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Webmatters : Francis Mond and Edgar Martyn Memorial at Bouzencourt
Rough map of area

Francis Mond and Edgar Martyn

Location

This memorial is located just off the D 71 road between Fouilloy and Cerisy in the valley of the Somme. It is not far from the Australian Memorial at Le Hamel. Bouzencourt is a camping ground and may not appear on maps or your GPS.

Le Hamel can be reached from the main Amiens — Peronne Road running through Villers Bretonneux. The Australian Monument (not to be confused with their Memorial to the Missing) is signposted from the roundabout on the eastern outskirts of that town.

From the village of Le Hamel take the D 71 towards Cerisy. As you exit the village there is a sharp right hand bend with a lane leading away directly in front of you. Take this lane and you will find the memorial on your left hand side just before reaching the camping ground.

The road is narrow and is a dead end so turn around at the bottom of the lane.

 

Francis Mond and Edgar Martyn Memorial at Bouzencourt

Background

On the 15th May 1918 Captain Francis Mond and his observer Lieutenant Edgar Martyn were attacking German ammunition dumps in the area of Bapaume in their 57th Squadron RAF, DH4 bomber. On their way back to their base they were attacked by Johann Janzen (Jasta 6) near Le Hamel and shot down.

Leutnant Johann Janzen had only taken over command of the Jasta on 3rd May 1918. On 9th June his machine guns’ synchronisation system broke down and he shot his own propeller to pieces and was forced to land.

Although captured he managed to escape in December 1918 (Although the Armistice had been signed on the 11th November, the war was not officially over).

Observing from the ground Lieutenant Albert Hill of the 31st Bn Australian Infantry, went out into no man’s land under heavy fire, recovered the bodies of the two airmen and, having identified them, had them transported back to his Battalion HQ on the Somme river.

Albert Hill received the Military Cross for his bravery in going to the aid of the two aviators. He was badly wounded in September 1918 and evacuated to Britain before being repatriated to Australia.

Although the removal of the two bodies was documented what happened to them next is a mystery. For five years they were missing.

Lieutenant Hill had forwarded the two soldiers personal belongings to Angela Mond (Francis’s mother) and she spent the intervening years talking to people and visiting the cemeteries trying to find her son’s grave. She was meticulous in her research and by March 1923 had convinced the IWGC that two of the graves in Doullens had been mis-identified.

In the presence of Mr Aspinall and Mrs Mond the body of Captain John Aspinall RAF was exhumed and found to be that of Francis Mond. Having proved that half of her theory was correct a second exhumation was carried out on the adjacent grave and this turned out to be Edgar Martyn.

Captain Aspinall is now remembered on the Arras Flying Services’ Memorial.

 

The Memorial


Francis Mond and Edgar Martyn Memorial at Bouzencourt

The inscription is in French

In memory of her son and his observer Angela Mond bought the area where their aircraft had crashed and a monument in the form of a broken column was erected.

The inscription reads (in French):

Ce monument est érigé à la mémoire du
CAPITAINE FRANCIS L. MOND. RFC et RAF et du
LIEUTENANT EDGAR M MARTYN RAF
du corps d’aviation anglais, 57ème escadrille,
tombés glorieusement à cet endroit
en combattant contre les avions allemands
le 15 mai 1918.
Per ardua ad astra.