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2nd Class - André PERTON


Source (Photos and biography) :
- Mr Christophe PERTON, fils de André PERTON
- Extraits d'un article de Mme Aline DURET : "Portrait de André PERTON" dans "J'habite nos quartiers"


His life:

André PERTON was born on November 16, 1915 in Montrond le Chateau in the Doubs department (25)

From his childhood, a passion, Aviation.
At the age of 15, André PERTON made his first flight. Enthusiastic, and attracted by the planes, he starts to fly at the Aero-Club of Besançon, having acquired his radio telegraphist licence.

September 1939:
Beginning of the Second World War... and of an unusual meeting.
Mobilized in September 1939, he is assigned to the GR II/33 based in Nancy. While he was a radio navigator in this unit, Mr PERTON met Saint-Exupéry who was at the time a Reserve Captain. The awkwardness and shyness that reigned at the beginning of their collaboration was very quickly dissolved by the sincerity and simplicity of Saint-Exupéry. The friendship that brings men together in the face of danger made them forget the differences between them.
"Saint-Exupéry refused to accept any kind of salvation", underlines Mr PERTON. "He wanted a certain simplicity...".
Mr PERTON collaborated with Saint-Exupéry during the beginning of the war in a crew of three. Flying on board a Bloch MB174, they mainly carried out reconnaissance missions either at altitude (11,000m) or at low altitude.
The latter (carried out at 5 metres above the ground) could not be undertaken without a certain will and immense courage, and Mr PERTON added: "We were doing suicide missions, many of my friends did not come back...".
Courage was undoubtedly one of the main characteristics of these men: Mr PERTON tells us how Saint-Exupéry imagined this human quality: "Courage is, he said, getting out of bed, crossing the cold room and throwing a match into the fire...".
MR PERTON made his last flight with Saint-Exupéry in July 1940 while they were on a mission in Algeria.
For his involvement in the fighting during the Phoney War and the French Campaign, André PERTON was cited to the Order of the Air Wing on 27 June 1940: see citation in the documents below
On his return to France, he worked for the maquis until 1944, where he carried out high-tech work, given his radio skills

The post-war period: always adventure and risk.
In 1950, Mr PERTON worked in an airline in Lyon as a Radio-Navigator. Wanting to create a family, he then took a sedentary job at Gramont. But it was short-lived. After being dismissed from I.T.T., he set up a fishing company in Black Africa. In 1973, he tried to set up a business in South America. He had to give up his project for lack of capital. Today, Mr PERTON lives in Lyon, where, paradoxically, he "does nothing". Together with his son, he owns a restaurant in Civrieux d'Azergue, but was forced to sell it due to illness.

At 66 years old, he still has the same passion: flying...
Mr PERTON, at 66, is full of energy and vitality: this man with exceptional qualities remains very simple in his words.
As we have seen, he has had an eventful life and he has expressed the wish to fly again on board this plane which fascinates him so much: "Le concorde".
It was thanks to the help of Michel Noir that Mr PERTON could realise his dream. Indeed, thanks to his approach, the management of Air France and the Minister of Transport, Mr HOEFFEL answered favourably to his request.
Mr PERTON left on 24 March for Rio, on board the "Concorde". André PERTON died on 9 May 1986 at the age of 71