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Benno–Claude Vallières

Benno Claude Vallières, né Bention Grébelsky, was born on July 28, 1910 in Soroca (Romania, now Moldova).

After graduating from the Sup’Aero aerospace engineering school in 1932, he went to work at Dewoitine before moving to Avions Marcel Bloch in February 1934. After a period of training in the design office, Marcel Dassault placed him in charge of assembling the MB- 480 seaplane. Following nationalization in 1936, he became director of the Mérignac factory of SNCASO where he managed series production of the MB-174 and MB-175.

After the armistice in 1940, he joined the Cannes technical group, then the Free French Air Force in England (1942). Like Henri Déplante, he joined the parachutists of the Special Air Service (SAS) and took part in military operations in France and the Netherlands.

As soon as the war was over in 1945, he linked up with Marcel Dassault who made him director of the Saint-Cloud factory. He was in charge of the Ouragan, Mystère II and Mystère IV programs at that facility.

 

In 1945, Benno-Claude Vallières was decorated for his wartime contributions as part of the British Special Air Service (SAS) during the Second World War.
In 1945, Benno-Claude Vallières was decorated for his wartime contributions as part of the British Special Air Service (SAS) during the Second World War.

Having changed his name in 1953, he was appointed general manager of all the activities of the company that became Générale aéronautique Marcel Dassault. From then onwards, Marcel Dassault appointed him chairman of his company under its various designations: Avions Marcel Dassault (1965), Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation (1971-1986), as well as Electronique Marcel Dassault (1962-1967), Générale de mécanique aéronautique (1971) and the Belgian company SABCA (1968).

As the man responsible for developing the production potential of the company by the expansion, modernization and construction of factories, he created the industrial capacity that enabled the designs of Marcel Dassault to become reality.

Benno Claude Vallières, honorary chairman of Avions Marcel Dassault-Breguet Aviation and honorary chairman of the GIFAS aerospace industry association, which he chaired from 1961 to 1965, died on December 4, 1989.

 

Benno-Claude Vallières in his office in Saint-Cloud
Benno-Claude Vallières in his office in Saint-Cloud

Three of his closest colleagues, Henri Déplante, Xavier d’Iribarne and Jean Cabrière, had this to say about his personality:

“Benno Claude Vallières had an astonishing ability to retain an overall view of the company’s operations while focusing on certain specific points.”

“He was a cautious and thrifty manager, but was capable of lofty visions when called for, and he shared with Marcel Dassault a taste for beautiful designs.”

“He was a patient and tenacious negotiator, and never deviated from the line that he set himself.”

“In his relations with colleagues, he was open to discussion. Once a decision had been taken, he knew how to define the role of each person and strictly monitor implementation.”

“Away from work, Benno Claude Vallières was a man of simple tastes, enjoying the calm of the countryside, the sun and the sea of Southern France.”

“He showed the utmost courage and sensitivity in coping with terrible family ordeals over extended periods.”

“For the entire duration of his outstanding career, Benno Claude Vallières always worked in perfect agreement with Marcel Dassault who had given him his full confidence and to whom he was utterly devoted. It was thanks to this perfect understanding that he was able to achieve what he did.”

Benno Claude Vallières was a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor, and was awarded the French Croix de guerre with palms, the British Military Cross and the Dutch Military Cross.

Général De Gaulle, Benno-Claude Vallières and René Bigand.
Général De Gaulle, Benno-Claude Vallières and René Bigand.