31.07.

1944: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Author of “The Little Prince”, Disappears over Nazi Territory

1944: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Author of “The Little Prince”, Disappears over Nazi Territory
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 31 July 1944
  • On this day he took off from the island of Corsica on a solo military reconnaissance mission towards the French coast occupied by Germany during World War II. He never came back. What happened to his plane and what fate befell him remains a mystery.

On this day the famous writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry disappeared over the Mediterranean while flying his military plane on a reconnaissance mission during World War II.

The famous author of “The Little Prince” was a pilot of the Free French Air Force during World War II. These were the French who were inclined to Charles de Gaulle and refused to cooperate with the Nazi occupiers.

It is interesting that Saint-Exupéry was of aristocratic origin; his father had the title of a French count. He started flying when he was approximately 21 years old and then joined the French Air Force.

He gained a lot of flying experience in his postal flights across the Sahara, from France to Dakar, and later in Argentina. At that time he also began to write books.

When attempting to break the France-Vietnam flight speed record, he crashed in Egypt, straight into the desert. He was on the verge of death when he was saved by a Bedouin on a camel.

During World War II, he desperately wished to fly for the Allies, despite his injuries and advanced age. He was already 43 years old, which was eight years over the age limit for pilots.

However, he managed to get a special permission from General Dwight D. Eisenhower (the future American president), so he was able to fly military missions. He was assigned to an American Lockheed P-38 Lighting airplane.

On this day he took off from the island of Corsica on a solo military reconnaissance mission towards the French coast occupied by Germany during World War II.

He never came back. The French invested a lot of effort to find the wreckage of his plane somewhere in the sea. Why his plane crashed and where exactly he ended up remains a mystery.

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