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French WWII Hero Who Helped Save York From German Bombers Honoured

Blue Plaque commemorating Baedeker Raid hero Yves Mahe 020514

2:07pm 2nd May 2014
(Updated 2:08pm 2nd May 2014)

Today Bernard Emié, the French Ambassador, will be unveil a plaque to honour a French pilot who spared York catastrophic bomb damage in 1942.

French fighter pilot Yves Mahé intervened during the York Blitz on 29April 1942, to save the city from catastrophic damage. The unveiling ceremony will take place at 3pm at St. Martin Le Grand Church, Coney Street, York which, while severely damaged in the raid, now stands as a focus of peace in the city centre.

Following the ceremony, the Ambassadorial party will visit the Allied Air Forces Memorial at the Yorkshire Air Museum) to mark the 70th Anniversary of the formation of Elvington’s famous French Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command.

This tribute by the city to Yves Mahé was inspired by a petition presented to the Lord Mayor of York by pupils of City of York Council’s St. Wilfred’s RC Primary School, York, in April last year. The pupils’ interest was triggered by the Yorkshire Air Museum bringing its Hawker Hurricane aircraft into the city centre for the first time to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Baedeker Raid. The children felt Mahé should be recognised and so sparked the idea for a Civic Plaque in his honour. St. Wilfred’s pupils will attend the plaque’s unveiling.

Councillor Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism who will attend the ceremony together with Chief Executive of City of York Kersten England, said: “Welcoming His Excellency to York to honour his countryman unites our countries further in this, the year of the Tour de France coming to York. We’re delighted that this plaque will forge closer connections between the Air Museum and the city centre and the commemorations and celebrations of this very special year.”

Museum Director Ian Reed, FRAeS, D’Officier de L’Ordre National du Merite, commented: “We are delighted to be receiving the French Ambassador at Elvington, home to the two famous French Squadrons of Bomber Command, after he officially unveils the City’s tribute to another French airman, Yves Mahé, the fighter pilot who saved York during the Baedeker Raid of 1942. This will ensure that York’s enduring connection to France will never be forgotten and we were delighted to support the pupils of St. Wilfred’s school in their quest for this tribute.”

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