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Today in History

Name: Charles Eugene Jules Marie Nungesser Balloon-Buster
Légion d'Honneur
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre with 28 palms and 2 etoiles
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC - United States)
Military Cross (MC)
Croix de Guerre [Belgium]

Country: France
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: French Air Service
Units: N65; Spa65; V106, V116
Victories: 43
Born: 15 March 1892
Place of Birth: Paris
Died: On or after 08 May 1927 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: Lost at sea
Despite terrible injuries, including a twice broken jaw and dislocated knee, Charles Nungesser achieved ten victories in the battle of Verdun.

Nungesser's death remains a mystery. On 8 May 1927, he and François Coli left LeBourget Field near Paris on an historic nonstop flight to New York in a biplane called l'Oiseau Blanc (the White Bird). They were never seen again. Following an exhaustive investigation, the French government published a report in 1984 which concluded that Nungesser probably reached North America.
Medical Record
"Skull fracture, brain concussion, internal injuries (multiple), five fractures of the upper jaw, two fractures of lower jaw, piece of anti-aircraft shrapnel imbedded in right arm, dislocation of knees (left and right), re-dislocation of left knee, bullet wound in mouth, bullet wound in ear, atrophy of tendons in left leg, atrophy of muscles in calf, dislocated clavicle, dislocated wrist, dislocated right ankle, loss of teeth, contusions too numerous to mention." Injuries sustained by Charles Nungesser during World War I
Médaille Militaire
"Brigadier of the 2nd Light Cavalry Regiment; on 3 September 1914, with his officer having been wounded during the course of a reconnaissance, he at first sheltered him, then with the assistance of several foot soldiers, after having replaced the officer who was disabled, he secured an auto and brought back the papers by crossing an area under fire by the enemy." Médaille Militaire citation
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
"Pilot detached at his own request to an Escadrille in the rear, has never ceased since his arrival to seek any occasion to fly; flying up to four hours, thirty minutes each day in spite of the inclement weather. During the course of his last combat he gave proof of the highest moral qualities by approaching to within 10 meters the enemy machine he was pursuing firing in response up to the last moment. He succeeded in downing his adversary which caught fire and exploded in front of the French trenches." Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur citation, 4 December 1915
Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
"Incomparable pursuit pilot, with exceptional knowledge and magnificent bravery, which reflect the power and inflexible will of his ancestry. In the cavalry, where during his first engagements he earned the Médaille Militaire, then in a groupe de bombardment where for his daily prowess he was cited several times in orders and was decorated with the Legion of Honor, and finally with an Escadrille de chasse, for thirty months his exploits were prodigious, and he always presented himself as a superb example of tenacity and audacity, displaying an arrogant contempt for death. Absent from the front several times because of crashes and wounds, his ferocious energy was not dampened, and he returned each time to the fray, with his spirit undaunted gaining victory after victory, finally becoming famous as the most feared adversary for German aviation. 31 enemy aircraft downed, three balloons flamed, two wounds, fifteen citations." Officier de la Legion d'Honneur citation, 19 May 1918
#19 Germany Hans Schilling
#21 Germany Kurt Haber
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 31 Jul 1915 0530 V106   Albatros Nancy
2 05 Dec 1915 N65   EA Nomeny
3 02 Apr 1916 N65   Balloon Septsarges
4 03 Apr 1916 N65   LVG Hauts-Fourneaux
5 04 Apr 1916 N65   EA Hauts-Fourneaux
6 25 Apr 1916 N65   LVG C Verdun
7 26 Apr 1916 N65   LVG C Foret de Spincourt
8 19 May 1916 N65   LVG C Bois de Forges
9 22 May 1916 N65   Balloon Verdun
10 22 Jun 1916 N65   Two-seater Lamorville
11 21 Jul 1916 N65   Aviatik Seuzey
12 22 Aug 1916 N65   EA  
13 25 Aug 1916 N65   LVG C Roye
14 14 Sep 1916 0706 N65   Albatros Falvy
15 26 Sep 1916 0745 N65   EA Le Transloy
16 26 Sep 1916 0805 N65   Balloon Neuville
17 26 Sep 1916 1045 N65   Albatros C Rocquigny
18 23 Nov 1916 1330 N65   LVG C S of Falvy
19 04 Dec 1916 1200 N65   Halberstadt W of Nurlu
20 04 Dec 1916 1305 N65   LVG C E of Lechelle
21 20 Dec 1916 1120 N65   EA Touy-le-Grand
22 01 May 1917 V116   Albatros D.III Poperinghe
23 01 May 1917 V116   Albatros D.III  
24 03 May 1917 V116   Rumpler C Maraux
25 09 May 1917 V116   DFW C  
26 12 May 1917 V116   EA Savy
27 12 May 1917 V116   EA  
28 26 Jun 1917 V116   EA Drocourt
29 26 Jun 1917 V116   Gotha  
30 16 Aug 1917 V116   Gotha Foret d'Houthulst
31 12 Mar 1918 Spa65   EA Craonne
32 31 Mar 1918 Spa65   Scout 1 Lagny
33 04 May 1918 Spa65   Two-seater Marquivillers
34 04 May 1918 Spa65   Two-seater Bouisancourt
35 15 May 1918 Spa65   Two-seater 2 Erchu
36 05 Jun 1918 Spa65   EA Château-Thierry
37 30 Jun 1918 1845 Spa65   EA Moreuil-le-Mothe
38 15 Jul 1918 1325 Spa65   Scout Grand Pre-Mericourt
39 14 Aug 1918 Spa65   Balloon  
40 14 Aug 1918 Spa65   Balloon  
41 14 Aug 1918 Spa65   Balloon  
42 14 Aug 1918 Spa65   Balloon  
43 15 Aug 1918 Spa65   EA 3  

1 Shared with MdL Jacques Gerard
2 Shared with Adj Eugene Camplan
3 Shared with Adj Marcel Henriot, Sgt Milot
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
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