1st Lieutenant Bert Espy, Jr., U.S.A.A.F.

1st Lt. Bert Espy, Jr. U.S.A.A.F. seen in uniform.
(Photo courtesy of Henri Levaufre and the Espy family)

"Wing by Wing" portrait of the P-47 Thunderbolts flown by 1st Lt. Benjamin F. Kitchens and
1st Lt. Bert Espy, Jr. over the village of Périers, France moments before the two aircraft collided and crashed on June 24, 1944.
(Photo courtesy of Christian Levaufre)

The remains of the engine from P-47 Thunderbolt flown by 1st. Lt. Bert Espy, Jr. recovered by Christian Levaufre and his father.
(Photo courtesy of Christian Levaufre)
© 2014 Christian Lavaufer all rights reserved

Nov. 11, 2014

Ben Kitchens and Bert Espy, Jr. collided over my village of Périers at Normandy. My father, Henri Levaufre, witnessed the crash on June 24, 1944. He and his brother even saw the body of Ben Kitchens leaning at the foot of a hedgerow outside of his cockpit. The wreck of his aircraft was scrapped after the war. Bert Espy's plane went deep into the ground. When I was a kid my father and I went to dig the wreck out of  the spot of its crash. Here is a picture of the engine still staying in my parents' back yard. Years later, I asked a friend who was good at painting planes, to draw me a painting showing the 2 P47s (with their right markings and serial numbers) flying wing by wing over the recently bombed city of Périers just a few minutes before their collision. The painting (shown above) is on the wall right over my computer.

Hope it helps,
Christian Levaufre

Feb. 8, 2017

Well, it took us longer than expected, but the memorial dedicated to the memory of Ben Kitchens and Bert Espy, KIA in the mid air collision of their two P-47s, will be dedicated in Périers (Normandy) on June 24, 2017. 73 years exactly after their crash. If any or some of you can attend this ceremony, they will be the most welcome.

Thank you,
Christian Levaufre

Page published Nov. 12, 2014