Who's Who - Paul Gastin

Paul Gastin Paul Adrien Gastin (1886-1976) scored six confirmed victories as a French air ace during the First World War.

Born on 8 November 1886 in Avignon Gastin initially enlisted with the French infantry with the arrival of war in August 1914.  Like many another Great War airman he transferred across to the French Air Service some time later - in his case towards the close of February the following year, achieving his flying brevet at the start of September 1915.

Posted in due course to Escadrille N49 Gastin's first air 'kill' was posted on 22 May 1916 when he brought down a German Aviatik aircraft.  By the end of 1916 he had notched up three victories and earned himself the prestigious award of a Legion d'Honneur.

Handed command of Escadrille N84 at the end of January 1917 Gastin brought down a further seven German aircraft although only three of these were credited as confirmed kills, i.e. independently verified.

Promoted to Capitaine in mid-April 1918 Gastin was given command of 23 Groupe de Combat on 24 August the same year.  By the armistice Gastin had added both the Croix de Guerre and a Bronze Star to his medal tally.

Gastin, unlike many other airmen, long survived the end of the war, dying on 23 August 1976 in Nice having achieved General rank.  He was aged 89.

A "salient" is a battle line that projects into territory nominally held by enemy forces.

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