Fighter pilot who flew Soviet-built planes in duels with German aircraft on Eastern Front
Marcel albert, Second World War flying ace. Born: 25 November, 1917, in Paris. died: 23 august, 2010, in Harlingen, texas, aged 92.
MARcel Albert became one of the leading French fighter pilots of the Second World War, flying Soviet-built planes in duels with German aircraft on the eastern front.
Albert was among four pilots of the Free French’s Normandie-Niémen fighter unit to be decorated as a hero of the Soviet Union, receiving the citation in 1944.
Flying Yakovlev fighter planes – known as Yaks – in combat alongside Soviet pilots, he took part in shooting down 24 German planes. created by charles de Gaulle in 1942 to help repel hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Normandie-Niémen unit was composed of nearly 100 French fighter pilots, almost half of whom were killed in action.
According to the NormandieNiémen Museum in les Andelys, France, its pilots flew 5,240 missions and shot down at least 273 German planes.
Albert was a mechanic with Renault before joining the French Air Force in 1938. he was a fighter pilot during Germany’s invasion of France in May 1940, shooting down two German planes on a single day; he later flew in combat out of england.
he left military service in 1948 and went to the United States, where he opened a chain of hotels.
in November 2009, France’s ambassador to the United States, Pierre Vimont, went to Texas to present Albert with a medal recognising him as a grand officer in the Order of the legion of honor.
And just three months ago, Albert found that the Russians, too, had not forgotten his exploits in the skies over the Soviet Union and eastern Germany.
he received a visit from Russia’s consul general in houston, Nicolay Babich, who presented him with a commemorative medal struck for the 65th anniversary of the Second World War’s end in europe.
Babich also took a bottle of vodka as a gift from the Russian people.
At that time, Albert commented on how the sacrifices of wartime had proved their worth.
“The world isn’t in trouble at all,” he said. “The world has already been stable for over 50 years.”
But his nephew, Jean Mavinger, said that he rarely spoke of his wartime experiences.
Mavinger added: “All his friends died in Russia.”
Marcel Albert’s wife died last year. The couple had no children but he is survived by a sister.