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Master-Corporal Abel AUDOUX



Source : Mr Gilles AUDOUX, son of Master-Corporal Abel AUDOUX

His military career:

Abel Audoux was born on 25 September 1916 in Sillards, in the canton of Lussac-le-Chateaux (86 - Vienne).

An electrician by profession, he was incorporated with the 1936 class, and joined Base Aérienne 109 in Tours on 15 October 1937. He stayed there until February 1938, before being assigned to the 109 Air Base of Chateauroux with the status of student Aircraft Gunner. He will obtain the Military Brevet of Aircraft Gunner under the No 3197, certificate officially approved only on September 9th 1939.

On 1 September 1938, he joined the 2nd Squadron of the 31st Bombing Wing (GB I/31) with the rank of Corporal and the qualification of air gunner. He was ranked 1st in the NCO platoon and was appointed Master Corporal on 1st February 1939.

In August 1939, his unit moved to the Orleans airfield for training on modern aircraft.

On 9 September 1939, he took part in a sight reconnaissance mission aboard the Bloch MB 200 No122. The aircraft, attacked by German fighters, had to land in enemy lines: the crew was taken prisoner. Here is an account of the mission from the recollections of Sergeant Jean Cercueil, gunner in GB I/31 and who also took part in the mission (Source Mr Etienne CERCUEIL, his son):

"On September 9, 1939, 31 Wing flew its first air mission. Reconnaissance at sight, Pirmasens - Zweibrücken region. Three Bloch 200 take off around noon from Connantre.
1st crew (GB I/31) : Lcl Enslen, Wing Commander, Slt Béranger Pilot, Adc Charpentier obs.nav, Sgt Senot de la Londe and Cch Audoux machinegunners.
2nd crew (GB I/31): Lt Hirsch (1st squadron commander), Capt Villadier Off. de Rve, 1st group deputy commander, Adt Poilane pilot, (myself) Sgt Cercueil and Sgt de Catalano machine-gunners.
3rd crew (GB II/31): Maj. Delozanne Maj. the 2nd group, Lt Joly pilot, WO2 Petton obs.nav., Asp Charreyre and WO2 Gaillère gunners.
The lines are crossed at about 13:45 in the Saint Avold area. We were very quickly taken to task by the D.C.A., then, in the region of Pirmasens, by M.E. 109s. With de Catalano, we shot at the "7m/m5" on 3 of them, without much apparent result. The plane of Lcl Enslen and that of Cdt Delozanne are shot down in Germany. The Enslen crew is taken prisoner, the Delozanne crew is killed. We return on one engine and end the adventure in a beet field between Haudiomont and Manheulles, about ten kilometres east of Verdun.
From then on, the Bloch 200s will no longer be used during the day, but at night for leaflet launches on the Rhineland and the Palatinate. About ten missions of this kind will be carried out before Christmas 1939, and two crews will not return".

Master Corporal Abel AUDOUX was therefore taken prisoner with the other members of the crew of Bloch MB 200 No122.

The beginning of the detention is, to say the least, unusual. Mr Gilles AUDOUX remembers the details told by his father:

"As the photos show, relations between prisoners and guards seem very cordial. This was the case for a few days. Extracted from the plane crash-landed and at the simple request of the Germans, our prisoners (except for Senot de la londe) had given up their handguns which they were equipped with. No palpation(s), no search(s), total confidence... Lodged in a hotel with a simple guard as a guard at the foot of the establishment, exhibited every day (behind a barbed-wire fence) to the population who travelled by bus to see them, the first days of "confinement" went rather well. Then the idea came up to present them more officially to the German population during a parade through the streets of the town... New question: "Do you have any weapons?" Colonel Enslen intervened to advise his crew to give their pistols away if they did not. This made Senot de la Londe, who had to endure "some" brutality, no doubt linked to the retrospective fear of the geoliers. This was the end of the "friendly" period.

Master Corporal Abel AUDOUX was repatriated on medical grounds and demobilised on 23 March 1941 in Toulon.

But his engagement did not stop there: he joined the resistance on May 25th 1944 under the orders of Lt-Colonel "La Chouette" (Vienne). He then joined the "Robert" Group (Vienne) on 14 August 1944, then was engaged for the duration of the war at 125° RI. and posted to Montmorillon.

He joined the Ecole des cadres from February to March 1945. Recalled to the air force on 20 March 1945 to the "CRAP 213" (?) in Tours then assigned to the CPID (?) Saint/buron on 24 May 1945.