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Name: Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer
Légion d'Honneur
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre with 26 palms
Georges Guynemer Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Order of Leopold II [Belgium]
Country: France
Rank: Capitaine
Service: French Air Service
Units: MS3, N3, Spa3
Victories: 53
Born: 24 December 1894
Place of Birth: Paris
Killed In Action: 11 September 1917 Killed In Action
Place of Death: South of Poelkapelle, Belgium
Memorial: Poelkapelle, Belgium Image
 
 
Guynemer was France's most beloved ace. He entered the French Air Service in November 1914 and served as a mechanic before receiving a Pilot's Brevet in April 1915. Despite his frail physical appearance, he took part in more than 600 aerial combats and was shot down seven times and survived. An excellent marksman and highly skilled pilot, he was hailed as the French Ace of Aces. Guynemer received letters from women proposing marriage, requests from school children for his autograph and was often followed through the streets. One of the first pilots to receive a SPAD VII, he called his plane Vieux Charles (Old Charles). On 25 May 1917, he engaged and shot down four enemy aircraft with Old Charles in one day. Looking for ways to improve the performance of his aircraft, Guynemer armed a SPAD VII with a single-shot 37 mm canon that fired through a hollowed out propeller shaft. He called this impractical aircraft his Magic Machine. Despite the fumes that filled the cockpit and the recoil of the canon, during the summer of 1917 he shot down at least two enemy aircraft with his Magic Machine. On 11 September 1917, Guynemer was last seen attacking a two-seater Aviatik near Poelcapelle, northwest of Ypres. Almost a week later, it was publicly announced in a London paper that he was missing in action. Shortly thereafter, a German newspaper reported Guynemer had been shot down by Kurt Wissemann of Jasta 3. For many months, the French population refused to believe he was dead. Guynemer's body was never found.
FRENCH AIR HERO'S FATE.
Amsterdam, Saturday.
The correspondent of the Kölnische Zeitung on the western front says that according to the Gazelle 'des Ardennes (which is under German control) the French airman Captain Guynemer was killed on September 11 about 800 yards east of the cemetery of Poelcapelle. A German sergeant found there a one-seater with a wing broken and the pilot dead from a bullet wound in the head, and on him an identity disc with the name "Georges Guynemer." — Reuter.
The Weekly Dispatch - Sunday, September 30, 1917
"I shall not survive." Georges Guynemer, 28 August 1917

". . . Indomitable tenacity, ferocious energy, sublime courage: animated by the most resolute faith in victory, he bequeaths to the French soldier an imperishable memory which will exalt the spirit of sacrifice." Memorial to Guynemer

"Not only the machine above me is better, but the man sitting in it can do more than I." Ernst Udet, describing an encounter with Guynemer in May 1917

"He was neither seen nor heard as he fell, his body and his machine were never found. Where has he gone? By what wings did he manage to glide into immortality? Nobody knows: nothing is known. He ascended and never came back, that is all. Perhaps our descendents will say: He flew so high that he could not come down again." L'Illustration, 6 October 1917

 
Médaille Militaire
"A pilot of great spirit and daring, willing to carry out the most perilous assignments. After a relentless chase he engaged a German aircraft in combat which ended with its bursting into flames and crashing." Médaille Militaire, 21 July 1915
 
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
"Pilot of great gallantry, a model of devotion to duty and courage. During the course of the past six months he has fulfilled two missions of a special nature requiring the highest spirit of self-sacrifice, and has engaged in thirteen aerial combats, of which two ended in the destruction in flames of the enemy aircraft." Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur citation, 24 December 1915
 
Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
"Officer of the elite, a fighting pilot as skilful as he is audacious, he has rendered brilliant service to his country, as much by the number of his victories, as by his daily keenness and ever-growing mastery. Heedless of danger he has become for the enemy, by the sureness of his methods and by the precision of his maneuvers, the most redoubtable adversary of all. On 25 May 1917, he accomplished one of his most brilliant exploits in downing, in one minute, two enemy planes and reporting in the same day two other victories. By all his exploits he contributes to the excitement, courage and enthusiasm of those who, in the trenches, are witnesses to his triumphs. Forty five planes downed, twenty citations, two wounds." Officier de la Légion d'Honneur citation, 11 June 1917
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 19 Jul 1915 1425 MS 3   Aviatik C 1 Septmonts
2 05 Dec 1915 N3   Aviatik C Bois de Carre
3 08 Dec 1915 1035 N3   LVG C Beauvraignes
4 14 Dec 1915 N3   Fokker E 2 SE of Noyon
5 03 Feb 1916 1110 N3   LVG C Roye
6 03 Feb 1916 1140 N3   LVG C Carreouisw-E of Roye
7 05 Feb 1916 1130 N3   LVG C Herbecourt
8 12 Mar 1916 N3   LVG C Ribécourt
9 22 Jun 1916 N3   LVG C 3 Rosières-en-Santere
10 16 Jul 1916 N3   LVG C Barleux
11 28 Jul 1916 N3   LVG C Gandau
12 03 Aug 1916 N3   EA 4 Barleux
13 17 Aug 1916 N3   Aviatik Grancourt
14 18 Aug 1916 N3   Rumpler C Bouchavesnes
15 04 Sep 1916 1825 N3 SPAD VII (S115) Aviatik C.II Hyencourt
16 15 Sep 1916 1125 N3   Rumpler C St. Christ
17 23 Sep 1916 1120 N3   Fokker E Erches
18 23 Sep 1916 1125 N3   Fokker E Laucourt
19 10 Nov 1916 1215 N3   Albatros D Nesles
20 10 Nov 1916 1225 N3   Albatros C Morcourt
21 16 Nov 1916 1340 N3   Fokker E Omiecourt-Pertain
22 22 Nov 1916 1445 N3   Halberstadt C.L E of St. Christ
23 22 Nov 1916 1510 N3   Halberstadt NE of Amiens
24 26 Dec 1916 0945 N3   Halberstadt C.L E of Miséry
25 27 Dec 1916 1145 N3   Albatros W of Péronne
26 23 Jan 1917 1045 N3   Albatros C Maurepas
27 23 Jan 1917 1134 N3   Rumpler C Chaulnes
28 24 Jan 1917 1140 N3   Rumpler C Goyencourt
29 24 Jan 1917 1150 N3   Rumpler C Lignieres
30 26 Jan 1917 N3   Albatros C Montdidier
31 08 Feb 1917 1115 N3   Gotha G Bouconville
32 16 Mar 1917 0908 N3   Albatros C 5 Serres
33 16 Mar 1917 0930 N3   Rumpler C Hoeville
34 16 Mar 1917 1430 N3   Albatros C Regneville-en-Haye
35 17 Mar 1917 1330 N3   EA Atilloncourt
36 14 Apr 1917 1030 N3   Albatros La Neuville
37 02 May 1917 1935 N3   Albatros Courtemont
38 04 May 1917 1508 N3   Albatros C Courtecon-Braye
39 25 May 1917 0830 N3   LVG C NW of Corbeny
40 25 May 1917 0831 N3   Two-seater Juvincourt
41 25 May 1917 1215 N3   DFW C Courlandon
42 25 May 1917 1830 N3   Fokker Gugnicourt
43 26 May 1917 1000 N3   Albatros Conde-sur-Suippes
44 05 Jun 1917 1715 N3   Albatros C Berry-au-Bac
45 05 Jun 1917 1730 N3   DFW C Foret de Berru
46 06 Jul 1917 1055 N3   DFW C Brimont
47 07 Jul 1917 1110 N3   Albatros Villers Francheux
48 07 Jul 1917 1230 N3   DFW C Moussy-sur-Aisne
49 27 Jul 1917 N3   Albatros Westroosebeke
50 28 Jul 1917 N3   DFW C Merkem
51 17 Aug 1917 0820 N3   Albatros C Vladsloo
52 17 Aug 1917 0925 N3   DFW C Foret d'Houthulst
53 20 Aug 1917 Spa3 SPAD XIII (S504) DFW C Poperinghe

1 Shared with Soldat Guerder
2 Shared with Adj Bucquet
3 Shared with Sgt Andre Chainat
4 Shared with Lt Alfred Heurtaux
5 Shared with Lt Raymond
 
Books
Captain Georges Guynemer: WWI Eagle of France
Walter A. Musciano / Hardcover / Hobby Helpers Pub 1963
Georges Guynemer: Knight of the Air
Henry Bordeaux / Hardcover / Ayer Co Pub 1972
Georges Guynemer: The Winged Sword of France
H.W. Cook / Hardcover / 1918
Guynemer: l'Ange de la mort
Jules Roy / Paperback / Albin Michel 2000)
Guynemer: The Ace of Aces
Jacques Mortane / Hardcover / NY: Moffat Yard 1918
 
Books
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
 
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