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Sergeant Marcel CHARBONNIER


Source (Photos and documents) : Mrs Josyane ROUSSEL, Daughter of Sergeant Marcel CHARBONNIER

Marcel CHARBONNIER was born on 1 September 1914 in Lyon and died in March 2006 in Lyon
He was holder of the Second World War cross, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Officer of the National Order of Merit, Military Medal and War Cross.

Sergeant CHARBONNIER got married shortly before the War, on 29 July 1939, to Mrs Henriette MEUNIER. From this union, a daughter, Josyane, was born on 20 September 1941.

Marcel CHARBONNIER was called up for military service in October 1935, and was posted to the Algerian Air Force Base No201.
In February 1936, he joined the 2nd Air Company, Park Service. In October 1936, Sergeant Marc CHARBONNIER was posted to the 13th Air Company of Rochefort, until its dissolution in January 1937. He was then transferred to the Rochefort Air Base. He was appointed Master Corporal in February 1937.
On February 19, 1937, he signed an engagement cancellable for one year as from October 25, 1937. He was posted to the 35th Wing in Lyon in August 1937.

During a reconnaissance flight in the night of December 2nd to 3rd 1939, the Amiot 143 No110 hit the ground in the "La Joux" Forest (Jura) because of the fog.
The crew is killed except for Sergeant CHARBONNIER, who is ejected at 35 meters altitude when the aircraft hits the trees.
- Sub-Lieutenant Roger LE BRUN - Chief of Crew
- Sergeant Armand PASQUIER - Pilot
- Staff-Sergeant Robert FAUCARD - Machine-Gunner
- Sergeant Gérard MOISSELIN - Machine-Gunner

Here is an extract from Sergeant Charbonnier's account, interspersed with comments from Mme Roussel, his daughter:
"We were lost in the fog, we followed the railway line to get our bearings, then....tunnel...then the descent of the plane after losing an engine and the fall on the President fir,(the highest in the Forêt de la Joux), the moment I switched on my headlamp and finally the shock on the ground. Barking of dogs in the distance, which came closer" (no doubt accompanied by farmers: Then the big white hole, and, weeks, or months (?) later, waking up surrounded by the horns of the good sisters of the Hospital of Pontarlier who twirled around him, and ended up convincing him to learn the hymns because his deep voice made the stained glass windows of the chapel vibrate on Sundays!).
The military funeral was delayed because my father's death still hadn't arrived and the aim was to bury everyone at the same time, and incidentally move the brass and the Mayor of Pontarlier only once...¨

Not much else from his career, apart from the very beautiful women of Saigon and King Bao Dai of Cambodia whom he had frequently transported on board his "taxi". Thus passes a life..... and I do not even mention his years at the Ministry of Air (SMAA..) at the end of his career where he never really felt at home.
The circle was closed in Lyon, back to the origins, where the mass of his funeral took place, on the advice of a General friend at the Val de Grâce, in the Chapel of the Desgenettes Hospital, with the Veterans holding the Flags, a very moving scene.
Marcel CHARBONNIER ended his career with the rank of Major