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Old 5 February 2003, 01:39 AM   #1
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Was the inspiration for " old Charles " a real person ? Thanks, willy
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Old 5 February 2003, 09:27 AM   #2
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Willy, no one has had a shot at this.

Here's what I know from scant reading:

Old Charles doesn't literally translate, apparently, but has been called a 'nickname' of sorts, like Old Bean or Old Bill or Kilroy, for that matter.

Willie and Joe (Bill Mauldin) with a Gaellic tweeest.

Perhaps. Perhaps not - there are many here with tons more experience. This is what my brainpan retained.

Something along the lines of "Dude!', summat.
"A King may move a man, a father may claim a son,
but remember that even when those who move you be Kings,
or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone.
When you stand before God, you cannot say,
"But I was told by others to do thus."
Or that,
"Virtue was not convenient at the time."

This will not suffice.."

-Baldwin Four of The Baldwin Piano Company
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Old 5 February 2003, 11:54 AM   #3
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Correct me if I'm wrong, (like I wouldn't expect someone to.) Guynemer's 'Old Charlie' and Nungesser's 'LaVerdier' (Greenfinch) were references to the names of the pilot's favorite old mechanics.
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Old 5 February 2003, 10:40 PM   #4
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"Vieux Charles" was the name used by Charles Bonnard on his type L Morane. Guynemer inherited this plane and retained the name on most of the aircraft he would later fly.

Nungesser's insignia was in memory of his close friend Lt. Verdier.

"Tis a mans game, if ever there was a mans game in this world; and its boys with the soft fleece of adolescence on their cheeks that play it best. "
The Annals of 100 Sqd
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Old 6 February 2003, 12:09 AM   #5
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Books have been written on this subject (well at least chapter of books)
Vieux Charles have no particular meaning in french
Guynemer flew at least 16 different planes not all of them were called Vieux Charles
It must be nottice there was only one vieux charles at a time and only the Nieuport 10 N328 get a number "Vieux Charles III" all the othe were simply "Vieux Charles"
How did it get its name that's a mystery
there are a few theory
There was at MS a pilot called Clement Bonnard (matricule 1654) (he was not called Charles) that was flying a plane (Nieuport 18m) called the Vieux Charles (why we do not know) it is possible that Guerder was Bonnard mechanic before becoming Guynemer gunner of its first victory
Guynemer did not get its first victory flying a Vieux Charles
Guynemer may have get as its first plane in the squdron a plane called "Vieux Charles" and as its bad luck to change the name he keept it and so on his other plane
the second theory (that might be linked to the first one) is that in the same as a vieux charles plane Guynmer get a mechanic and a gunner called Charles Guerder with whom he will get his first victory
then Guynemer mentor in the squdron was Jules Vedrine whom real name was Charles he was the oldest pilot in the unit so maybe an other explanation
Then during a special mission (landing of spy behing enemy line) one of Guynemer passenger was Charles Goulard (he will get caught and shoot)
to conclude on the Vieux Charles
when Guynemer arrive at the squadron he will a Niieuport 10 nicknamed "Vieux Charles" and a mechanics (that will be a gunner) Charles Guerder.
the plane may have been nicknamed like that in reference in Verdine
Guynemer will get its first single seat victories (his second and at least few more) flying the Nieuport N320 (ther is a picture from january 16 of it with the name ) that bear the name "Vieux Charles" (the plane of Clement Bonard that will latter fly in serbia and get 4 victories) he would have keept the name for a lot of reason (he would have said to Guerder that he would keept the name because it was a lot of memories)
His first victories (the gunner name)
His first single seat victory (the plane name)
His mentor (Verdine whose real name was charles)
His first special mission passenger (Charles Goulard)
and maybe simply because he was feeling lucky with a plane nicknamed like that
it must be nottice that N320 was not the first single seat Nieuport that he flew but he get at least his 3 sfirst single seat victories (and maybe 3 more)

A last point about Nungesser and the LaVerdier well I do not know who started the legend and whoo should have baught some glass or a french dictionary but Verdier of LaVerdier is not a french word but in reality it is written Lt Verdier
Lt Louis Verdier was Nungesser best friend they were together in N65 then Verider mover to be the XO of N124 and there too Nungesser flew a lot with the N124 he was killed being the CO of spa 163 (a unit he created) the 31st august 18 after that Nungesser put it friend on his spad (he was flying a spad at this time) and swear to advenge his friend (but failed as he scored no more victory)
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Old 6 February 2003, 02:24 AM   #6
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Very informative.
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Old 6 February 2003, 10:22 AM   #7
Philippe JOURDAN
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Bravo Gregoire,
A very fine comment about all possibilities knew on the origin of "vieux Charles".
To complete your information, but Gregoire, you know it, I think, it is a very interesting french book, only devoted to aircrafts of Guynemer, each aircraft is detailed with more other details about and on Guynemer life and combat, maybe the best book on Guynemer. It is: GUYNEMER, "Les avions d'un as", edition LELA PRESSE, (sorry in french only)

Nota: Verdier is a french word also, it is a small and green bird of our country.
Et par St Michel, vive les paras...
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Old 6 February 2003, 10:28 AM   #8
Philippe JOURDAN
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Hi Gregoire,

1000 excuses, ton texte était si long et mon anglais si laborieux, qu'une fois arrivé a la fin je ne me rappelais pas le début de ton post.

Sorry Gregoire, of course you spoke of this book at beginning of your post, accept my apologises.

:-[ Philippe :-[
Et par St Michel, vive les paras...
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