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Today in History

Name: Jean Marie Dominique Navarre
Légion d'Honneur
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre with 12 palms
Jean Navarre
Country: France
Rank: Sous Lieutenant
Service: French Air Service
Units: MF8; MS12; N67
Victories: 12
Born: 08 August 1895
Place of Birth: Jouy-en-Morin
Died: 10 July 1919 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: Villacoublay
The son of a wealthy paper manufacturer, Navarre was the first French pilot to be officially declared an ace in an army dispatch. Assigned to MS12, he began the war by shooting at enemy aircraft with a rifle from his Morane-Saulnier L. On 1 April 1915, he scored his first victory in the Fismes sector, bringing down an Aviatik with three well placed shots. With his transfer to N67, Navarre began flying the Nieuport 11 and on 25 February 1916, he became the first French pilot to shoot down two enemy aircraft in a single day. He was also the first French fighting pilot to be cited in orders. Flying above the lines in a red "Bébé," Navarre was easily identified by the poilus in the trenches who witnessed several of his victories. A solitary hunter, he would attack from behind and below his opponent's aircraft, standing in the cockpit to fire his wing mounted machine gun. Shot down over the Argonne on 17 June 1916, Navarre suffered a head wound from which he never fully recovered. Following a two year stay at an asylum in Paris, he returned to the front but flew no more combat missions. In 1919, having been selected to fly a Morane-Saulnier through the Arc de Triomphe during a post-war celebration, Navarre was killed in a crash while training for the event.
Médaille Militaire
"Sergent pilot of Escadrille MS12 of remarkable skill and audacity. He has battled two enemy planes in one week, meeting them and attacking from a few meters in spite of the enemy observer's fire. He forced one of them to land behind our lines, allowing the pilot and observer, both of whom had been wounded by his observer's fire, to be taken prisoner." Médaille Militaire citation
Légion d'Honneur
"Adjudant pilot of Escadrille MS12, remarkably adroit and devoted, he has had several aerial combats, one of which permitted the capture of two enemy officers and an enemy plane. He volunteers for all the delicate missions, and has executed special and particularly perilous missions with complete success." Légion d'Honneur citation
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 01 Apr 1915 0625 MS12  1 Aviatik N of Fismes
2 13 Apr 1915 MS12  2 Aviatik St. Menehould
3 26 Oct 1915 MS12   LVG C Jaulconne
4 26 Feb 1916 N67   Fokker E.III Dieu
5 26 Feb 1916 N67   Two-seater Maheulles
6 02 Mar 1916 1130 N67   Albatros C Douaumont-Fleury
7 19 Mar 1916 N67   EA Vigneville
8 03 Apr 1916 N67   EA Bois de Cumieres
9 24 Apr 1916 N67   LVG C Vauquois
10 19 May 1916 N67   Aviatik C 3 Chattancourt
11 21 May 1916 N67   Two-seater Avocourt
12 17 Jun 1916 N67   EA 4 Samogneux

1 Observer Lt Robert
2 SharedGunner Soldat Girard
3 Shared with S/Lt G Boillot
4 Shared with S/Lt Georges Pelletier d'Oisy
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
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