ANNALS OF THE BREWSTER BUFFALO
Here's a great photo of six Brewster B339 fighters aboard the French aircraft carrier Bearn, as shown on the Belgian Wings website. The planes were ordered by Belgium in December 1939 in a desperate effort to upgrade its air force for the German invasion that was sure to come. The first Brewster came out of the factory in April 1940 and was immediately put on a ship for Belgium, but the German blitz over-ran the country before it arrived, so the freighter was diverted to Bordeaux, where it was eventually claimed by the Germans. (It turned up in Darmstadt in 1945, suggesting that the Luftwaffe had assembled and tested it.) Meanwhile, six more Brewsters were sent to Halifax in Canada and taken about the Bearn on June 16 in hopes that they would serve in the French air forces. Four days later, however, France surrendered, and the aircraft carrier was diverted to the French island of Martinique in the Caribbean, where the Brewsters were left to rot.
And here's one of the Brewsters, decaying under the Caribbean
sun. The Belgian government in exile tried to reclaim the aircraft, but
the French puppet government at Vichy never responded. The 33 remaining
Brewsters in the Belgian order were turned over to the Royal Air Force,
arriving in Britain in July and August 1940. Blue skies! --