- Georges Madon
Georges Madon was athletic from an early age. He was short but had an erect stance, and was exceptionally strong. He boxed and played football.
Madon first became interested in aviation when just 15 years old, when he made an unsuccessful attempt to build his own craft.
He subsequently qualified as a pilot in June, 1911, after 19 lessons. The following year, he enlisted in the French military and received his military pilot's license at Avord, France, in January, 1913. Although only a corporal, he was one of France's most experienced military pilots. He originally flew reconnaissance and night-time bombing missions while assigned to fly prewar Bleriots with BL30. The night flying missions were some of the first ever, and his experience probably accounts for this assignment. Certainly it saved his life, when on 30 October, 1914, his engine was destroyed by a direct hit by 77 mm cannon fire. It took exceptional skill to coax the Bleriot to a dead stick landing against the wind within French lines.
In April, 1915, thrown off course by heavy fog, he flew into Swiss air space while qualifying upon a new 80 horsepower Farman, and was interned for several months. It took him two tries to escape, but he freed himself in December by chloroforming and kidnapping his guard. His reward was a court-martial and 60 days confinement. He was then posted to MF218 as a sergeant directing artillery fire. He requested transfer to a fighter squadron, and was posted to fly Nieuports with N38 in September, 1916. He scored his first victory on the 28th. By year's end, he was up to four and had been promoted to adjutant.
He began the new year by strafing an enemy locomotive to a halt. Later, on July 2, 1917, he was wounded in action when he collided with an enemy aircraft and crashed. By then, he had 12 victories.The following month, he was commissioned a sous lieutenant. By October, his confirmed score was 17, with 20 unconfirmed. He was said to have returned with blood and brains on his plane's propeller three times; another time, he brought home the glasses from an enemy observer's face stuck in his plane's wire bracing.
By March, 1918, his personal score stood at 25 confirmed. He was appointed to command Spa38, which was re-equipped with Spads. By war's end, he was credited with 41 confirmed victories, ranking him fourth among all French pilots. In an ironic twist, he was promoted to captain on the last day of the war, Armistice Day, 1918.
Precisely six years later, at age 32 Madon was killed in his native Tunisia preparing for a tribute to fellow airman Roland Garros. His aircraft suffered mechanical trouble, and he gallantly crashed it into the roof of a villa rather than hit spectators.
Madon's legacy is founded on more than his experienced long service to his country and his long rise through military ranks. His score sheet included an incredible 64 probable victories. Confirmation of any sizable number of these might raise him to a score greater even than the Red Baron himself, von Richthofen.
Madon was awarded three medals by his own country,
Médaille Militaire, Légion d'honneurand Croix de Guerre with ten palms. He also was awarded the Italian Order for Valor, and the Romanian Order for Valor.
Avord Air Base, near Avordin central Franceis named "Base Aérienne 702 Capitaine Georges Madon".
1) Norman Franks and Frank W. Bailey (1992). "Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the U.S. and French Air Services, 1914-1918". Grub Street, London.
4) Laurence La Tourette Driggs (1918),"Heroes of Aviation", Little, Brown, and Company. Digitized November 28, 2007 by University of California.
* [http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/france/madon.php Military History of Georges Madon]
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