47d – Beachy Head Part I

As we walked around Beachy Head we arrived at the Watch Tower, or at least what was left of it.  Originally a signalling station built in 1896, the roof and most of the walls have long gone.  It is now a seating area and brick-built wind break.  It can be rather blustery on Beachy Head.

The Watch TowerThe Watch Tower is adorned with a number of plaques.  By far the most interesting one has been mounted on the brickwork for less than a year.  It commemorates the crossing of the English Channel, on 16 September 1941, by five Frenchman who were seeking to escape the Nazis and continue fighting as Free French.  The remarkable thing was that they undertook this journey, totalling 60-miles, in canoes.  It took them 32 hours.  The men were aged between 17 and 19.  When they arrived in England they were treated like heroes and even met Winston Churchill in the garden of 10 Downing Street.

The Watch Tower PlaqueReynold Lefebvre was killed in action in March 1945, fighting in France.  I do not know what happened to Christian Richard, nor Pierre Lavoix.  Guy Richard was still alive and living in the South of France last year.  Jean-Paul Lavoix died on 16 February 2013, exactly two weeks to the day before we stood at this plaque commemorating his epic journey.

Points on this part of the walk (copy and paste the co-ordinates into Google Earth):

  • Beachy Head Watch Tower:  N 50° 44.298 E 000° 14.979

Walk #47 Statistics (of which this post forms the fourth part):

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6 Responses to 47d – Beachy Head Part I

  1. May I use the photographs you have taken of the plaque for my new book on Emanuel School at War will be published in October 2014. You will find my contact info on my blog. Thank you.

  2. Pingback: THe Coastal Path Goes Hardback! | The Coastal Path

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