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

Monday, September 25, 2023

The First Ace: Second Lieutenant Adolphe Célestin Pégoud — A Roads Classic

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.

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Immortalized in Comics

After gaining a sixth victory, Pégoud was shot down and killed on 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

1 comment:

  1. Adolphe Pegoud contributed to advancing the history of aviation and aerial combat. The illustrations in the article are essential, where his courage to innovate helped show the risk-taking early aviators took to win the war. Pegoud's unselfishness fostered national pride in France. The article shows how young generations can learn about bravery, sacrifice, and innovation.