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- 02 -082018

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« A dedicated life », episode 3: François d’Astier de la Vigerie

Birth: 7 March 1886
Death: 9 October 1956
Companion of the Liberation – Decree of 8 November 1944

A lieutenant from the Saint-Cyr Military School, he took part in the first fights of the Great War as a cavalryman, before asking to serve in the air force in December 1915. As a fighter pilot who was promoted to the rank of captain, he flew Nieuport and SPAD biplanes as a member of Escadrille 65, then as commander of Escadrille 88. “A brave, hardy and cool-headed pilot”, he achieved several confirmed victories and 7 citations; he was injured twice over enemy lines during the Battles of the Somme in 1916 and the Chemin des Dames in 1917.

After the war, he continued his military career. As a general, he led France’s air battle during the campaign of May-June 1940. An early member of the Resistance, he joined General de Gaulle in London in 1942 and most notably became Superior Commander of the French troops in Great Britain. He was made ambassador at the end of the war, and stayed true to the political views of the Free France leader for his entire life.

Credits: Captain d’Astier de la Vigerie, Commander of Escadrille N 88 / SPA 88 poses in front of his Nieuport 17 on the Chaux airfield (Belfort) – His plane still bears the insignia inherited from Escadrille N 65 (chimera), of which he was previously a member © Famille de François d’Astier de la Vigerie

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