French Fighters 1935-1945
Caudron 714 – Dewoitine 520 – Morane Saulnier 406

This week’s The Curator’s Choice is going to be shorter than usual because it covers aircraft that we looked at only a couple weeks ago. They were French Fighters from the period around the Battle of France that had served with foreign air forces.

We’re coming back to them because, while I was researching and writing that installment of The Curator’s Choice I became aware of just how many French fighters there were in the aircraft of France Gallery and Fighter Aircraft Galleries. I’ve counted and there are over forty, which might tell you something about my interests as a historian and modeller. At the moment six of them at the moment are Dewoitine 520s representing various stages in the history of that aircraft, and there are seven Morane Salunier 406s which do the same thing to tell the story of that aircraft. And there are more to come.

To cut down on the clutter in the Main Galleries we’ve opened a Special Display gallery that will feature all the French Fighters that were flown between 1935 and 1945 in our collection. If there is only one example it can be found in both the Main Galleries and the Special Display Gallery. If there are currently more than one example of an aircraft in the Main Galleries you will soon only find one there and the rest in this new Special Display Gallery, with links so that you can still see them all easily.

The new gallery is called Special Displays – French Fighters 1935-1945

No doubt we will do the same thing for other aircraft which are duplicated in the Main Galleries, but we’ll focus on French Fighters first.

Here are the three French Fighters in service at the beginning of the Battle of France. Last time we picked them in foreign markings and colours, this time we have examples in French service. If you want to read more details about these aircraft go and have a look at The Curator’s Choice 37 – French Fighters in Foreign Service.

Caudron 714
This model represents a Caudron 714 of 2nd Escadrille, GC1/145 at Dreux in June 1940.

Dewoitine 520
This model represents Dewoitine 520 No80 of the 1st Escadrille GC I/3 serving with the Vichy Air Force around August 1940.


Morane Saulnier 406
This model represents a Morane Saulnier 406, number 846 (L875), of GC III/1 at Cambrai-Niergnies in June 1940.


Normal wanders around the Museum will return next week. I’m thinking about Electronic Warfare Aircraft, but we will see.