Monday, 17 June 1940

Merignac aerodrome, Bordeaux

General de Gaulle is rescued by air from Bordeaux in a D.H.89 Dragon Rapide loaned to General Spears on Churchill’s orders. It lands at Jersey to refuel, where General de Gaulle first samples what the British belive passes for coffee. The aircraft is probably from No. 24 Squadron, but the squadron Operations Record Book does not record this operation. After the war a 24 Squadron pilot, F/Lt E.B. Fielden, claims to have been the pilot, and is interviewed by General Spears, whose findings are inconclusive.

Nantes, France

From Nantes, Air Marshal Barratt despatches W/Cdr Duncan Grinnell-Milne, MC, DFC*, a liaison officer attached to the French Air Force, ‘to deliver letters of assurance to the French air marshals that Britain was determined to continue fighting to the end, and that the end was victory.’ He is also given a W/T set and codes so that he may continue to act as liaison with General Vuillemin, Chief of the Air Staff, on the assumption that France will continue fighting from North Africa. This is a forlorn hope: five days earlier, fearful of Italian retaliation, Vuillemin had thwarted Operation Haddock, the RAF’s bombing of Italy by Wellingtons from a temporary base in France, by ordering the runways at Marseille to be blocked by lorries.
Air Marshal Barratt also detaches his driver and interpreter Sgt Schneidau on a special mission to escort the British Ambassador, currently with the French Government in Bordeaux, to the coast for safe embarkation at the appropriate time. Air Marshal Barratt then leaves Nantes for England by air at 1830. Sgt Schneidau leaves Nantes for Bordeaux at 0430 the following morning.

RAF Llandow, Wales

Whitley No P5029 is taken on charge by No. 38 Maintenance Unit before being sent to an operational squadron.