The Airmen’s Stories – F/O N leC Agazarian
Noel le Chevalier Agazarian was born on 26th December 1916 to an Armenian father and French mother. The family comprised four boys and two girls, of these three boys would serve in the RAF and one girl with the Air Transport Auxiliary. This may be connected with the fact that in childhood their garden held a WW1-surplus Sopwith Pup, bought by their father.
Noel was the third of the four brothers to be educated at Dulwich College. A fine athlete, he left from the Modern VI and went up to Wadham College, Oxford in 1935, taking an Honours degree in Jurisprudence in 1938. Agazarian was in the University Air Squadron and after coming down he joined the RAFVR and was commissioned in February 1939.
Called up at the outbreak of war, he went to 3 ITW Hastings in October, where he met future Battle airman Richard Hillary, who described him as ‘cosmopolitan by nature, intelligent and a brilliant linguist’. In November both men were posted to 15 FTS Lossiemouth. With the course completed they went to No.1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum in early May 1940 for further training. On 23rd June Agazarian went to 5 OTU Aston Down and, after converting to Spitfires, he joined 609 Squadron at Warmwell.
His first victory came on 11th August 1940 when he destroyed a Me110. On the 12th Agazarian shot down two Me109’s and damaged a Me110. He shared in the destruction of another Me110 on the 25th. There were no further victories until the last week of September. Agazarian shared a He111 on the 25th, destroyed a Me109 and damaged two Do17’s on the 26th, shot down a Me110 on the 27th and damaged a He111 on the 30th. Another Me109 was destroyed on 15th October.
Agazarian’s final victory with 609 came on 2nd December when he shared a Do17 off Southampton with F/O Nowierski of 609.
Having volunteered for the Middle East, Agazarian was posted there in late January 1941 and joined 274 Squadron on 6th April at Amriya in the Western Desert. He shot down a Me109 over Tobruk on 1st May 1941 but on the 16th he was shot down and killed when 274 was intercepted by Me109’s over Gambut.
Agazarian is buried in Knightsbridge War Cemetery, Acroma, Libya.
Above cemetery images courtesy of The War Graves Photographic Project
His Spitfire from 1940, R6915, is now in the Imperial War Museum in London. Agazarian’s portrait was done by Cuthbert Orde in 1940 (below).
His brother Jack went from the RAF to SOE, but was betrayed and captured in France. He was tortured for six months at Fresnes prison before being sent to Flossenberg concentration camp, where he was executed on 29th March 1945.