Last Belgian military pilot to fly on D-Day passes away aged 99
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Last Belgian military pilot to fly on D-Day passes away aged 99

Credit: Belga

The last Belgian military pilot to fight in the Belgian squadron of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) has passed away at 99 years old, the Belgian Air Force announced on Thursday.

“With sadness, the Belgian Air Force bids farewell to Belgium’s last surviving WWII Spitfire fighter pilot. Blue skies forever,” the Air Force tweeted.

Joseph “Jeff” Moureau was born in Jette, Brussels on 13 April 1921 and joined the RAF as a pilot together with his twin brother Alfred, qualifying on the Spitfire after lengthy training.

Spitfires were “the most widely produced and strategically important British single-seat fighter of World War II,” according to Britannica and were used by the RAF until the early 1950s.

The brothers were both deployed in the 349th squadron, which was mainly made up of Belgian aviators.

The 349th Belgian Squadron also tweeted about Moureau’s passing, saying that “he was a true fighter pilot, a genuine WWII hero and above all, a great man,” adding a quote by Moureau that “we are not pilots, we are hunters.”

Moureau shot down a German Junker Ju88 bomber on D-Day. He later recalled how “at one point we were flying three aircraft side by side. One German and two Belgians. We dove down horizontally at the same time. My companion said to me: ‘I have no more ammunition, this one is for you.”

Moureau went on to join Sobelair, a Belgian airline that operated from 1946 to 2004, and then Sabena, where he flew for over 30 years.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times