French Pilots

  • Bernard, Paul

     M.----  2nd Officer Paul Bernard 
     flag france b. 21 Jun 1903, Nancy, France  28 Oct to 8 Nov 1940 




    Father: Levy Bernard, a clothing manufacturer; Mother: Marie

    Next of Kin: (wife) Martha Bernard, 49 Avenue Lanterne, Nice, France

    2 children, Micheline c. 1931, Nicole c. 1932

    prev. Society of Industrial Construction of Aeronautics, Ministry of Defence; French Air Force 1922-39; RAF pilot (Flt-Sgt) at Odiham from 16 Jul 1940

    Address in 1940: White Hart Hotel, Odiham, Hants

     Postings: -

     "MAP Refused Employment" "Air Ministry Approval Witheld"

     Sailed from UK to Buenos Aires, Argentina in Apr 1941, then to US


    Paul's US Registration Card, dated 16 Feb 1942. Employer: Bennie Schwabacher of Bessemer, AL

     He, Martha Michelline and Nicole sailed to the USA in 1949


     d. 25 May 1978 - Neuilly-Sur-Seine, Hauts-De-Seine, France


    Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

  • Blumenthal, Charles

     M.---- 3rd Officer  Charles Blumenthal 
    flag france    17 Feb 1942 to 19 Jul 1942




    One accident, his fault:

    - 31 May 1942, in Magister T9887. The aircraft swung on landing and the udercarriage collapsed. "Error of judgement on the part of the pupil pilot in attempting to land in a cross-wind, and subsequent failure to correct swing."

    Contract Terminated 19 Jul 1942

  • Echallier, Claudius Philippe

     M.356 First Officer  Claudius Philippe Echallier 
    flag france  b. 24 May 1911, Saint-Lager, France  6 Mar 1941 to Jun-44 


    ata claudius echallier


    ata claudius echallier 2   ATAM  


    prev a test pilot; arrived in the UK in June 1940, and worked at the RAF Repair Depot at Burton Wood.

    prev exp. 500 hrs

    He was in demand as a 'very highly skilled engineer'- The Container Engineering Co. Ltd of Maidenhead even asked if he could be transferred to them, in March 1942.

    Although his initial flying reports were fine ("A good pilot, very careful and of good average ability"), in June 1943 he failed the conversion course for Class 5 (4-engine) aircraft (Stirling): "This pilot proved temperamental and erratic and his flying generally was disappointing... especially taxying which was much too fast and careless!" Charles Tutt, who was on the same course, said that, if he had been the instructor, he "would have failed him two hours earlier".

     He continued to do good work on single- and twin-engine aircraft, however, and eventually amassed 1,135 hrs in the ATA.

    beaufighter 6

    d. 8 Jun 1944 (Died in ATA Service) - Beaufighter NV235 flew into hillside in poor visibility near Mull of Galloway, Scotland.

    ata royston staniford

    23-year-old Senior Flight Engineer Royston Edwin Staniford also died in the crash.

    After the funeral, his wife Lucienne returned to Scarborough but two days later was taken ill and subsequently had a miscarriage. She returned to France in late 1944.

    He is commemorated in Saint-Lager:

    800px 69218 Saint Lager MM4

     Download ATA Pilot Personal Record (.zip file):download grey

  • Harlé, Maurice Amédée

     M.430 *  Flight Captain  Maurice Amédée Harlé 
     flag france   b. 26 Dec 1899, La Fere, Aisne, France 22 Apr 1941 to 24 Jul 1945 

     ata maurice harle HB

     ata maurice harle 1945 1945    




    Certificate of Commendation, 1943: "On the 28th December 1943, immediately after take-off, First Officer M. Harlé's port engine partially failed. He retracted the undercarriage and managed to gain a safe height, circuited the airfield, lowered the undercariage, feathered the propeller and executed a single engine landing without damage."




  • Hollande, Jacques Andre

     M.262 * First Officer  Jacques Andre Hollande 
     flag france   22 Mar 1941 to 15 Aug 1945 




    "Typical of the adventures experienced by some of the foreign pilots prior to their ultimate deployment with ATA were those of Jacques Hollande. This Paris timber exporter was unmolested by the Germans for three months after the Occupation, but then decided to escape from France. He went to Vichy and, after calling daily for weeks at the passport office and producing letter after letter from Government officials to the effect that he was unable to carry on his business without keeping in touch with his Morocco agents, he at last obtained an exit permit, and travelled from Port Vendres to Oran by the mail boat. From here he made his way to Rabat and claimed that he had business at the international port of Tangier.

    For days he pestered the authorities to obtain from them the necessary visa to pass him through the Spanish zone, and in the end prevailed upon an official to place his papers among those to be signed by the Control Officer on the latter's return from dinner one evening.The meal must have been a satisfactory one as the documents were signed withour comment and he got to Tangier.

    Here he met an official in the British Consulate, with a view to being allowed to join the Free French forces in England. In the end he obtained a passage to Gibraltar, and from there, under the protection of Britain, eventually arrived at Liverpool. Within a day or two he heard for the first time of the ATA and, remembering that he had a hundred or so flying hours behind him, came to White Waltham. Here he had a flight test, was accepted, and at the age of 42 commenced his new career as a ferry pilot.

    Four years later he ferried one of the fiirst Ansons from White Waltham to Paris, and has since been able to resume his life in his native country." Brief Glory

  • Jullian, Ginette Marie Hélène (W.---)

     W.--- Cadet   Ginette Marie Hélène Jullian
     flag france   b. 8 Dec 1917, Montpellier France 27 Jan-43 to 23 Mar-43 

     ginette jullian



     Not really an aviator at all (jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane in 1944 doesn't count), Ginette failed the training course for the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in 1943, but went on to become an S.O.E. secret agent, 'Adele'.

    father George, formerly in a shipping firm; mother Yvonne Lozes. Married at age 16 (one son), divorced.

    pi01 475

    She travelled to England in 1940 'to be with her fiancé', but he (Philippe de Scitivaux - an aviator in the Free French Air Force) was shot down and taken prisoner in April 1942. He was then sent to Oflag XXI-B in Poland, so she must have been at rather a loose end.

    She spent the first 3 months of 1943 training with the ATA (although no record of her flying, or of what her instructors thought of it, survives), then immediately applied to SOE to be trained as an 'agent in the field'. 

    She was initially told she would not be needed, so then went off to the B.C.R.A. (which was the French Intelligence Service set up by de Gaulle while in the UK) for 8 months.

    By early 1944 she was back with the S.O.E.; they found that she had good morse (16 wpm, apparently), and was "Keen on silent killing and has a fair working knowledge." [Presumably this was thanks to her BCRA training, as I don't think the ATA syllabus covered 'silent killing'.]

    SOE wrote that she was "very keen and enthusiastic about her job. Lived in Algeria where she was married. Often talks about North Africa which she knows well. Her character is mentally stable. She is a quiet type of girl, rather on the shy side but is determined and obstinate".

    She parachuted into occupied France on the 7th June, 1944 to be a W/T operator, but soon discovered that all the people she was supposed to contact were nowhere to be found. However, she found some others and they spent 3 months generally harrassing and sabotaging the Germans. After that she didn't want to return to the UK; re-united with Philippe, they married and moved to Tahiti. 


    She drowned there in 1962 while scuba-diving; Philippe, by then a Vice Admiral, died in Toulon in 1986.

    [with thanks to Justin Davis]

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