Marcel Albert, 92, passed away Monday, August 23, 2010 at his residence in Harlingen, TX. Marcel was born and raised in Paris, France. He had a mechanical bent and after high school went to work for Renault building gear boxes. He developed an interest in flying and was accepted for military pilot training. In 1938 as a sergeant he began to fly. Albert earned his pilots badge flying biplanes and then was sent to Istres for advanced training. In 1939 his flying skill led to a post at the Centre Instruction Chasse at Chartres where he flew fighters, including the French built Bloch 152, Morance Saulnier 406 and the American built Curtis Hawk 75. In 1940, he was posted to flying France's newest fighter the Dewontine 520. On May 10 the Germans invaded France and May 13 the squadron entered action where he eventually served in three different air forces. On May 14, Albert shot down a Dornier 17 bomber. Later in the day he shot down a Messercshmitt ME 109 but it was not confirmed. The French government soon sent his squadron to North Africa. When the Vichy French forces came into conflict with the RAF, Albert decided to fly to freedom and soon he and two other pilots flew to Gibraltar and surrendered their aircraft. After 4 attempts to reach England by ship, Albert made it and was thrown into jail! He was soon released and joined the RAF. Albert flew 47 missions with the RAF. Albert was soon leading his squadron as a sous lieutenant. In June 1943, he scored his first victory in Russia. As the Soviet army pushed the Germans west, Albert's score steadily rose. In recognition of his combat and leadership abilities, he became one of the few foreigners ever to receive the USSR's highest award for valor, the Gold Star and title "Hero of the Soviet Union". At wars end he finally was promoted to Captain with 23 confirmed victories during 262 combat missions. In 1946 at a test center while practicing for an air show, he crashed but was not seriously injured. He was then sent to Czechoslovakia as Air Attaché. In Prague, he met his future wife, an American who worked at the US Embassy. Albert soon left the military and in 1948 with his wife, he moved to the United States where he managed a chain of restaurants. Albert was a former resident of Chipley, and in 2008 moved to Harlingen, TX.
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Funeral services were held, August 30th, 2010 at graveside in Wachob-Forest Lawn Cemetery in Chipley with the Rev. George Sammut officiating. Brown Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Friends and family may sign the online register at www.brownfh.net.
Brown Funeral Home
1068 Main St.
Chipley, FL 32428
Published in Washington County News and Holmes County Times-Advertiser on Sept. 1, 2010