Who's Who - Armand Pinsard
Armand Pinsard (1887-1953) was France's eighth highest-scoring air ace of the First World War, scoring 27 confirmed victories in total.
Already a decorated hero by the time war began in 1914 - his army service, which took him to Africa, began in 1906 - Pinsard was one of relatively few servicemen who made the transfer to the French Air Service prior to 1914. In his case he took to the skies in 1912 and was serving with unit MS23 in August 1914.
Sent on active service from the very start Pinsard was taken prisoner in early February 1915 after his aircraft was forced to land behind enemy lines. Pinsard launched a series of escape attempts in an effort to cross the Allied line and return home. After several unsuccessful attempts Pinsard, undeterred, finally escaped with a fellow prisoner by digging a tunnel underneath a 12-foot prison wall after a year of imprisonment.
Finally reaching Allied lines Pinsard was given a promotion to Lieutenant and underwent pilot re-training in order to be able to fly the current breed of fighter aircraft. He was then assigned to unit N26, and later N78 and Spa73, amassing a total of 27 aerial 'kills' in total. Of these nine were comprised of enemy observation balloons. He was the recipient of the Legion d'Honneur (Chevalier and Officier) in 1916 and 1917 respectively.
Pinsard went on to serve with distinction during the Second World War, losing a leg during air combat in 1940.
He died on 10 May 1953 at the age of 65 in Ceyzeriat.
In WW1 an "ace" was a pilot who scored five confirmed "kills".
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