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Thread: Medal entitlement query.

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    Default Medal entitlement query.

    While researching the operational career of Sergent Chef Dominique Biaggi of 346 'Guyenne' Squadron (killed 10/9/44) I've come across a bit of a puzzle which neither the RAF Museum nor the Veteran's Agency can provide a definitive answer to.

    346 Squadron was equipped with Halifaxes and operated as part of 4 Group, Bomber Command. It seems the vast majority, if not all, of those serving with the Squadron were French.

    The query lies in medal entitlement. Would Sergent Chef Biaggi have been entitled to the campaign medals awarded to RAF personnel for service in the same period and the same theatre? I assume, had he been entitled, that those medals would be the 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with France and Germany clasp and the War Medal.

    Sergent Chef Biaggi does not appear as a member of the FAFL implying that he was simply a Frenchman serving in an RAF unit, albeit one of French origin.

    A further query is that he appears to have the Service Number of C3010 which I presume is very different to the standard RAF Service Number?

    Any help or advice at all would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears

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    hello,

    I'd like to point at that 346 and 347 Squadrons' personnel were not obviously "Free French" or F.A.F.L. if you want to use the French acronym. Some of the members were, but were indeed a very small minority. Actually the two Squadrons themselves are not "Free French". Bearing a cross of Lorraine doesn't make someone or a unit a member of the F.A.F.L.

    That said, don't jump to the conclusion he was a Frenchman in the R.A.F.. There were a few, but I've not found that many. A couple in the Middle east, at least one in U.K. (he flew Typhoons and was killed in a flying accident just when he became operational early in 1943).

    I don't have the particulars of SgC Biaggi, but to me he was simply a member of the Armée de l'air "reconstituée". That was the result of the amalgamation of the previous "Vichy Air Force" and of the "Free French Air Force" in the second half of 1943.

    Hope this clarifies a few points.

    Joss
    Last edited by jossleclercq; 21st July 2009 at 19:38.

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    Joss.

    Please accept my apologies if I have not made myself clear. I am trying very hard to understand the circumstances in which Sergent Chef Biaggi came to be with 346 Squadron. I will try and clarify things as I understand them and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

    My understanding is that Dominique Biaggi was somewhere in France in May 1940 but his activities are unknown. I am uncertain as to whether he was already a member of the French Armed Forces. He is recorded on this link http://www.francaislibres.net/liste/fiche.php?index=55508 as being engaged with the Free French in London in November 1942 if I am understanding this correctly? I presume this was in response to the occupation of the unoccupied zone following the Operation Torch landings? However, he remained in France, allegedly as a member of the Resistance, until leaving Marseille for North Africa in August of 1943 and then landing in Liverpool in September where he entered service with the RAF. Following two weeks at a transit camp at RAF West Kirby, he went to 3 PRC at Bournemouth and onward down the usual chain of Gunnery School, OTU, HCU and then to 346 Squadron. He appears to have a Service number of C3010 if that makes sense? He was killed on his fifteenth operation on the 10th of September 1944. Interestingly, while he was part of the raid on German defences at Octeville that day, my fiancee's Grandfather was on the outskirts of Octeville in a Churchill tank of the 79th Armoured Division.

    The information above comes from family anecdotes and from research carried out in France by a historian. I hopes that makes more sense than my original post?

    Once again, my apologies for any offence caused.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears

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    hello Kevin,

    There was no offense as far as I'm concerned. I know that the subtile difference between "French" and "Free French" can be difficult to understand, compared to other European occupied countries, like our Belgian neighbours which don't have this difference.

    I have already seen service numbers in the C.... series, but I know much more about the R.A.F. than about the Armée de l'air. I'll try to remember where I picked up some explanations about them. Most Free French are registered in the 30xxx series (but not all).

    There are some points which are puzzling me. I'm wondering if he may have joined first the "F.F.I." (Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur), in November 1942, staying in occupied France, then moving to North Africa and later Liverpool, becoming by then a member of the "Forces Françaises Libres". Anyway I know that some very knowledgable historians about the french heavies have helped the niece, so she now has a much better understanding of her uncle's career and loss.

    Joss

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    Hi Kevin,

    346 & 347 Sqdns were awarded British gallantry awards. From 'The Distinguished Flying
    Cross and How it was Won 1918-1995 - Nick & Carol Carter'

    346 Sqn D.F.C awards 62+
    347 Sqn D.F.C awards 63+

    From 'The Distinguished Flying Medal - A Record of Courage 1918-1982 I.T Tavender'

    346 Sqn D.F.M awards 8
    347 Sqn D.F.M awards 6

    Mark

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    Thanks very much for the responses, very helpful.

    Regards,

    Kevin Mears

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    Have had it confirmed today by the MOD Medal Office that C.3010 Sergent Chef Dominique Biaggi was entitled to the Croix de guerre, the Medaille Militaire, the 1939-45 Star, France & Germany Star and the War Medal.

    Thanks to everyone for their help. Apologies for not using the correct accents etc.

    regards,

    Kevin Mears

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