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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 192731
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Type:Martin 167 Maryland Mk I
Owner/operator:69 Squadron Royal Air Force (69 Sqn RAF)
Registration: AR707
Fatalities:Fatalities: 3 / Occupants: 3
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:off Catania, Sicily -   Italy
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:
Destination airport:
At 0700 hrs the Maryland I AR707, one of the aircraft of 69 Sqn RAF, formed the day before in Malta by expanding 431 Flight, too off to check the Italian fleet base at Taranto. This aircraft went off its prescribed course that should kept it away from hostile territory and passed the coast of Sicily at about 10,000 ft near the port of Catania. It was intercepted by Mc 200s led by Ten Palazzeschi of 6° Gruppo Aut. C.T. who claimed a "Blenheim" shot down. The Maryland was effectively shot down into sea off Catania and its three crew were killed:

Crew (all killed)
Sgt René Duvauchelle (pilot)
Sgt George Taylor (observer)
Sgt Jacques Méhouas (wireless operator)

Taylor and Mehouas are buried in Catania while Duvauchelle had been since brought back to France. Duvauchelle and Mehouas were both French airmen who were based in Bizerte, Tunisia, at the time of the armistice in June 1940. They decided to continue the fight along the British and in the evening 4 July 1940 flew to Malta with the Laté 298 n° 33 of escadrille HB2-5. They both enlisted in the RAF, flew some patrols with their floatplane until it ran out of spare parts and then flew Marylands of 431 Flt from 22 November 1940.

Despite having never joined the FAFL (Free French Air Force), Duvauchelle was the first French airman to become, posthumously, a "Compagnon de la Libération".


"Aviateurs de la liberté. Mémorial des Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres", by Colonel Henry Lafont, ISBN 2-904521-46-1
"Malta: the Hurricane Years 1940-41", by Christopher Shores, Brian Cull and Nicola Malizia. ISBN 0-948817-06-2

Revision history:

11-Jan-2017 09:06 Laurent Rizzotti Added

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