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Unexpectedly the bombers meet a very strong wind from the southwest, which creates quite a headache for navigators and pilots. This capricious weather pushes some of the crews far north of the original planned flight path.


At 0:06 am (Swiss time "standard" is GMT + 1), the 150th Anti-Aircraft Detachment perched on the slopes of Mont Tendre observes  through the cloud breaks, the storm that is moving away, the black silhouette of bombers flying over their positions and estimates their flying altitude between 4,000 to 5,000 meters. Observation posts report more than one hundred flights that night. The 75 mm guns of French manufacture (Schneider) are perched on the heights to substantially improve their abilities. From the overview reported, the three AA batteries open heavy fire on allied aircraft, over 400 shells are  fired in 36 minutes, between 00:09 am and 00:45 am.  

That night, several bombs were dropped on the Helvetic territory including several large-caliber projectiles (certainly Cookies) and incendiary bombs. As we shall see later, these drops are the result of crews who met technical problems or had difficulties in reaching the minimum altitude allowing them to cross the Alps.

In the midst of the battle raging, the battery perched on the heights of the Jura light up its four searchlights on the stream of bombers and reports a black streak in the sky "the indisputable proof that the glycol tank had been hit" as wrote the Commander of the unit. A few minutes later, an explosion was reported in the direction of the village of St-Prex to the Upper Lake (Leman). There is also a flare of color released in the Geneva region: A Pathfinder is marking a turning point for the bomber stream.


A few minutes before midnight, the people of Le Bouveret are awakened by the sound of a plane flying much lower than others. The rain is continuing to fall and lightning streaks the black night. They are all sure it will crash into the village. The bomber is reported circling for some time before the plane launches a flare and hits the mountain at 00:55 am. A terrible explosion occurred which shattered all the windows from Bouveret to Montreux and is heard up to Geneva. The ignited fuel flows down the mountain slopes.

Immediately after the explosion, a rescue team is organized to go look for possible survivors. It is a detachment of the Company Fusilier Landwehr II/3 (Cp Fus LW II / 3), stationed there, who march under the command of II/3 CO, Captain Massard. Spontaneously, firefighters led by René Curdy, the Home Guard and local residents of Bouveret volunteer join the troupe.

Equipped with storm-lanterns, it took them almost 1:30 hour to get to the scene of the accident to discover a scene of desolation: the whole forest is destroyed over one square kilometer, there is hardly anything of the aircraft with much of the wreckage which  was covered by an avalanche triggered by the explosion.

The only recognizable parts, covered with oil and phosphorus continues to burn. As he went up there later in the day, the intelligence officer of the 10th Mountain Infantry Brigade describes the scene thus: "... We are told that five bodies were found and there should be two more that we cannot find. Everything is sprayed ...".


A few minutes later, at 01:02 am, a second Lancaster of 467 Sqn (the 207 squadron’s sister unit) crashed over Thyon, instantly killing the Flying Officer Graham Mitchell and his Australian crew.

At 01:08 a.m., the flight over Switzerland is over.


The raid of 13th July 1943 which aimed at the centre of the city of Turin is the most violent the city has ever suffered. This bombardment lead to the death of 792 civilians and 914 injured. It appeared at the debriefing that the bulk of bombs fell in the northeast of the city. Several civil and industrial buildings suffered severe damage. More than 45 Italian companies and seven churches were affected. The station also suffered major damage and train movements were significantly reduced. On 15 July the British reconnaissance aircraft reported fires still burning.

Later in the darkness, the bodies of Badge and his teammates are lowered down the mountain slope in military tents. In the morning, the rain stops as day breaks, the Grammont bears the scars of war, the forest is still smoking. There is nothing more to do

Once all the planes returned to their base, the RAF will accounts for their aircraft and find that 13 bombers are missing. At the base of Langar, Badge’s crew is reported as “missing in action”.


Funeral

The crew was buried on July 15th at the British military cemetery of St. Martin in Vevey with full military honors. Interned comrades carried the coffins into the grounds while a Swiss military band played Beethoven’s funeral march. At the end of the ceremony, after the band had sounded the retreat and reveille, a Swiss military squad fired regulation bursts.


All the Swiss newspapers of the time raised a huge crowd who had moved to pay their last respects. Apart from the official military delegations, there were many Swiss military in service as well as a crowd of civilians, to the extent that the cemetery did not accommodate them all. Although completely surrounded by the Axis forces, the Swiss people wanted to pay tribute to these two crews, made up of young men who had given their lives for freedom.


Diplomacy

Given the seriousness of these incident, violation of airspace, dropping of many bombs, damage to buildings etc etc, the local Department of Foreign Affairs intervened and sent a strong protest to the official British counterparts. A cable was sent immediately to our ambassador to London.

After a month, an answer came. Our Swiss ambassador Turnheer based in London confirmed that he had conveyed the message in the chosen language. The answer from his British counterpart stated there were no plans to fly over the Swiss territory, but the weather diverted the airplanes. Finally, they were willing to assume the costs for damages caused by what has been proven as a result of British bombs.

 
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