This is what Jean Demozay wrote me in a comment in French about the picture below.
His uncle was the Free French pilot Jean Demozay.
Vous aurez l’incroyable chance de côtoyer et de pouvoir parler avec le sergent Connolly (sergent à la date de la photo ). Vous lui rappellerez peut être un détail important sur cette photo du Spit V: La bosse derrière le mât d’antenne, qui est le nouveau système de reconnaissance des appareils IFF pour Identification Friend or Foe. (identification des avions amis ou ennemis par les radars Anglais de basse et haute altitude).
Il est fort possible que Mr CONNOLLY garde un souvenir “mitigé ” de mon oncle.
Quand Jean DEMOZAY prend effectivement en charge le A Flight du 91, il reste Français avec un caractère bien “trempé “.
Malgré tous, dites-lui ce qu’il a écrit “MES FIDÈLES COMPAGNONS EXEMPLAIRES DU 91”.
A Flight No. 91 Squadron Nigeria, Hawkinge, England, July 1942
Jean Demozay in on the right.
You will have the rare opportunity to meet and talk with Sergeant Connolly (Sergeant in this picture). You will probably show him an important detail on the picture of this Spitfire Mk V: the hump behind the radio mast which is the new IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system put on Spitfires. It was used by British radars for low and high altitude.
It is quite possible that Mr CONNOLLY has kept only a faint and lukewarm memory of my uncle. When Jean DEMOZAY took command of A Flight of 91 Squadron, he remained a true Frenchman with a “very strong energetic” character .
Nevertheless, tell him what he once wrote about his pilots. “MY FAITHFUL AND EXEMPLARY COMPANIONS OF THE 91″.
After evading France in June 1940, Jean Demozay joined the RAF and flew Hurricanes with No 1 and No 242 Squadron before joining No 91 “Nigeria” Squadron from July 1941 to February 1942. During this period he scored 11 aerial victories, mostly with Spitfire Mk Vb W3122. He returned to No 91 Squadron as Commanding Officer from July to December 1942, scoring several other kills. His total tally is 21 confirmed and 2 probable aerial victories. He was killed in a flying accident in 1945.
More on Jean Demozay…
Service number FR 297.
Jean Demozay was a commercial pilot before the war. In 1938 he was called up for military service but after a month he became unfit due to an accident. At the outbreak of war, he voluntarily offered his services and became an interpreter with No. 1 Squadron RAF at Reims in France.
As the Germans drew nearer, he discovered a Bristol Bombay which had been left behind and with 15 soldiers aboard, he flew the aircraft to England. He reported to the RAF and managed to convince the selection committee that he was a fighter pilot. After having completed his training he was posted to No. 1 Squadron and soon proved himself to be a very able fighter pilot, quickly claiming numerous victories.
In October 1942 he scored his 18th victory which was to be his last. In February 1943 he was sent to North-Africa to establish flight training for the Free French. In April 1944 he returned to England. After the invasion he established the “Groupe Patrie” in France. Near war’s end he was named deputy commander of all French flying schools.
December 19th, while en route to London he lost his life after his plane had crashed near Buc (Yvelines).
This afternoon, I am meeting Dennis Connolly and his wife Lillian who both knew him well.