THE French flag is flying over a landmark York building ahead of the arrival in the city of the Tour de France, to mark a wartime alliance.

Ian Reed, director of the Yorkshire Air Museum raised the French standard over the former council offices at St Leonard’s Place because the Grand Départ coincides exactly with the 70th anniversary of the formation of the two French Squadrons of RAF Bomber Command.

These squadrons, for which 2.300 French personnel were stationed at Elvington, wre one of the most significant links between France and York and the region as a whole.

346 Guyenne Squadron and 347 Tunisie Squadron’s carried out their first combined operations on July 1, 1944, bombing targets in their own homeland.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Yorkshire Air Museum has commissioned a series of events in the city including La Grand Soirée des Officiers Français, taking place in the De Grey Rooms ballroom on the evening of Wednesday, July 2.

Tickets are going fast, but some are still available at £80 each from the council on: 01904 554100 or

Meanwhile in the early hours of Saturday, a Hawker Hurricane aircraft from the Yorkshire Air Museum will be placed on the roof of the café of York Theatre Royal to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the French Air Force arriving in York.