Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The First Ace: Second Lieutenant Adolphe Célestin Pégoud

Pégoud Receiving the Croix de Guerre

The term "ace" was first used in World War I when French newspapers described Adolphe Pégoud (1889–1915) as l'as (French for "ace") after he shot down five German aircraft. After serving in the French Army he pursued a career in aviation and received his private pilot's license in March 1913.

While he was a test pilot for Blériot, he was credited with being the first aviator to fly a loop, although it was discovered much later that a Russian pilot had preceded him by 13 days and, also to be the first pilot to jump with a parachute from his aircraft. Joining the French Air Service he was assigned to fly a Maurice Farman over the Argonne sector, where he achieved his five victories.

Click Image to Enlarge
Immortalized in Comics

After gaining a sixth victory, Pégoud was shot down and killed 31 August 1915 by one of his prewar students, Walter Kandulski. 

Pégoud's Tomb at Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris

Sources:  Tony Langley Collection, Wikipedia, Traces of War and The


  1. I have pictures of Pégoud tomb if anyone is interested.

    Steve Miller

  2. Certainement! Ce site devrait avoir plus d'articles comme celui-ci sur les héros de la France dans la Première Guerre.