Who's Who - Charles Nungesser

Charles Nungesser Charles Nungesser (1883-1927) was one of France's most successful fighter pilots of World War One.

Nungesser was busily employed as an aircraft designer and builder in South America when news of the outbreak of the First World War reached him in August 1914.  Returning promptly to France he joined up and initially served with the cavalry before determining to fight in the trenches of the Western Front.

Wounded on several occasions Nungesser constantly came back for more, determined to fight for his country regardless of the personal cost.  Ultimately invalided out of the army on account of his numerous wounds he lost no time in enlisting with the French air corps.

Nungesser specialised first in aerial bombing before becoming one of his country's most successful fighter pilots.  He had successfully downed some 45 German aircraft by the war's end, a total that would doubtless have been higher but for his continuing run of wounds which limited his air time.

Nungesser's early death was in suitably spectacular fashion.  He was killed during an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air in May 1927.

Click here to read Lord Northcliffe's account of the early stages of the Battle of Verdun.

An Adrian Helmet was a French regulation helmet named after its designer.

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