These extra galleries feature a selection of moments captured during the annual Valençay events on May 5th and 6th. Some of the photos have also been seen elsewhere, but as a collection they're here as a reminder of the atmosphere and significance of this annual memorial ceremony ...
MEMORIAL AT ROMORANTIN-LANTHENAY
Libre Résistance board member Nick Fox OBE, accompanied by his brother Nigel (by now a regular Valençay attendee) and two RAF members of the Joint Forces Intelligence Group took the time on Saturday 5th May to visit nearby Romorantin-Lanthenay.
Its war memorial honours many French resisters and also five members of SOE - Section Officer Muriel Byck (recruited from the WAAF), Ensign Yvonne Rudellat, Captain John Macalister, Captain Stanisław Makowski, and Captain Frank Pickersgill.
It was Secret WW2 trustee Paul McCue who instigated the additional tribute of 104 poppy crosses to accompany the traditional wreaths at the French Section memorial; and these can be seen in several of the photos taken before and during the ceremony.
Featured here are Secret WW2 volunteers Carol Brown and Meryl Jones; the two RAF members of the Joint Forces Inteligence Group (JFIG); Lionel Southgate, President of Libre Résistance; Debbey Clitheroe who participated as a 'student' SOE agent in the recent BBC Two series SECRET AGENT SELECTION: WW2 ... and also Paul McCue, of course!
TEMPSFORD VETERANS AND RELATIVES ASSOCIATION (TVARA)
Sue & Dave Woodard attended the Valençay memorial ceremony especially to lay a TVARA wreath. Sue's late uncle had lost his life while a crew member of a 138 (Special Duties) Sqn Halifax which was shot down on the night of July 18/19th 1944 during a resistance supply operation for SOE.
A wreath was laid on behalf of the Station Commander and personnel of RAF Odiham by Mel Coates, who attended the ceremony with her sister Jennifer Pearce. RAF Odiham is the home base for three Chinook helicopter squadrons and the headquarters of Britain's Joint Special Forces Aviation Wing.
The memorial ceremony and Mayor's reception were followed by lunch in the Orangerie restaurant at the Chateau du Valençay. These photos feature Debbey (again!) with SOE veteran Noreen Riols, Sue Roberts, Duncan Stuart and his son, our intrepid charity helpers Carol, Meryl and David - plus Lionel Southgate and Patrick Gautier-Lynham of Libre Résistance.
Bill Beauclerk of Libre Résistance was standing up to speak at the end of the lunch, in order to wish Noreen "bon anniversaire" for her imminent birthday the following week.