||Historical note: on 31 July 1944, Saint-Exupéry was to fly a reconnaissance mission over the French coast in preparation for the Allied landings in the south of France. It was his ninth mission, even though he had initially only been authorised to fly five, since he was over the maximum age limit for a pilot. He took off at 8 a.m., with enough fuel for 6 hours in the air. At 1 p.m., there was no sign of his aircraft; by 2 p.m., all hope was lost. Commandant Saint-Exupéry never returned to base. In 1998, a fishing vessel off the Ile de Riou found an identity bracelet caught in one of its nets. The bracelet was carefully examined and authenticated as having belonged to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In the wake of this discovery, the search for his missing P-38 aircraft was stepped up; in 2003, the wreck of a P-38 was brought to the surface and authenticated by experts.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s identity bracelet is the symbol of a mystery that has been hotly debated. Now the Musée de La Poste is exhibiting the bracelet in its “Treasures” display case in the Museum’s airmail room.
As part of its overall partnership with the Saint-Exupéry-d’Agay Estate, the Rhône-Alpes region of La Poste had already been involved with the Saint-Exupéry Centenary. This event is a further illustration of that continuing partnership.
|the bracelet reads “Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Consuelo) – c/o Reynal & Hitchcock. 386, 4th Ave. NYC USA”. The address is that of Saint-Exupéry’s U.S. publishers.
The bracelet will be on display from 17 March to 16 May 2010, at the Musée de La Poste – 34 bd de Vaugirard Paris 15. Tel: 01 42 79 24 24 – www.ladressemuseedelaposte.fr