Monday, June 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry(29 June 1900—31 July 1944) was a French writer and aviator. He is most famous for his novella The Little Prince, and is also well known for his books about aviation adventures, including Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars.

He was a successful commercial pilot pre-war, joining the Armée de l'Air (French Air Force) on the outbreak of war, flying reconnaissance missions until the armistice with Germany. Following a spell writing in the United States, he joined the Free French Forces. He went missing on a reconnaissance flight over the Mediterranean in July 1944.

In 1998, a fisherman named Jean-Claude Bianco found a silver identity bracelet bearing the names of Saint Exupéry and his wife Consuelo and his publishers, Reynal & Hitchcock, hooked to a piece of fabric, presumably from his flight suit.

In 2000, a diver named Luc Vanrell found a P-38 Lightning crashed in the seabed off the coast of Marseille. The remains of the aircraft were recovered in October 2003. On 7 April 2004, investigators from the French Underwater Archaeological Department confirmed that the plane was, indeed, Saint Exupéry's F-5B reconnaissance variant.

No marks or holes attributable to gunfire were found, however this was not considered significant as only a small portion of the aircraft was recovered. In June 2004, the fragments were given to the Museum of Air and Space in Le Bourget.

The location of the crash site and the bracelet are less than 80km by sea from where the unidentified French soldier was found in Carqueiranne, and it remains plausible, but has not been confirmed, that the body was carried there by ocean currents after the crash over the course of several days.



Ash Fox said...

the little prince is one of my favorites! very interesting info.


The Wanderers' Daughter said...

Heart of my heart. I love that man.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

He made a wonderful contribution to the world, didn't he?
Happy Birthday indeed.

smith kaich jones said...

Happy birthday Antoine wherever you are. You are responsible for the love of my life, who said to me 24 years ago, while I was in art school, agonizing over a drawing, that he would just ask me to draw him a sheep. Aaaah, I thought, you understand. And he does.

:) Debi

A Cuban In London said...

Happy birthday indeed! Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Annie Coe said...

I love that book so much. Bless him.

nath said...

Saint Expury Le Petit Prince is part of so many kids' childhood. That story is just delight...