Bomber Command Memorial Tunisie And Guyenne Squadrons

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL - Tunisie and Guyenne Squadrons

Date: 2nd May 2013

BOMBER COMMAND – Tunisie and Guyenne Squadrons

Last week I attended a small ceremony at the Bomber Command Memorial in London.   It was to commemorate the two French Bomber Squadrons stationed at RAF Elvington during WW2.

Afterwards we crossed the road (with great difficulty – you have to make a route march to cross - either on the Underpass at Hyde Park Corner or walk towards Piccadilly Circus and cross at the traffice lights) and the Squadron Badges  were presented to the Club and will hang on the wall alongside hundreds of others.

There was a lunch and many interesting people with whom to converse. Then I found myself with André Hautot. His is a very interesting story. Andre was still with his mother in Algeria or Tunisia. The area was occupied by the Italians. One Italian soldier who was friendly with the family suggested that the Germans were taking over from the Italians (which they did) and if Andre did not escape he might be deported for labour in Germany - this did happen when Vichy France changed it's arrangements and sent all young French men to work camps in Germany. So, they obtained an Italian uniform and set him off to walk towards the British Lines. Andre was challenged by an India soldier of the Indian Army and arrested as a spy! Is was not until an English Officer realised what he was that he was repatriated and joined the French air force.
At 15, André was the youngest member of the force.

What was so interesting for me was that, on recounting my research and documentary about René Mouchotte, André said that he had met René in July 1943 at the Headquarters of Gen. de Gaulle.

Yet another little strand in the ongoing Mouchotte story.

 

This is the badge corridor where the Tunisie and Guyenne badges will hang

BOMBER COMMAND MEMORIAL - Tunisie and Guyenne Squadrons

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