The Gowertonian Society

Belgium 2014

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Visit to Belgium


Tribute to Gowertonian Penry Guy
As, Belgium, June 2014

The Community of As (Asch) in Belgium welcomed representatives of the Gowertonian Society to a military ceremony at the graveside of Pilot Penry Guy and to the unveiling of a memorial at the place where parts of his aircraft were found in the forest near the station.

The Military Ceremony

After a reception at theTown Hall, tributes were paid to Gowertonian Penry Guy at his graveside at the cemetery in As, Belgium, close to where his Lancaster crashed in June 1944

Pilot Officer Penry Guy maintained control of the aircraft, saving the six members of the crew but lost his life, 22 years old.

The Missing Man Formation salute, the flyover of aircraft, was performed by the Belgian Air Force in honour of the fallen pilot.

Kathleen De Cleene, Minister of Culture, As.
Wing Commander Robert Smeaton, R.A.F
Val Richards, President of Gowertonian Society


Mrs Gillian Small, represented the family of
Pilot Officer Penry Guy.
(Gill's mother, Eileen, was Penry Guy's cousin)



Mrs Wendy Guy, and her children, Penry and Janine
were unable to attend.

Mrs Gill Small and her husband Tony,
with GS Chairman, Dr Alun Jones
Grave of Penry Guy
at the cemetry in Asch
Gill Small, Janine and Wendy Guy
at an unveiling ceremony at Penclawdd
Gowerton School music teacher, Ms Kath Lawlor,
Community of As Brass Band
and Gowerton School Brass Ensemble
Kath Lawlor with teachers Olivia Martin and David Morgan,
and Gowerton School Brass Ensemble instrumentalists
Ryan Colebrook, Josh Smith, Aaron Davies, Daniel Lewis
Minister of Culture, Kathleen De Cleene
Representatives of Gowerton School and Gowertonian Society
The Last Post was played by Josh Smith

Josh Smith, Gowerton School


Photographs from the Belgian News Programme

WW2 Pilot Officer Penry Guy
and his grave at Asch

Val Richards, GS President,
speaking at the Military Ceremony
Gill Small, being interviewed
for Belgian News programme
Dr Alun Jones
Chairman of the Gowertonian Society
Tony Small and the Asch Brass Band
Belgian Air Force Officers
Gowerton School Brass Ensemble

Photographs from Gowerton School for the Community of As

A collage of photographs by Kathleen Lawlor


Unveiling of the Memorial
in the forest in As

Memorial, designed by local artist Julia Berger
Poem by village poet, Stan Mardaga, translated by Isabella Thoelen

The memorial is in the shape of the upright wing of an aircraft decorated with
pieces of the Lancaster found at the site
by Jean-Pierre Wuyts

Julia Berger
Welcome by Kathleen De Cleene
Train to the Unveiling Ceremony
Footpath to the Unveiling Ceremony
Minister of Culture, Kathleen De Cleene
Village Poet, Stan Mardaga
Isabella Thoelen, translator
Mayor of As, Miel Craeghs
Stuart Davies, Gill and Tony Small
Memorial to be unveiled
Gowertonian Society Representatives
GS Chairman, Dr Alun Jones
Val Richards with a gift for Community of As
Designer of the Memorial, Julia Berger
Godparents, Suzanne and Jean-Pierre
Kathleen De Cleene with her husband, Rudi
Godparents with Theo and Julia Berger
Gill Small unveiling the Memorial
Naval Officer, Rudi Smets
The Memorial Plaque
Viewers of the Plaque
Gill with Presentation Plaque
Player of The Last Post
Closing speech by Kathleen De Cleene
The Memorial, Designers and Godparents

The Celebration Dinner

Following a reception at the Station Bar for all who attended the unveiling ceremony in the forest, a celebration dinner was held at Hotel Mardaga near the station, close to the place where parts of the Lancaster had been found by Jean-Pierre Wuyts.

The representatives of the Gowertonian Society were warmly welcomed by The Mayor of As, Miel Craeghs, the Minister of Culture Kathleen De Cleene and their Deputies. Artists and designer of the memorial, Julia and her husband Theo were present, Jean-Pierre Wuyts with his wife Connie and daughter Eva, godmother of the monument Suzanne Lemmerlijn, representatives of the Belgian Air Force and administration staff of the As Town Hall.

The Gowertonian Society Chairman, Dr Alun Jones, presented a Gowertonian Society Centenary Plate to the Mayor of As and a Gowertonian Society tie to Jean-Pierre Wuyts. President, Val Richards presented Kathleen De Cleene with a Welsh Dragon soft toy.

Suzanne Lemmerlijn, godmother of the monument, had made a beautiful posy of dried daisies for Gill, presented by Kathleen.

There was a ceremonial swapping of ties with our Belgian hosts.

Welcome speech by Kathleen De Cleene
Presentation of GS Centenary Plate
Honorary Gowertonian J-P Wuyts
A gift for Kathleen
Rudi's tribute to Kathleen
Alfie and Miel swap ties
A gift for Gill
Posy of dried daisies
New Gowertonians!

The Last Flight of Lancaster 111 LM580 DX-L

Pieces of a Lancaster Bomber were found, using a metal detector, in the forest near the station in As (formerly Asch), Belgium by Jean-Pierre Wuyts, a resident of the town. J-P went to the local cemetery where he found the grave of pilot, Penry Guy.

By typing the words 'Lancaster' and 'Penry Guy' into the search engine of his computer, the Gowertonian Society website address appeared on his screen. Jean-Pierre, keen to find out more, then contacted the GS website.

On the Gowertonian Society website is published the Gowerton School Book of Remembrance which includes the name of Penry Guy from Penclawdd. It reads:

Penry Guy. 1933-37.
Pilot Officer, Bomber Command, R.A.F. The Lancaster bomber, of which he was pilot, was hit while over Belgium, June 21/22, 1944. He held it in control for his six comrades to escape, and so lost his own life. Aged 22 years. He lies in the Parish Church Cemetery, Asch, Belgium.

An appeal was made to visitors to our website and to members of our website forum for more details of the tragic last flight of the Lancaster Bomber.

Gowertonian, Alan Boulton, who has for many years lived in Canada, was able to help J-P with his research. Alan has a friend called Ray Sherk, a spitfire pilot in World War 2 who was captured by the Germans but managed to escape. Ray, 93 years old, still flies his own plane - and he also surfs the internet! He e-mailed many files of information he found on the Internet to Jean-Pierre via the Gowertonian Society website, including a Death Certificate and details of the Aircrew of Lancaster 111 LM 580 DX-L and Pilot Officer Penry Guy.


Armed with this information, Jean-Pierre convinced the As Town Council to honour Pilot Officer Penry Guy with a military ceremony at the cemetery in As and also the unveiling of a monument in the forest near the site where the pieces of the Lancaster were found.

A magnificent tribute was planned for Welshman and Gowertonian, Pilot Officer Penry Guy and details of the programme were sent to the GS website by the Minister of Culture, Kathleen De Cleene.

Program Thursday, 19th June 2014:
12.30 pm: reception at the Town Hall, Dorpsstraat 1 bus 1, 3665 As
13.30 pm: military honouring at the pilot's grave at the municipal cemetery, Kerkhofstraat 1, 3665 As

13.50 pm: Fly-pass by The Belgian Air Force in 'Missing Man Formation' and blowing of 'The Last Post'

16.15 pm: reception for invited guests at the Town Hall


Program Friday, 20th June 2014:
17.00 pm: gathering at the welcome carriage on the train station, Stationstraat, 3665 As

17.30 pm: revelation of an artwork / Memorial WW II

18.00 pm: festive reception at Grand Café Station As followed by a dinner for VIP's at Hotel Restaurant Mardaga, Stationsstraat, 3665 As


The Gowertonian Society was represented at the ceremonies by:
President, Val Richards, accompanied by her husband, Gowertonian Bernard Richards
Chairman, Dr Alun Jones, accompanied by Stewart Davies

Penry Guy's family was represented by Gill Small, accompanied by her husband, Gowertonian Tony Small

Many thanks to Kath Lawlor, music teacher at Gowerton School, for supporting the Gowertonian Society by bringing music students to play at the Military Ceremony, especially at one of the busiest times in the school calendar.

Unfortunately, the one remaining survivor, Douglas Jennings, was not well enough to attend but sent his best wishes.


Val Richards writes:
This has been a very rewarding experience for me as webmaster of the Gowertonian website. After a whole year of corresponding with Jean-Pierre Wuyts, it was indeed a privilege and honour to be invited to such a memorable event.

Alan Boulton writes:
What a marvellous tribute for a young man who gave his life for others. Please pass on my highest regards and thanks to M. J-P Wuyts for initiating this event. It is amazing, that 70 years after his death the people of Asch, Belgium care enough to erect a commemorative plaque to honour Penry's heroism.

J-P Wuyts writes:
It’s a dream come true not only concerning the monument but meeting you all. We were all astonished how proud “WELSH” people are ! The response and gratitude felt so warm, unbelievable. “Your all friends for life”! I especially want to thank “U” Val for all the work and effort you’ve done. It’s an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life . Thank “U” very much Val !


Many thanks to the Community of As. We look forward to your visit to Gowerton School and Penclawdd in November 2014 and to establishing cultural links with your community.




Visit to Wales

In November 2014, Mrs Kathleen De Cleene, Minister of Culture for the town of As (formerly known as Asch) Belgium, with her husband Rudi Smets, their daughters Amber and Helena, Mr Jean-Pierre Wuyts and his wife Connie were guests of Gowerton Comprehensive School at the Annual Remembrance Service, followed by the unveiling of a plaque in memory of Gowertonian, Pilot Penry Guy.

Remembrance Service and Unveiling of the Plaque

Mr Peter Harrison, headteacher, assisted by Mr Tom MacCarthy, deputy head teacher, welcomed the guests to the school's Annual Remembrance Service.

Miss Elaine Howell, vice-chair of the Gowertonian Society, read the story of 'The Unknown Soldier'.

Chairman Dr Alun Jones and committee member Mrs Marjorie Stubbings laid the wreaths with head prefects, Annabelle Boardman and Marcus Besley.

Year 8 pupils attended the service.

Annabell Boardman, Dr Alun Jones,
Miss Elaine Howell, Mr Peter Harrison, Mr Tom MacCarthy,
Mrs Marjorie Stubbings, Marcus Besley.

Guests at the service included:
Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, Mrs Edwina Hart AM,
Lord Mayor of Swansea, Mrs Ceinwen Thomas,
Chair of Governors of Gowerton School, Mrs Debbie Lloyd,
Minister for Culture, As, Belgium, Mrs Kathleene De Cleene,
Mr J-P Wuyts, As, Belgium,
Representatives of the RAF Association and the Gowertonian Society.

Kathleen De ne, speaking at the school's Annual Remembrance Service
Kathleen De Cleene, being interviewed by a
Radio Wales reporter
VIth form pupils greeting the Belgian guests
Amber, Helena and Kathleen De Cleene
Lord Mayor of Swansea, Mrs Ceinwen Thomas arriving at the service
The Last Post, played by Josh Smith
and Daniel Lewis
Mrs Debbie Lloyd, Mr Peter Harrison, Mr J-P Wuyts
Mrs Kathleen De Cleene and Miss Kath Lawlor
Mr J-P Wuyts had recently discovered pieces of Pilot Penry Guy's Lancaster Bomber in As, Belgium. Using parts of the aircraft, Mr Trevor Cheeseman, a former teacher at Gowerton School, designed and made a plaque which was unveiled by chair of the school governors, Mrs Debbie Lloyd and Mr Jean-Pierre Wuyts at the ceremony following the Annual Remembrance Service.

The laying of the RAF wreath by
representatives of the RAF Association
The RAF wreath was laid by
Mr David Jenkins and Mr Brian Davies
Jean-Pierre Wuyts, Kathleen De Cleene
with Mrs Edwina Hart AM
Mrs Debbie Lloyd and J-P Wuyts
with Mr David Jenkins and Mr Brian Davies,
The plaque unveiled at the ceremony was designed and made by Mr Trevor Cheeseman, a former teacher at Gowerton Comprehensive School.

After the ceremony, Jean-Pierre Wuyts presented the school with a plaque, also made from parts of Penry Guy's Lancaster Bomber
Memorial Plaque, by Mr Trevor Cheeseman
Plaque presented by Mr J-P Wuyts



Remembrance Service 2014
at Penclawdd

at 11am on Sunday, 8th November
at the Memorial Gardens.




Mrs Leonard Howells (Audrey)
with J-P Wuyts and Kathleen De Cleene

The names include Gowertonians, Penry Guy,
Gwilym Davies and Garfield Davies

J-P Wuyts, Kathleen De Cleene, Councillor T Snell,
Val Richards, Lynne Guy, Dr Alun Jones
Kathleen De Cleene, Minister for Culture, As
with Chair of Community Council, Mr T Snell
Amber, Connie Wuyts, Dr Alun Jones,
J-P Wuyts, Helena and Kathleen De Cleene

Tour of Gower

During their visit, our Belgian guests were given a guided tour of Penclawdd, to see the home and grave of Penry Guy,
local industry, churches, beaches and the countryside.

Home of Penry Guy
Family grave of Penry Guy
Hafod y Gan, Penclawdd
The Cockle Factory, Penclawdd
Guided tour of the factory
Llanrhidian Church, Gower
In the Gowerton School minibus
At the Worm's Head Hotel
Rhossili Bay, Gower
Rhossili Coastal Path
Rudi, Kathleen, Connie, J-P at Rhossili
Connie and J-P at Worm's Head, Gower
Rhossili Beach
J-P and Connie
Three Cliffs, Gower
At Joe's Ice Cream Parlour, Mumbles
Swansea Bay from Verdi's
At Chai, Mumbles

Dinner at the Gower Golf Club


The Gowertonian Society welcomed our Belgian visitors Kathleen De Cleene, her husband Rudi and daughters Amber and Helena, Jean-Pierre Wuyts with his wife Connie to a dinner at the Gower Golf Club on 7th November, Jean-Pierre's birthday.


Guests at the dinner incuded:
Mrs Debbie Lloyd, Chair of the Governors of Gowerton School and her husband, Peter

Mrs Wendy Guy, whose husband was a nephew of Penry Guy

Gowerton School Teachers, Ms Kath Lawlor, Ms Olivia Martin and Mr Dave Morgan

Head prefects, Annabel Boardman and Marcus Besley

Connie, J-P and Marjorie
During the evening, gifts were exchanged and Val Richards read a rhyme which told the story of the Visit to Asch in June 2014 to pay tribute to Gowertonian, Pilot Penry Guy.

Many thanks to Mrs Marjorie Stubbings for organising the dinner, to all Gowertonian Society committee members for the wonderful welcome given to our guests, to Mrs Debbie Lloyd for the gifts for our visitors, to Miss Kath Lawlor and Mrs Olivia Martin for their support, and to Mr Dave Morgan for taking the photographs and driving the minibus.

As a result of the visit, it is hoped that cultural links will be formed between our two communities, starting with a visit by students from As, Belgium to the Gowerton School Brangwyn Hall concert in March 2015.

Some of the comments from e-mail messages received from our visitors:

"The way that everybody welcomed us all and the graditude we received was overwhelming"

"It’s an experience that I won’t forget for the rest of my life!"

"I want to thank you all for that wonderful evening at the golf club and for the presents I received for my birthday"

"Thank u very much Val. You made many people happy with your rhyme".

"The tour on Sunday with the Gowerton bus was unbelievable".

"Wales is a beautiful country".

"Our stay in WALES was fantastic and for me personally it was to short"

"Thank “U” from all of us here in ASCH!"






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