Tricolour dropped on the Arc de Triomphe 194

In 1942 Acting Flight Lieutenant A K Gatward with Sergeant G F Fern flew a Bristol Beaufighter over the streets of Paris at the  level of third floor windows. They floated a Tricolour down on to the Arc de Triomphe in an audacious morale boosting exercise.

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Alfred Kitchener Gatward (known as Ken) was born in Hornsey in1914 and lived at 27 Meadway Southgate. He enlisted as air crew in 1937 and was commissioned in 1940.

During WW2 he was awarded the DSO, DFC and bar.

The citation for bar to the DFC in 1944 states he “has led the squadron with great skill and gallantry in many sorties. In July this year he participated in an operation which resulted in the destruction of an enemy convoy”

In August Wing Commander Gatward led the squadron in an attack in the Gironde area. During this operation his aircraft was repeatedly hit by anti-aircraft fire and sustained serious damage.

In the same edition of the Enfield Gazette that reports Acting Wing Commander Gatward’s Bar to the DFC there is another article about his brothers:

Lieutenant Douglas Gatward killed in Italy

Corporal Frederick Gatward, Royal Marines, missing presumed dead.

After the war a replica Tricolour was presented to Wing Commander Gatward. The ceremony took place in Broomfield Park. The Flag is now in Christ Church, Waterfall Road.

Presentation of the Tricolour  in 1949
Presentation of the Tricolour in 1949
Ken Gatward
Ken Gatward
Bristol Beaufighter drops a tricoleur on Arc de Triomphe
Artist’s impression of the Tricolour being dropped on Arc de Triomphe