I was recently contacted by Laurent Henrisson from Gaudreville, France. His village are dedicating a memorial plaque for Lt. Richard V. Keywan of the 352nd Fighter Squadron on May 8, 2015. Laurent has been investigating the circumstances of the crash that cost Lt. Keywan his life and sent me below write-up of events June 12, 1944.
I thought it rather touching and significant that the village in which Lt. Keywan lost his life are looking to remember him this year. I have never had any contact with Lt. Keywan’s family and the village are hopeful that they will be able to trace someone to attend the ceremony on their behalf and, as a public event, welcome anyone who would like to attend. Sadly, I cannot make the trip due to a prior commitment.
If anyone out there has contact with the Keywan family then drop me a line or Laurent direct…
A rough translation from the French of the above by me (with apologies):
“4:34 pm, June 12, 1944, off the resort 157 Raydon (Suffolk UK). Colonel Duncan directs three squadrons of 12 aircraft with an escort of eight P-47, 351 FS and 352 FS on a mission bombing and strafing against enemy communications in the region of Evreux – Dreux. In Evreux, squads split up to attack specific targets:
The 352FS, led by Lieutenant Colonel Bailey takes care of a truck convoy near Evreux before heading to rail objectives and Goms station. He soon found himself outclassed by 50 Messerschmitt 109 German. In this action 1st Lt. Richard V. Keywan destroyed and damaged two Me 109 before he was brought down by enemy fire.
Coming from the direction “the boscherons – Gaudreville” Richard bailed out, but too low. Indeed his parachute did not have time to open and he was killed and on the edge of the Vigne Street. His plane ended up in a field 500 yards away without causing damage in the village.
A posthumous award was made to Lt. Keywan Lieutenant of the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf (DFC – OLC)
An eyewitness reported that his body had been buried in our village cemetery. At the end of the war, like many Americans fighters, he was laid to rest in the Américan cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer.
For your sacrifice Richard: RIP (Rest In PEACE).
A big thank you to everyone who helped me in these particular research Mr Rémy Square, Ms. Seuret, Mr Christian Lefébvre and the municipality of Gaudreville. I remain available and contactable for any additional information about this aircraft.”