This book examines and analyses the relationship between the RAF, the Free French Movement and the French fighter pilots in WWII. A highly significant subject, this has been ignored by academics on both sides of the Channel. This ground-breaking study will fill a significant gap in the historiography of the War.
Bennett's painstaking research has unearthed primary source material in both Britain and France including Squadron records, diaries, oral histories and memoirs. In the post-war period the idea of French pilots serving with the RAF seemed anachronistic to both sides. For the French nation the desire to draw a veil over the war years helped to obscure many aspects of the past, and for the British the idea of French pilots did not accord with the myths of "the Few" to whom so much was owed. Those French pilots who served had to make daring escapes. Classed as deserters they risked court martial and execution if caught. They would play a vital role on D-Day and the battle for control of the skies which followed.
About the Author
G. H. Bennett is Reader in History at the University of Plymouth. He is the author of ten books including Roosevelt's Peacetime Administrations 1933-41: A Documentary History of the New Deal Years (MUP) and Survivors: British Merchant Seamen in the Second World War. He lives in Cornwall.
Table of Contents
Introduction \ 1 The Debacle of May/June 1940 \ 2 Free France in Africa \ 3 The Battle of Britain and the Thirteen Apostles of Charles de Gaulle \ 4 Growth of the Free French Air Force in 1941 \ 5 The Birth of 340 (Ile de France) Squadron \ 6 War from the Desert to the Atlantic \ 7 War by Attrition and the Raid on Dieppe \ 8 Progress of the Free French Movement 1942-43 \ 9 Formation of 341 (Alsace) Squadron in the United Kingdom \ 10 342 (Lorraine) Squadron enters the European Battle \ 11 Survive, Evade, Escape \ 12 D-Day: Preparation and Execution \ 13 Liberation \ 14 War to the Bitter End \ 15 Aftermath \ 16 Conclusions \ Appendices
Bibliography \ Index.