Crash of a French Breguet 693, June 1940 Pilot: S/Lt Rolland (AAF) and Co pilot Des Courtis (AAF).

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by Oldleg, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. Oldleg

    Oldleg Well-Known Member

    June 9th 1940 a Breguet 693 was involved in dogfight over the forest of Lyons (surrounding the village of Lyons La Forêt), Eure France . The pilot S:Lt Rolland apparently escaped whilst the machine gunner Sgt Des Courtis died in the crash.

    I would like to find out as much information about these men as possible. I do not know their first names or the aircraft's id. They were connected to GA 11/51 of the Armée de l'Aire.

    If anyone can please help me to find as much as possible, it would be much appreciated.

    I am sorry this information is so vague but this is all I have at the moment.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

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  3. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member

    Cornwell in his 'Battle Of France Then And Now' gives the following........

    Sunday 9 June 1940

    GBA II/51 Breguet 693 (49) Shot down by fighters during sortie to attack enemy tanks between Forges-les-Eaux and Gournay-en-Bray 10:00am. Crashed in the Foret-de-Lyons near Fleury-sur-Andelle. S/Lt. Rolland wounded, evaded eventually reaching Toulouse. Sgt des Courtis captured unhurt. Aircraft a Write-off.
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  4. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Arnaud Prudhomme's book Breguet 693 Le Lion de l'aviation d'assaut has an account written by the pilot Sous-lieutenant Robert Rolland after the war describing the mission on which he and Courtis were shot down. Unfortunately the sergeant's first name isn't given in the account. Rolland suffered severe facial injuries in the crash (broken nose, torn eyelids, cheek injuries but, he notes, no broken teeth). He also mentioned that in his haste to escape the aircraft after it crashed in case it caught fire, he forgot to unplug his headset and almost strangled himself. All in all a lucky escape for both men.

    Rolland was flying as part of patrol of three aircraft from GBA II/51. The aircraft of the section leader (693 n 69) was also shot down by fighters and the two crew members, Lt. F. Maurel and Sgt. P. Rochais were killed.

    This website contains an edited version of Rolland's account
    9 juin 1940
    Like Cornwell and Prudhomme, it also lists Sgt Des Courtis as taken prisoner, not killed.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  5. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

  6. Oldleg

    Oldleg Well-Known Member

    This is fantastic!! This information I will pass to the local mayor so that he could honor these men when we hold our remembrance ceremony if he so wishes on November !!th.

    Do we know where Des Courtis was taken to? Did he survive the war or did he die in captivity?
  7. horsapassenger

    horsapassenger Senior Member

    Jean Le François Des Courtis ended up as Adjutant of 341 Alsace Squadron and flew 95 missions. He was shot down again on 10th October 1944 over Holland and was captured. On 22nd October, with two others, he escaped from the POW train taking him to Germany and evaded for a while near Nijkerk. During the period of his evasion he met up with some other RAF Pilots that participated in Operation Pegasus 2 and it's believed that he was recaptured during that escape attempt
  8. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    Nos 340-347 Squadrons were formed as an arm of the Free French under British control.In the immediate post war they were transferred to French control, then disbanded.

    No 341 Alsace Squadron was formed at RAF Turnhouse,now Edinburgh Airport, in January 1943.
    It was destined to serve in the 2nd TAF in Northern France and the Low Countries with five Spitfire Marks,returning once to Turnhouse for a short period in February 1945 to convert to the Spitfire XV1.

    The squadron was based at B55/Wevelghem,now Korttrijk-Wevelghem Airport, near to Ypres. when Des Courtis's Spitfire Mark 1XB FTR.
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  9. Oldleg

    Oldleg Well-Known Member

    Harry, thanks for this info, where did you get it from? I want to use this information to create a profile on these guys for a FB page that I have created 'The Heroes at Lyons La Forêt'. I also plan on talking to the local authorities to see if we can get a plaque erected in the area to honor the crew.

    I have to say a big thank you to all involved on this forum. Everytime I ask questions I get great results!!!! Glad to know there are so many like minded people out there!!!
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