Olivier Le Floch – French WWII aviation enthusiast, archivist, investigator and author extraordinaire!
Olivier is a French amateur historian who has devoted many long hours researching the actions, locations and stories of the American 367th Fighter Group, which was based at Stoney Cross and Ibsley between April and July 1944. In August 2017 Olivier visited the FONFA Museum with his family (below) on 25th August, exactly 73 years to the day after the USAF 367th Fighter Group’s massive dogfight with the Luftwaffe.
We started publishing The Olivier LeFloch Newsletters in July 2016. They are published every two months – see the headline link on our home page. The USAF 367th Fighter Group, and all interested aviation enthusiasts and historians, have benefited from an excellent book written by Richard Groh, entitled ‘The Dynamite Gang – The 367th Fighter Group in World War II’. This book was published in English in 1983 by Charm Publications, Woburn, MA, USA, “through the contributions of the 367th Fighter Group Association”. It has now been out of print for many years and will not be reprinted. Copies have been lodged with the major Aviation Museums in the USA and UK, for future research purposes, together with video and audio historical records of the Group’s activities in WWII. In addition, FONFA is privileged to have one of these record packs.
In more recent years, French enthusiasts, headed by Olivier Le Floche and including Jean-Luc Gruson and Jean Pierre Gruson, have carried out extensive research into the airfields, crash sites and other locations in France, associated with the Group. They have developed a series of Newsletters, through correspondence with Association members and their families, and via local investigations in France.
These electronic Newsletters follow on from those paper newsletters previously circulated to Association members by the late Capt. Jack Curtis, 394th Fighter Squadron pilot and former Secretary/Treasurer of the Group Association, detailing specific incidents. These contained a wealth of detail, including even the names of German pilots shot down by 367th aircraft, and who shot them down, in major confrontations!
Olivier’s Newsletters chronicle general information and individual stories of the pilots, their families and supporting ground crew members. They contain many previously unpublished photographs and many new photographs taken in France, including recent aerial shots of the airfield sites, both used by and attacked by the 367th Fighter Group aircraft.
He started writing and distributing these Newsletters to the Group Association members and other interested parties, in 2002. There have now been 12 Newsletters and more are in preparation. Olivier has graciously given FONFA permission to publish these on the website and as hard copy in our Museum and Education Centre. For giving us and our visitors access to this invaluable and unique archive material, we are most grateful to him.
The Newsletters and all of their contents, including all photographs, remain the copyright of Olivier LeFloche in their entirety and may not be copied, stored in any retrieval system, redistributed or published in any way without his express prior permission.
Dr Henry Goodall, Chairman of Trustees, FONFA