Christian Martell (1914-1945)
Commandant (Lucien Montet) Martell D.F.C., etc., French Resistance Fighter Ace
He was born at Saint-Étienne in the Loire, France. His real name was Lucien Montet, but as was common with French Resistance fighters he took another name to protect his family still in France. In 1937, he was the Sergeant-Major at the Étampes Air School near Paris. When war broke out in 1939, he was transferred to the Salon-de-Provence Air Base. His first attempt to escape Nazi-occupied France failed in November, 1940. But, he eventually managed to reach London in March, 1942. From England, he undertook missions on behalf of the Central Bureau of Information & Action of the Free French Forces (B.C.R.A.) and was parachuted back into France that May where he was tasked with setting up an escape network for Allied pilots. He returned to England in January, 1943, and joined the Free French Fighter Squadron (No. 341), commanding the "Strasbourg" group. He won his first aerial victory on May 25th of that year, the first of six confirmed kills. In December, he took command of the "Alsace" group. On January 25, 1945, he married the Hon. Audrey Paget, who was "engaged on special duities with the W.A.A.F." Seven months later, he was killed over the village of Ouston in County Durham when his engine failed. He is buried at the famous Père-Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. He was highly decorated: Officier de la Légion d'Honneur; Compagnon de la Libération; Croix de Guerre (9 citations); Médaille de la Résistance avec Rosette; Distinguished Flying Cross (U.K.); Silver Star (U.S.A.); and, the Air Medal (U.S.A.). He died without children.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 30/06/2020 and last updated on 30/06/2020.