War Heritage Institute

The last Belgian pilot to have fought on D-Day passes away

Joseph "Jeff" Moureau, the last Belgian pilot to have fought in a Belgian squadron of the British Royal Air Force (RAF), has passed away at the age of 99, the Belgian Air Force announced on Thursday.

"With sadness, the Belgian Air Force bids farewell to Belgium’s last surviving World War II Spitfire fighter pilot,” it tweeted, adding, "Blue skies forever...".

Joseph Moureau was born in Jette (Brussels) on 13 April 1921 and travelled to Great Britain in 1940, with his twin brother Alfred. They both joined the RAF as pilots, qualifying on the Spitfire after lengthy training. They were deployed in the 349th Squadron, which was mainly made up of Belgian pilots.

On the day of Operation "Overlord", the Allied landing in Normandy on 6 June 1944, "Jeff" Moureau shot down a German Junker Ju88 bomber.

After the conflict, Joseph Moureau joined the civilian airline Sobelair before joining Sabena with his brother. He flew all the national airline's planes over a 30-year period.

He was buried this Friday at "a very private ceremony" in Strombeek, according to the association "Les Vieilles Tiges de l’Aviation belge".