Funeral held for last pilot in French-Russian anti-Nazi squadron

Russian and French dignitaries have paid their respects to a pilot in a French-Soviet squadron that fought the Nazis on the eastern front together in the Second World War.

A funeral ceremony was being held in Cannes for Colonel Gael Taburet, who died on February 10 aged 97. He was the last surviving pilot from the squadron.

Created by French resistance leader Charles de Gaulle, the Normandy-Niemen order flew 5,240 missions targeting Nazi forces from 1942 to 1945 from its base near Moscow.

Of its 96 pilots, 42 died in combat.

Born on November 12 1919 in western France, Mr Taburet joined in 1944, according to the Normandy-Niemen Memorial near Paris.

Colonel Gael Taburet

He later served with the French air force in Algeria, then left the military for a management career.

One Normandie-Niemen participant, 96-year-old mechanic Andre Peyronie, still survives.


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