Who's Who - Jacques Ehrlich

Jacques Ehrlich Born in Paris, France on 25 October 1893, Jacques Ehrlich (1893-1953) went on to establish a reputation for himself not only as one of the First World War's air aces, but also as a renowned 'balloon buster'.

Ehrlich, as was the case with many pilots, actually began the war with the infantry, having enlisted a year before war broke out in May 1913.  His first two years of war service thus saw him serve with the French infantry on the Western Front until he requested and received a transfer to the growing French Air Service shortly before Christmas 1916.  He received his pilot's brevet some five months later.

Assigned initially to N154 he was later to also serve with Spa154.  Within a matter of months Ehrlich suffered serious wounds while on a bombing mission behind German lines, although he was back in action within three months in November 1917.

In September 1918, by now having already established a name for himself as an accomplished balloon hunter - a dangerous occupation in an already dangerous profession - Ehrlich was cited for both the Legion d'Honneur and the Medaille Militaire; he was awarded the latter for his feat in achieving a dozen air successes in a single month, including three German observation balloons in a single day.

The same month also brought misfortune however.  On 18 September his aircraft was shot down and Ehrlich captured.  His war was over, the armistice under two months away.  Of his final tally of 19 victories 18 were comprised of enemy balloons.

Ehrlich, who survived the war, died in Paris on 10 August 1953 aged 59.

Observation balloons were referred to as 'sausages'.

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