On 15th September a very special ceremony will take place in Paris to mark the contribution made by 13 French fighter pilots during the dark days of the Battle of Britain in the summer of 1940, 9 of which were killed in action.
The families of 9 French pilots will receive the British wartime medals, including the coveted Battle of Britain clasp. The pilots themselves or their families did not receive them after the War.
In 2012 the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial at Elvington, York arranged for the families of famous French pilots René Mouchotte and Henry Lafont to receive their medals in Paris.
Since that time the Museum has been facilitating the project for the remaining families, supported by the Musée de la Liberation in Paris, the British Embassy, UK Medals Office, the Royal Air Force and the Armée de l’Air to arrange for 42 medals in total to be presented by Air Vice Marshal Malcolm Brecht, Chief of Staff Capability (Air) with Sir Peter Ricketts, British Ambassador to France at the Ambassador’s Residence in Paris on September 15th.
The event will be followed by the annual “ravivage” ceremony at the tomb of the unknown warrior at the Arc de Triomphe.
Ian Reed, Director of the Yorkshire Air Museum & Allied Air Forces Memorial said, “The acknowledgement of these brave pilots has not come soon enough, especially when you consider that they risked capital punishment for joining the British in 1940, notwithstanding their courage in the skies to defend Britain in its hour of greatest need. Britain acknowledges their contribution and we, the Allied Air Forces Memorial, are proud to help complete the story”.
The veterans were:
ADJ P M Blaize
ADJ HJ Bouquillard
ADJ Y J Brière
ADJ M P C Choron
ADJ F H E J A DeLaboucchère
ADJ X de DeMontbron
2/Lt. J-F Demozay
Capt. C J M P de Scitivaux de Greische
ADJ E F M L Fayolle
ADJ C P Guérin
ADJ H G Lafont
ADJ R G O J Mouchotte
ADJ G C Perrin