Charles de Gaulle and Edward Spears

Rédigé par Alain dans la rubrique Le coin du collectionneur

An original photo of généraux Charles de Gaulle and Edward Spears taken in London in June 1940.

Spears accompanied de Gaulle on his infamous flight from Bordeaux to London in the morning of 17th June 1940. Accounts differ as to exactly what took place, Spears saying in his memoires that he had hauled de Gaulle into the plane as it was preparing to take off. De Gaulle's version is that he had planned the night before his decision to leave France and to return in the plane which had been put at his disposal by the British.  

Early in the morning of the 17th June, the plane with its three passengers, de Gaulle, his aide-de-camp Geoffrey de Courcel and Edward Spears, took off from the aerodrome at Mérignac-Bordeaux. It flew over La Rochelle, continued up the Atlantic coast and over Brittany where de Gaulle's elderly mother was dying. The plane landed at Jersey to refuel and Spears went and got a coffee for de Gaulle. He took a sip and said that he hadn't asked for tea. Spears replied that's not tea that's coffee ! After refuelling they took off and landed at Heston, an aerodrome on the outskirts of London.

That evening in London de Gaulle was asked about his mission. He replied that he was not on a mission, he was here to save the honour of France. Later the same evening he met with Churchill who offered him the facilities at the BBC to broadcast his "appel du 18 juin".