FAQ 4 – What happened to the French Comets F-ANPY and F-ANPZ?
FAQ 4 : The Fate of The French dH88 Comets F-ANPY and F-ANPZ – Les Commettes
After the MacRobertson Air Race of 1934, for which three dH88 Comets were built, only two more were ever produced. There was a new one for the French Government who also took the converted G-ACSR, the Green Comet. The new build was designated F-ANPZ and G-ACSR designated F-ANPY. Intended as mail carriers and perhaps, as a spur to the French Aviation sector, they had solid nose cones for holding mail, though these were later converted for example for navigational or radio aids.
There is a much promoted and popular myth that both French Comets were destroyed in a hangar fire at Istres in June 1940, this is even extended to them being deliberately destroyed to stop them falling into the hands of the invading Germans. This makes no sense as Istres was in Vichy France and there is little evidence of destruction of property, and much to the contrary. Most web searches promote this myth using Wikipedia (Now Revised) as a common source. “F-ANPY was destroyed in a hangar fire, alongside F-ANPZ, at Istres in France in June 1940.” The evidence for the location of both Comets was taken from Paul Badre their pilot, but an examination by Phillipe Ricco of his logbooks show that this was not the case. The fate of F-ANPY, in very poor condition at the last, and F-ANPZ is now established.
There is now the clear photographic evidence of F-ANPY and F-ANPZ being at Etampes at the time of the arrival of the Germans on 16th June 1940. Three photographs show F-ANPY and one shows the other end of the hangar and is used to confirm the Etampes location. A recent new series of photos shows both together possibly being dismantled. The story remains open to investigation, of course, but from this evidence is clear, both French DH88 Comets came to rest at Etampes in 1940. Their final fate after that remains open to further investigation.