would be named Rue du Sergent Mott in George’s memory.

Now George’s daughter and her husband George Hogg are looking forward to attending the official opening ceremony on Sunday, July 14.

Mary, 63, of South Beach, Blyth, said: “We are so proud of George and at last the bravery of the men who served in Bomber Command has been recognised.

“My dad was honest, loyal, brave and well respected by everyone.

“It’s all very emotional. My dad would be honoured.”