The Airmen's Stories - Adj. P M Blaize
Pierre Michel Blaize was born at Saint Leocadie, SW of Perpignan, on 1st November 1915. His parents were Henri Sauveur Blaize and Catherine Colombe Marie Blaize (nee Bigorre).
He joined the French Air Force in August 1935 and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1936. At some time in 1939 he married Andréa Albertine Jean.
In March 1940 he was posted as an instructor to Meknes, French Morocco and was there when the French campaign ended.
Disobeying orders to remain at the base, Blaize and Georges Perrin, also a future Battle of Britain airman, planned to escape to England. They took the personal aircraft of the base commandant, a Caudron Goeland, and flew it to Gibraltar along with two other pilots. They sailed from there on 3rd July in the armed trawler President Houduce, and reached Liverpool on the 13th.
(Above: Pierre (left) with his brother Georges, who was killed on 22nd September 1941 serving with Free French forces in Malta (see below))
Blaize went to RAF St. Athan in late July for induction, moving to No.1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum on 30th July. On the 9th August he commenced a week's flying in Tiger Moths and Hectors at Odiham and then went to 5 OTU Aston Down on the 18th.
After converting to Hurricanes, Blaize joined 111 Squadron at Drem on 9th October. Promoted to Warrant Officer on 1st September 1940, Blaize was still serving with 111 Squadron in mid-March 1941 when he was posted to 615 Squadron at Kenley to replace Henri Bouquillard, a French pilot who had been shot down and killed.
On 15th April, during a patrol over the Pas de Calais, Blaize fell behind the squadron for some unknown technical reason. He was attacked from the rear by two Me109s and his aircraft badly damaged. Blaize baled out from Hurricane IIa Z2694 about ten miles from the English coast. His descent was covered right down to the sea by one of his squadron. Blaize was seen to release himself from his parachute before shortage of fuel dictated that the 615 Squadron aircraft return to base.
When rescue craft arrived at the spot only the parachute was found.
A captured He115 floatplane was used by the RAF Kalafrana Flight, it failed to return from an operational flight on 22nd September 1941. Sub/Lt. RG Drake RN, F/Sgt. G Blaize (Free French), F/Sgt. R Gatien (Free French) were all reported Missing.
(Above: the Blaize brothers are commemorated in their home town)
(Above image courtesy of www.aerosteles.net)