The Airmen's Stories - P/O A R I G Jottard
Alexis Rene Isidore Ghislain Jottard was serving in the Belgian Air Force before the war and when Belgium was overrun he escaped to France and flew with the Armee de l'Air.
In June 1940 he was one of a group of Belgian pilots on aerodrome defence at Chartres and on the 3rd claimed a Do17 of 3/KG76 damaged.
On 20th June he and fellow Belgian Jean Offenberg took two Caudron Simouns and flew to Corsica, then to Phillipeville, Algeria, then to Oujda, where there was a Belgian training school. Finding morale there to be low the two took a train to Casablanca. Here they met some other Belgians, who were trainee pilots, and some Poles. The Poles had permission to sail that evening in a cargo boat for Gibraltar. The Belgians and some French airmen slipped aboard with them. They transferred to a British ship at Gibraltar and disembarked at Liverpool on 16th July 1940.
Jottard was commissioned in the RAF and sent to 6 OTU, Sutton Bridge on the 30th where he converted to Hurricanes. On 17th August he joined 145 Squadron at Westhampnett.
He was shot down on 27th October by a Me109 five miles south-east of the Isle of Wight, in Hurricane P3167, and reported 'Missing'.
Jottard was 28. He is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial, Panel 8 and has a memorial grave in the Pelouse d'Honneur Cemetery at Evere, Brussels (below, left).
Above photograph courtesy of Dean Sumner
Photos and additional research courtesy of Andre Bar at www.bamfbamrs.be/RAF/index.htm