Who's Who - Georges Madon

Georges Madon Georges Felix Madon (1892-1924) remains surprisingly little-known for someone who clearly established himself as a leading French ace of the First World War, with a probable tall of over 100 'kills', of which some 41 were officially confirmed.

Madon was born in Bizerte in Tunisia on 28 July 1892 and developed an early interest in the development of aviation, striving to develop his own budding air equipment (without success) while aged just 15.

Wearying of his inability to develop a successful flying device Madon switched his attention briefly to sport, in particular athletics.  His departure for Paris in 1911 however re-sparked his aviation interest with the consequence that he qualified for his pilot's license in June the same year following 19 lessons.

Toying briefly with the notion of serving within the Ottoman Empire as a military pilot Madon instead found employment, rather mundanely, as a chef in Versailles.  Enlisting with the French military in 1912 he nevertheless received his military pilot's license in January 1913, an achievement which brought Madon into demand when war broke out the following year.  His initial wartime duties (while assigned to BL30) found him posted to reconnaissance and night-time bombing missions.

Interned in Switzerland in April 1915 after flying into neutral Swiss airspace as a consequence of heavy fog he nevertheless successfully engineered his escape some eight months later (after several attempts).

Belatedly posted next to MF218 for fighter duty Madon transferred to N38 in September 1916, the same month he achieved his first official 'kill' of the war.  After Madon had accumulated a dozen air successes, in early July 1917, he was himself wounded.

The following February he was assigned to command of Spa38, by now with 25 victories to his credit.  In one month alone, June 1918, he succeeded in adding a further eight aircraft to his tally.  On the day the armistice came into force, 11 November 1918, Madon was promoted temporary captain.  His final wartime score reached 41.

As with so many wartime fighter pilots Madon was subsequently killed while flying.  He met his death on 11 November 1924 - the sixth anniversary of the end of the First World War - while flying in tribute to the (deceased) French aviation legend Roland Garros.  His aircraft having malfunctioned he deliberately crashed his aircraft into the roof of a villa rather than hit watching spectators.  He was 32.

A "listening post" was an advanced post, usually in no-man's land, where soldiers tried to find out information about the enemy.

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