Colonel Jean Calmel D.F.C. ( March 4th, 1913 - 1987 ) was born in Paris ( France ).
In 1937, he enlisted in the Armée de l'Air ( French Air Force ), to be successively graduated Observer, then Pilot. Appointed bomber pilot, Jean Calmel is posted to the Groupe de Bombardement I / 11 ( I / 11 Bomber Group ). After the invasion by Nazi Germany armed forces, and their rapid advance, the G.B. I / 11 left French territory and withdrew to North Africa. On the evening of June 24th, 1940, while returning from bombing Palermo ( Sicily, Italy ), Jean Calmel hastened to reach the fallback airfield, located in Djedeida ( Tunisia ). When he got off his aircraft, he learned that the Armistice was signed. Reformed at Oran ( Algeria ), the G.B. I / 11 is reconstitued, its aircrews accumulating both flying hours and trainings, while playing with German and Italian Armistice Commissions as well. Subsequently Jean Calmel was given command of the 2ème Escadrille ( No. 2 Squadron ).
In 1943, after the Tunisia Campaign and the defeat of German - Italian troops, the French Air Force is reformed. One day in Algier ( Algeria ), Jean Calmel embarked on the Dutch liner R.M.S. " Orbita " to Liverpool ( Merseyside, England ). After a fifteen - day journey, including a four - day call in Gibraltar, the ship docked on September 9th, 1943... in full fog ! Knowing that he is going to fly on heavy bomber, Jean Calmel was retrained in the R.A.F. Posted to No. 346 " Guyenne " Squadron ( made up of French crews and equipped with Handley Page Halifax bombers ), he took part to operations ( France, the Netherlands, Germany ), and was decorated with the D.F.C.
After the war, he held several important posts :
- Head of the Office of Air Staff Plans ( 1951 ).
- Chief of Staff of the Air Force in Morocco ( 1953 ).
- Commanding Officer of Air Tactical Group ( 1960 ).
- Deputy Chief of Air Centre Europe Staff ( 1961 ).
- " Plans " Division Chief, S.H.A.P.E. ( 1962 ).
- Commanding Officer of the 1st Air District at Dijon ( 1964 ).
Jean Calmel ended his military career as Major General of the Air Force ( 1965 - 1967 ).
Having taken his uniform off, he is appointed Director of External Relations of Sud - Aviation, en 1967. In March 1969, he is at his best on the first flight of the " Concorde ", at Toulouse ( Haute - Garonne, France ). As an Engineer from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, he always has demonstrated his diplomacy, his cheerful temperament, his keen intelligence and his sense of responsability as well.
( sources : www.passionair1940.fr, books.google.be, www.babelio.com, www.lemonde.fr, www.maisybattery.com, halifax346et347.canalblog.com, Wikipedia )