French pilots to take part in commemorative bike ride for Appeal of 18 June
London, 11 June 2015
To mark the 75th anniversary of Charles de Gaulle’s Appeal of 18 June 1940, members of the French air force will take part in a commemorative bike ride from Bordeaux to London.
The bike ride will take place between 14 and 18 June and will include four stages. Beginning at Airbase 106 in Bordeaux, the 700-km route will head to bases in Cognac, Tours, Orléans and Évreux, retracing the steps of those pilots who left France to defend its freedom.
Colonel Olivier Célo, Commander of Airbase 106 said: “It seemed a natural decision to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Appeal of 18 June 1940, to remember not only General de Gaulle’s commitment to the national interest, but also that of the French servicemen who, in 1940, decided to resist and take up arms against the invader.”
The pilots will complete their journey on 17 June with a flight to London where they will be welcomed by their counterparts at the Royal Air Force and members of the air base at Northolt, which played a key role to support Free French forces during the Second World War.
A special ceremony attended by French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann and former Prime Minister François Fillon will then take place at Carlton Gardens, London, on 18 June at 9.30am, in front of the statue of General de Gaulle, near the old headquarters of Free France where he began his fight to liberate France.