The Aerodrome Home Page
Aces of WWI
Aircraft of WWI
Books and Videos
The Aerodrome Forum
WWI Web Sites
Medals & Decorations
Search The Aerodrome
Today in History

Name: Gervais Raoul Lufbery
Légion d'Honneur
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre, 10 Palms
Military Medal (MM)
Montenegro Silver Medal for Bravery
Purple Heart
Raoul Lufbery
County: United States
Rank: Major
Services: French Air Service
United States Air Service
Units: VB106, N124 (FAS)
94th Aero (USAS)
Victories: 16
Born: 14 March 1885
Place of Birth: Chamalières, France
Died: 19 May 1918 Killed In Action
Place of Death: Mâron, France
Cemetery: Lafayette Memorial du Parc de Garches, Paris, France
The son of Edward Lufbery of Wallingford, Connecticut, Gervais Raoul Lufbery was born in France and moved to the United States with his parents when he was six years old. He enlisted in the U.S. Army for two years in 1907 and served in the Phillipines. After being discharged from the army, he traveled throughout Asia and, in 1910, took a job as a mechanic with Marc Pourpe, a French aviator. When the war began, they were in France and Pourpe quickly joined the French Air Service. Lufbery, being an American, joined the Foreign Legion but followed Pourpe to the front as his mechanic. When Pourpe was killed in action in December 1914, Lufbery applied for and received a brevet in the French Air Service. After several months as a reconnaissance pilot, he moved on to single-seat fighters. Lufbery spent almost four years in the French Air Service and with the Lafayette Escadrille, scoring 16 victories, before he joined the United States Air Service as an instructor in early 1918. Idolized by his subordinates and revered by his peers, he was killed in action as he attempted to bag a German Rumpler north of Nancy. Hit by enemy fire, his Nieuport 28 suddenly flipped over and Lufbery was seen to fall from the aircraft. The following day, in an impressive funeral that was witnessed by hundreds and recorded on film, Lufbery was buried in the cemetery at the Sebastopol Hospital. In the village of Maron, near the Moselle River, a bronze tablet marks the place where he fell. Lufbery's remains were later moved to Lafayette Memorial du Parc de Garches in Paris.

In 2004, eighty six years after he was killed in action, Raoul Lufbery was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart.. The medal was awarded for wounds received in his final air combat on 19 May 1918.

The World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, 21 May 1918, page 2
Air Power, June 1918, page 88
Purple Heart
The President of the United States of America has awarded the Purple Heart, established by General George Washington August 7, 1782, to Raoul Lufbery, then a major in the Army of the U.S., 94th Aero Squadron, 1st Pursuit Group, American Expeditionary Forces, France, for wounds received in action on 19 May 1918 in Maron, France, a small town north of Nancy.
Purple Heart citation, 2004
Médaille Militaire
A model of skill, sangfroid and courage. He has distinguished himself through the numerous long distance bombardments and by the daily combats which he has with enemy planes. On 31 July [1916], he never hesitated to attack at close range, a group of four enemy planes. He downed one of them near our lines. He succeeded in downing another on 4 August 1916.
Médaille Militaire citation
Légion d'Honneur
He enlisted under the French colors for the duration of the war. Has given proof as a pursuit pilot of remarkable audacity and has downed up to 27 December 1916, six enemy aircraft. Already cited twice in orders and has the Médaille Militaire.
Legion d'Honneur citation
French Citations

Montenegro Silver Medal for Bravery
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 30 Jul 1916 N124   Two-seater Foret d'Etain
2 31 Jul 1916 N124   Two-seater Fort Vaux
3 04 Aug 1916 N124   Two-seater 1 Aboucort
4 08 Aug 1916 N124   Aviatik C NE of Douaumont
5 12 Oct 1916 N124   Roland C.II Oberndorf
6 27 Dec 1916 1500 N124   Aviatik C SE of Chaulnes
7 24 Jan 1917 1005 N124   Aviatik C Chaulnes-Péronne
u/c 08 Apr 1917 N124   EA (FTL)  
8 13 Apr 1917 1730 N124   Two-seater NW of St. Quentin
9 24 Apr 1917 1725 N124   Aviatik C E of Cerisy
10 12 Jun 1917 0820 N124   Two-seater Sapignal
11 04 Sep 1917 0915 N124   EA E of Cheppy
12 22 Sep 1917 1342 N124   Two-seater Bois de Cheppy
13 16 Oct 1917 1015 N124   Two-seater Vauxillon
14 24 Oct 1917 N124   Two-seater 2 Courtecon
15 02 Dec 1917 1005 N124   Two-seater 3 S of Ployart
16 02 Dec 1917 1125 N124   Two-seater Laval
u/c 12 Apr 1918 1325 94th   Albatros D.III Xivray
u/c 27 Apr 1918 94th   EA  

1 Shared with Adj Victor Sayaret
2 Shared with Lt Paul Malavialle
3 Shared with Sgt Vidal, Sgt Achille Rousseau, Cpl Cabot, Brig Wurtz
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
Aces · Aircraft · Books · Forum · Help · Links · Medals · Search · Today