[Newspaper clipping from 1956; included is a photo captioned “Rev. Robert Mongeot.”]
Visits Young Airman’s Parents
Priest Recalls Wartime Tragedy
In the bleak dawn of July 29, 1944, a 20-year-old former St. Joseph’s high school student died in the flaming wreckage of a Lancaster bomber near Epinal, France.
Today, 12 years after Peter Biollo gave his life serving his country, the young French student for the priesthood who reached the boy’s body minutes after he died is visiting Peter’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter Biollo of 10806 75 Ave.
Rev. Robert Mougeot told in an interview how he saw the Stuttgart-bound bomber burst into flames after an encounter with nine Luftwaffe fighters at three in the morning; how he ran across war-scarred fields to reach the wreckage; and how he was seized, questioned, beaten and imprisoned by German troops when they found him over the body of the young bombardier.
When Mr. and Mrs. Biollo learned their son was missing in action, they wrote to Chaumousey, France, where the air battle took place, in an effort to get definite word on the fate of their eldest of 10 children.
Chaumousey town officials knew what had happened, and sent the letter on to the seminary student in nearby Epinal. It was a year before Father Mougeot was able to write them that their son was dead.
They kept up a correspondence with Father Mougeot, and in1950 Mrs. Biollo went to visit her son’s grave. She stayed for a week with Father Mougeot’s parents at Epinal, before travelling on to Rome to visit relatives of her husband.
This year, an Irish friend of Father Mougeot’s, now living in France, gave him the money for a trip to Canada. The priest stopped in Toronto to visit Mrs. Bruno (Ramona) Villeneuve, the airman’s sister, before coming on to Edmonton.
He arrived here Monday, and plans to stay with the Biollos until July 27, when he starts the return journey to France. He brought with him for the Biollos a wood-inlaid reproduction of the Lancaster in which their son was killed.
Only one of the crew of the [missing text]
He was the pilot, a New Zealander who suffered a loss of memory after the crash.
“The plane flew over the village in flames, apparently looking for a place to crash-land,” Father Mougeot explained through an interpreter, Germain Carpentier of 10652 67 Ave., Mrs. Biollo’s brother-in-law.
“Then its bombs exploded, and it crashed in the woods near the village. I ran there right away. I was giving him attention, when the German troops came.
“They thought I knew Peter, and thought I was a spy, and tried to make me talk.” He was held prisoner for three weeks, he said, while he was questioned.
Father Mougeot now is a youth service worker in Paris, working to combat juvenile delinquency there. He says he would like to stay in Canada for two or three years, but cannot be away that long.
Mr. Biollo is press foreman at the University of Alberta printshop. He and Mrs. Biollo have nine living children, three daughters and six sons.