Last pilot in French-Russian anti-Nazi squadron buried

AP News
Posted: Feb 22, 2017 7:15 AM

CANNES, France (AP) — Russian and French dignitaries are paying their respects to the last pilot in a storied French-Soviet squadron that fought the Nazis on the eastern front together in World War II.

A funeral ceremony is being held Wednesday in Cannes for Col. Gael Taburet, who died Feb. 10 at age 97.

Created by French resistance leader Charles de Gaulle, the Normandy-Niemen order flew 5,240 missions targeting Nazi forces from 1942-1945 from its base near Moscow. Of its 96 pilots, 42 died in combat.

Born Nov. 12, 1919 in western France, Taburet joined in 1944, according to the Normandy-Niemen Memorial near Paris. He later served with the French air force in Algeria, then left the military for a management career.

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