TV CREWS will be at the Yorkshire Air Museum near York this week to film the north of England version of a programme looking at the life of French airman Rene Mouchotte.

Former BBC newsreader Jan Leeming will join the museum’s director Ian Reed for the filming of Searching For Rene, which tells the story of the research into the “famous but obscure” flyer, who escaped execution in France in 1940, joined the RAF and became the first non-British leader of one of their squadrons.

He flew Spitfires from Biggin Hill and shot down the 1,000th enemy plane in 1942 before being killed while protecting Allied bombers which were attacking German V2 rocket sites.

Jan sponsored the names of relatively unknown French airmen on the Foxley Norris Wall of Remembrance at Capel le Fern and began a three-year research project which led her to approach the museum for help when she heard about its French in York Festival, commemorating airmen from the country who were stationed in York during wartime.

Mr Reed uncovered previously unseen film footage to help her search and arranged for Mouchotte’s unclaimed war medals to be struck and presented to his family at a Paris ceremony attended by RAF and French Air Force chiefs. Searching for Rene will be screened on BBC1 on February 28.