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Today in History

Name: Mathieu Marie Joseph Antoine de la Tour
Légion d'Honneur
Croix de Guerre with palms
Mathieu de la Tour
Country: France
Rank: Capitaine
Service: French Air Service
Units: N3, N26, N57
Victories: 9
Born: 05 December 1883
Place of Birth: Paris
Died: 17 December 1917 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: Auchel
After serving in the cavalry, Mathieu de la Tour transferred to the French Air Service in 1915, receiving a Pilot's Brevet on 6 May. After recovering from injuries received in a flying accident on 30 October, he was posted to Escadrille N57 on 29 December. In the first month of 1916, he scored his first victory, downing a German observation balloon. Wounded in combat on 25 April, de la Tour did not return to combat duty until the summer. Reassigned to N3, he scored 7 more victories during 1916, including a second observation balloon. Following a promotion in 1917, he assumed command of N26, scoring his final victory on 7 May 1917. Toward the end of the year, de la Tour was killed in a crash while flying a SPAD XIII.
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
"Sous Lieutenant of Escadrille N57. On 25 January 1916, he was surprised by a sea of fog, out of which emerged a German balloon which he decided to attack. He approached it and duelled with the passenger in the basket, succeeding in silencing the enemy's gun. He continued to fire at the balloon until he was within fifty meters of the ground. Completely lost and with his motor acting up, he returned by dint of his coolness and strength, and landed behind the British lines." Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur citation, 1 February 1916
#8 Gustav LeffersGermany
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 25 Jan 1916 N3   Balloon 1  
2 15 Jul 1916 N3   EA Amiens
3 07 Aug 1916 N3   Balloon  
4 21 Aug 1916 N3   EA Estrées-en-Chaussee
5 25 Aug 1916 N3   EA Pertain
6 02 Sep 1916 N3   EA Amiens
7 06 Sep 1916 N3   EA  
8 27 Dec 1916 1150 N3 SPAD VII Halberstadt Brié-St. Christ
9 07 May 1917 0955 N26   EA Brimont-Orainville

1 Shared with Capt Francois
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
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