"We are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the allied forces' landing in Normandy. However, we should remember that this landing would have been impossible without the Russian victories in the battles of Stalingrad, Kursk, etc.," the mayor said at the opening ceremony of the new exposition in the museum of the legendary Normandie-Niemen squadron in Les Andelys.
"We should thank Russians not only for their contribution into our common victory over nazism but also for their readiness to receive our pilots and trust them the right to fight," Mr. Girard stressed.
"A few French pilots fought in Russia, but they were the best and kept the honor of France and its people," the mayor said.
The Normandie-Niemen museum in Les Andelys where Hero of the Soviet Union, pilot Marcel Lefevre lived and was buried deals with the squadron's glorious feats. The squadron accounted for 273 of the enemy planes.
Over 40 French pilots died like heroes fighting shoulder to shoulder with Russian warriors. The new exposition presents the remains of the Yak-40 of captain Paul Deforge's who took down three Nazi planes. The captain's fighter was shot down on August 31, 1943 near Yelnya. Two expeditions took the Yak-40 remains out of the marsh 80 kilometers away from Smolensk in 1991 and 1998. They were includes in the exposition of the Normandie-Niemen museum.