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  #1  
Old 17th January 2005, 01:37
klemen klemen is offline
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klemen
Losses of GRB No. 1 "Lorraine" in North Africa

I was wondering if anyone has perhaps a list of losses (airplane and crew - KIA, WIA or Survivors) of the famous Free French Groupe de Bombardement N°1 "Lorraine" during its deployment in North Africa in support of the 8th British Army, i.e. from October 1941 to October 1942 with an emphasize on the losses which occurred around or during the El-Alamein battle. I have recently met a man whose uncle served with this group. Interesting thing is that he served at first with the Légion étrangèr in Syria (probably 6th REI) - he was non-French - and then joined the Free French Groupe de Bombardement N°1 "Lorraine" in Damascus as radio (wireless) operator and stayed with it until the end of the war and was demobilised as sergent-chef in Paris in 1946.
His airplane was shot down during the battle of El-Alamein (or at least he claimed so, exact place and date unknown) and he was the sole survivor. The pilot was killed and he managed to survive a week in the desert until he was found half-dead by Allied patrol and brought to a hospital in Alexandria (Egypt).

I am hoping his nephew will scan some of his photos from that time.

Any help would be deeply appreciated.

Klemen
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  #2  
Old 17th January 2005, 09:45
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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The book "Aviateurs de la liberté" will list all members of the FAFL killed during the war (definition of a member of the FAL being people who joined a FAFL unit (not an ex-Vichy one) before 30 June 1943 and their fusion with the Armée de l'Air in North Africa).

So all crewen of GB 1 killed in North Africa will be in this book.

Edited: sadly, I have not this book myself, I have only used it in SHAA archives. So can't help more
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  #3  
Old 17th January 2005, 20:26
Bertrand H Bertrand H is offline
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GB1

Kemen,


The man you are looking for could be Henri SOULAT. On 5 december 1941 their Blenheim collided with another Blenheim from 45 sqdn. Capitaine De Maismont was injured ( then killed on 15 october 1944 at Harfordbridge) and Sergent Fifre dead some hours later.

Then Henri (?) Soulat was flying with GB1 and later on 342 sqdn where he did 54 ops missions between 20 december 1943 and 12 september 1944. He was as wireless operator of Cpitaine Emile Allegret and François Sommer.

Please note the Pierre Fenaux de Maismont came from Légion Etrangére then navigator in Syria before joining the GB1.

I hope this helps,

Bertrand H
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  #4  
Old 17th January 2005, 21:23
klemen klemen is offline
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Hi Laurent & Bertrand!

To Laurent first:

Quote:
The book "Aviateurs de la liberté" will list all members of the FAFL killed during the war (definition of a member of the FAL being people who joined a FAFL unit (not an ex-Vichy one) before 30 June 1943 and their fusion with the Armée de l'Air in North Africa).
Thank you Laurent for recommending me this book. However ther eis just one "tiny-biny problem" and that is that the crewman in question survived the crash and war. He recovered from his wounds, went with the squadron to England and eventually took part in the Normandy invasion, but not anymore as an air crewman. According to his newphew he did not fly anymore after around 1943, but served instead as an expert in the communications and radio transmissions as part of the squadron's ground crew. He was apparently very talented in this, so they kept him to take care for radio equipment in Douglas Bostons.

Is there perhaps any book in France where a man could look for the names of all air and ground crew of the GB 1 respectively No. 342 (Free French) Squadron "Lorraine"?


And now to Bertrand:

Quote:
The man you are looking for could be Henri SOULAT. On 5 december 1941 their Blenheim collided with another Blenheim from 45 sqdn. Capitaine De Maismont was injured ( then killed on 15 october 1944 at Harfordbridge) and Sergent Fifre dead some hours later.
Nice try Bertrand, but he isn't he I am afraid. According to his nephew his uncle told him that his aircraft has been hit from the ground (and not in air collision or dogfight) and he claimed that this took place during the time of El-Alamein battle, so I guess this puts this story very well into 1942. During the crash the pilot was dead, while he somehow survived. He was found about a week later half-dead and immediately taken to a military hospital in Alexandria. The rest of his story I have written in my reply to Laurent.

Quote:
Please note the Pierre Fenaux de Maismont came from Légion Etrangére then navigator in Syria before joining the GB1.
Yes, but this is not the man I am looking for, I am sure of this. he served in the Légion Etrangére in Syria until got himself transferred to the FFAF. He was not a Frenchman by birth like Pierre Fenaux de Maismont. I at first thought that he enlisted the Legion and FFAF under a second name, but his nephew says that on all his military service records and even marriage certificate (he married in 1944 in London) there is his real name and not a fake name.

Let me at the end again thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. It was very helpful and I appreciate it very much.

Yours sincerly,

Klemen
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  #5  
Old 17th January 2005, 23:23
Bertrand H Bertrand H is offline
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***Is there perhaps any book in France where a man could look for the names of all air and ground crew of the GB 1 respectively No. 342 (Free French) Squadron "Lorraine"?***

Any book alas : to be written ! I have some private list but any book!


Bertrand
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  #6  
Old 17th January 2005, 23:29
klemen klemen is offline
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Quote:
Any book alas : to be written ! I have some private list but any book!
:?: :?: I take it it hasn't been written yet. Actually I had more on my mind a memorial book with the names of all members of the groupe/squadron that a squadron history.

Klemen
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  #7  
Old 18th January 2005, 11:30
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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There are several tomes of the French review "Icare" about GB 1 and then Lorraine.

And there are usually unit history books (very crude, but will list ops, losses and awards at least) available in French archives for all WWII units, especially for FAFL ones. They are books written by veterans/associations or even the SHAA, not official papers dating from WWII-time. These are also available.

As for pointing "Aviateurs de la Liberté", I guess you know the name of the man you are searching, but this book will show you all human losses of GB1 during 1942 and that will narrow your research. The name of survivor may also be mentionned (don't remember if this is always the case, it was for the cases I was interested in).
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Old 18th January 2005, 18:42
klemen klemen is offline
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Quote:
As for pointing "Aviateurs de la Liberté", I guess you know the name of the man you are searching, but this book will show you all human losses of GB1 during 1942 and that will narrow your research. The name of survivor may also be mentionned (don't remember if this is always the case, it was for the cases I was interested in).
Yes, I do have the name of the man I am searching for (check your pm) but as I said I don't think I should look for the names of casualties, because he was not casualty in the strict meaning of the word if you know what I mean. He barely survived that crash though, but did survive. The information that the names of survivors are also mentioned is very encouraging and I thank you for telling me this.

Laurent, you will probably know this... Where can my friend (nephew of this man) find or order his personal service records? In SHAT or... :?: Do we need to follow any special procedures (only family members, fee ...)?

BTW: Your name sounds familiar to me. Have we already met on some other forum?

Best regards,

Klemen
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  #9  
Old 18th January 2005, 19:57
Laurent Rizzotti Laurent Rizzotti is offline
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Records

Personnal files should be available (to him (and probably family)) in the SHAT (Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre = Land Army Historical Service) for its service in Legion Etrangère.

They will be available in SHAA (Service Historique de l'Armée de l'Air = Air Army Historical Service) for its service in GB1.

At least I guess it will be like that.

As for meeting me elsewhere, I am active on several WWII forums for some years, usually under my full name or Laurent. One of my favorite is the RAF Commands forum and I thought we may have "met" there.

Edited : and I have nothing in my pm box ?
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  #10  
Old 18th January 2005, 22:41
klemen klemen is offline
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klemen
Hi Laurent!

Quote:
Personnal files should be available (to him (and probably family)) in the SHAT (Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre = Land Army Historical Service) for its service in Legion Etrangère.
Thank you, Laurent! Is the below written address of the SHAT a correct one or has changed in the past?

Monsieur le Chef
du Service historique de l'armée de terre
Château de Vincennes
BP 107 - 00481 ARMÉES


What should my friend write instead "Monsieur le Chef"?

BTW: Don't you write for the service records (matricules) of the legionnaires to the Legion Archive in Marseille-Aubagne?

Commandement de la Légion étrangère
Bureau des anciens, BP 38
13998 MARSEILLE ARMÉES


Judging by this site - http://jomave.chez.tiscali.fr/adgenweb/shat.html - they have the personal service records for all the legionnares who entered the Legion AFTER 1909, while for those before 1909 are available in the SHAT. is this correct?

Quote:
They will be available in SHAA (Service Historique de l'Armée de l'Air = Air Army Historical Service) for its service in GB1.
The postal address:

LES ARCHIVES DU SERVICE HISTORIQUE DE L'ARMEE DE L'AIR
Château de Vincennes
B.P. 110 - 00481 ARMEES


Did I get it right?

Quote:
As for meeting me elsewhere, I am active on several WWII forums for some years, usually under my full name or Laurent. One of my favorite is the RAF Commands forum and I thought we may have "met" there.
No, no... I remember you now... We have met at my forum "Pacific War 1941-1945" on the Dutch East Indies 1941-1942 website. Is it not so? I still have a good memory, hehe...

Quote:
Edited: and I have nothing in my pm box ?
Please check now.

lp,

Klemen
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