davison clinton
AGE32 yo
FAMILYBrother: Lewis
FONCTIONRadio - Gunner
JOB BEFORE ENLISTEMENTWorker specializing in the manufacture of textilePhoto FDLM
SQUADRON571st Bombardment Squadron
GROUP390th Bomb Group Heavy
ARMY8th Air Corps
DATE OF DEATH-davison clinton tombe
CEMETERY TEMPORARYTemporary Cemetery St André de l'Epine
st andre cemetery  st andre cemetery 1

Plan du Normandy American Cemetery


B-17 Fortress - type G-45-BO - s/n 42-97295 FC-F Carré-J

Shot down by flak at  13h06

Take-off  station 153  Framlingham, Suffolk UK


b17 390bg

Tail J
etoile  Crew of B 17
Purple Heart
Air Medal
Photo FDLM
Photo FDLM
8air force 390bg 571bs

Crew members in WWII crash to be honored by French town

This plaque, honoring eight US Airmen who crashed in Ecques, France, during World War II, bears the name of Clinton Davison, Class of 1930, Foxborough High School. (Submitted photo)


By Jack Authelet
As our nation prepares for the celebration of Memorial Day, when from the largest cities to the smallest villages the breadth and depth of America, grateful people will gather in humble tribute to those who gave their lives in their nation's cause, we will renew our sacred promise: We will never forget who they are and how much they sacrificed.

The names of eight American airmen will also be read in the tiny hamlet of Cauchy-d'Ecques, France, to honor the crew of an American B-17 bomber that crashed there on May 27, 1944, claiming the lives of three crew members.

The people of Ecques, who had lived under German occupation throughout much of the war, had a sense that Allied forces were gaining in their effort to defeat their oppressors, given the frequency of flights passing overhead. They knew their freedom was in the hands of those brave airman.

Suddenly, on that May afternoon, one of the planes came crashing down in their midst. Three bodies were removed from the wreckage by German soldiers. Five who survived the crash were taken to prison camps where they remained until liberated.

The people of Ecques, a small village whose population has yet to top 2,000, never forgot those men who crashed that day, men who were with the Allied forces fighting to help regain the freedoms they had lost when the Germans occupied France. A plaque has been prepared, one that shows an illustration of an American B-17 bomber, and lists the names of the eight Americans on board that day, and villagers will soon gather for its dedication.

Local connection

One of the airmen killed in the crash was Clinton Davison, Class of 1930, Foxborough High School. That was his only year in local schools, but his family connection to the town ran deep. His grandmother, Nellie Paine, was teacher/principal at the Pratt School for many years. His mother, Ruby Davison, taught sixth grade at the Centre School starting in 1929 and had moved to Foxborough for Clinton's senior year. The family then relocated to Mansfield, and Clinton entered the service from there.

Davison's fate was unknown for decades. He was listed as Missing in Action when he failed to return from a bombing run that day. Winifred Glennie, an English woman with whom Clinton had hoped to spend the rest of his life once the war was over, came to America to await news of his status with his mother and grandmother. She resided here in Foxborough the remainder of her life, passing away before details of Clinton's death finally became known.

The first break in the mystery as to what happened to Clinton Davison when he did not return from a bombing run in May of 1944 came many years later. Rev. Louis Pitt, then minister at St. Mark's Church here in Foxborough, was visiting in Northern France when, in a small cemetery, he noticed a familiar name, that of Clinton Davison. It was familiar because one of his parishioners, Winifred Glennie, had memorial flowers on the altar for Clinton every year. That led to his body being moved to Normandy and slowly, additional discoveries would follow.

French connections

Clinton Davison is also among the 9,387 Americans buried at the Normand American Cemetery who will be honored there as services are held in the American military cemeteries around the world. The flowers will soon be placed upon his grave, as they are for many special occasions, and there is a link between the decoration of his grave and the dedication of a plaque by the community of Esques.

Vincent and Maryvonne Robillard, volunteers with the Flowers of Memory project in France who have pledged to care for several graves at Normandy. Over the years, they have made many attempts to connect with the families of the servicemen whose graves they decorate. That led them to Lewis Davison in Walpole, brother of Clinton and also a World War II veteran.

Reaching out in another direction, the Robillards contacted a French history professor who had documented the crash site of all the Allied planes which crashed in France during World War II.

That led them to a farm in Esques and one Lambert Hermant, who was just seven years old when he and his father saw the plane come down. He was able to provide an eye-witness account of the crash and eventually lead the Robillard's to the ravine in which the plane came to rest. Many remnants of the plane were salvaged.

It took over 60 years for all of the details of the crash of Lewis Davison's plane and his eventual burial at Normandy to come together but when the plaque is unveiled in Esques, Lambert Hermant will be there, together with Vincent and Maryvonne Robillard.

The love story of Clinton Davison and Winifred Glennie appears in "Foxborough: World War II" by Jack Authelet and also in the November 9, 2000 issue of "The Foxboro Reporter."

PROGRAMMERFrédéric & Renaud