Capitaine Georges Marie Ludovic Jules Guynemer – French Ace 1894 / 1917
Guynemer was born in Compiegne in 1984 to a wealthy and aristocratic family. His Mother was Julie, the Countess of Saint-Quentin, his Father Paul Guynemer. He had an often sickly childhood. Nonetheless he succeeded as an Aviator, due to his enormous drive and self confidence.
He was originally rejected 5 times for Military service due to his frailty, but was finally accepted for training as a mechanic in late 1914. Through determination, he gained acceptance to pilot training, Joining Escadrille M.S.3 on the 8th of June 1915. He remained with this unit for his entire service career. The first plane he was allocated was a Morane-Saulnier Type L Monoplane previously flown by Charles Bonnard and named accordingly Vieux Charles (Old Charles) Guynemer kept the name and used it on all his consecutive aircraft. On the 19th of July he shot down his first Aircraft, an Aviatik.
On the 5th of November 1915, Escadrille M.S.3 was renamed Escadrille N.3 due to being re-equipped with the new Nieuport 10 fighters. Flying the more effective aircraft, Guynemer soon established himself as one France’s premier fighter pilots. He became an ace with his fifth victory coming in February 1916, and was promoted to Lieutenant in March. By the end of the year his score had risen to 25. Capitaine Brocard, Commander of Escadrille N.3 (Storks) Described Guynemer at that time, “as my most brilliant Stork” within a year Guynemer was promoted to Capitaine and Commander of the Storks.
Guynemer became influential enough to affect t French fighter aircraft design. In December 1916, he wrote to the chief designer at S.P.A.D. criticising the S.P.A.D.VII as inferior to the German Halberstadt. As a consequence S.P.A.D. developed two new but very similar aircraft the SPAD XII and SPAD XIII. The new models were promising but had teething problems with the reduction gear between engine and propeller.
To Be Continued……………………..
(C) Damian Grange 2019