HENRY LAFONT

A signed, handwritten letter dated 1996 in Fine condition

Signed by Colonel Henry Lafont

  • Price: £ 25

Henry Lafont was a French Battle of Britain pilot with 615 Squadron

Lafont was born in 1920. Attracted by flying, he obtained his pilot’s licence and in November 1938 entered the Armée de l’Air flying school at Istres. When the Armistice was signed on 22 June 1940, Lafont was just finishing a course at the Fighter School at La Sénia airfield near Oran, Algeria. He refused to accept the Armistice with Germany. With five other servicemen, including René Mouchotte and Charles Guérin, he escaped from Oran to join the Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres.

They escaped by flying a twin-engine Caudron Goéland transport aircraft, surviving a takeoff with sabotaged propellers locked in coarse pitch, to Gibraltar, navigating with the aid of a school atlas. The group joined the Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres in June 1940 arriving in Britain in mid-July.

After 15 hours on Tiger Moths and Hectors, he converted to Hurricanes and joined No. 245 Squadron at Aldergrove on 11 September. On 18 September, Lafont was attached to No. 615 Squadron RAF at Prestwick and moved south with 615 to Northolt on 9 October, participating in the latter stages of the Battle of Britain flying Hurricanes. He claimed Bf.109s ‘probably destroyed’ on 26 February 1941 and on 15 March.

In May 1941, he was posted to 59 OTU as an instructor and trained more than 60 French pilots. He later joined the Groupe de Chasse n°1 “Alsace” (later incorporated into No. 341 Squadron RAF), which was formed in the Middle East and took part convoy patrols during the campaign in Libya.

Wounded on 27 June 1942, he returned to action in January 1943, flying fighter operations over the Western Front. He finished the war flying Spitfires and had completed 230 operational missions.

He also won the Croix de Guerre with three palms and the Cross for Military Valour. He left the air force in 1966 with the rank of colonel