Jean Louis Conneau

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Jean Louis Conneau
Jean Louis Conneau.jpg
Jean Louis Conneau aka André Beaumont
Born (1880-02-08)8 February 1880
Lodève, Hérault
Died 5 August 1937(1937-08-05) (aged 57)
Lodève, France
Nationality French
Other names André Beaumont
Occupation Naval Lieutenant,
Aircraft pilot,
Company director,
Flying boat manufacturer
Known for winning Air races - 1911 'Paris-Rome'; 'Circuit d'Europe'; Circuit of Britain Race

Jean Louis Conneau (Born 8 Feb 1880 in Lodève, Hérault- died 5 August 1937, Lodève), better known under the pseudonym André Beaumont, was a pioneer French aviator, Naval Lieutenant and Flying boat manufacturer.[1]

Flying career[edit]

Conneau used the pseudonym "Beaumont" because, as a serving member of the French armed forces, he was not permitted to use his own name. He earned his French pilot's license on 7 December 1910 (#322), and his military pilot's license on 18 December 1911 (#4).[1]

Air races[edit]

In 1911 he won three of the toughest aeronautical tests: the 'Paris-Rome' race, the first Circuit d'Europe (Tour of Europe) (Paris-Liege-Spa-Utrecht-Brussels-Calais-London-Calais-Paris) on 7 July 1911, and the Daily Mail Circuit of Britain Race (England and Scotland) on 26 July 1911, flying a Blériot XI.[1] He also participated in the ill-fated 1911 Paris to Madrid air race in May the same year.

During the Paris-Liege leg of the 'Circuit d'Europe' his support engineer and teammate Léon Lemartin was involved in a fatal accident on take-off.[2]

Aircraft manufacture[edit]

In 1913 he co-founded the Franco-British Aviation (FBA) to build flying boats (Fr. Hydravions (Hydraplanes)). It had its headquarters in London and a factory in Paris and supplied both the French and British armed services.[3]

As a flying boat pilot, during the World War I he commanded squadrons at Nice, Bizerte, Dunkirk, and Venice. He worked at Franco-British Aviation perfecting flying boats for the French Navy from 1915 until 1919. He later became the Technical Director of Donnet-Lévèque who manufactured flying boats.[1]

Popular culture[edit]

Conneau is referenced by author K. M. Peyton in her classic 1967 trilogy, Flambards. He is one of several real-life pioneer aviators spoken of by name in Peyton's novels. In the (1978) TV series Flambards based upon the trilogy, Conneau is spoken of as 'Lieutenant Conneau' by the character Mr. Dermot(Anton Diffring) and by his nom de plume 'Andre Beaumont' by Dermot, William(Alan Parnaby) and Christina Parsons(Christine McKenna), the heroine of the trilogy. William later holds up a newspaper featuring a front page photo of Conneau and heralding one of his aviation triumphs.

Publications[edit]

Contemporary illustration of Conneau's victory in the Paris-Rome race
  • Mes trois grandes courses, (My three major races) Hachette, Paris, 1912.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Early Aviators - profile of Jean Conneau, AKA André Beaumont
  2. ^ "Three Men Die In Paris Flight. Five Also Hurt at Start of Big Circuit Race to London and Back.". New York Times. June 19, 1911. Retrieved 2010-11-04. "Two prominent aviators were killed and several injured in the first stage of the European Circuit aeroplane race from Paris to London and back, which started to-day from the aviation field at Vincennes, with stops at various places going and returning, while another competitor was killed near Chateau-Thierry." 
  3. ^ "Jean Conneau". Early Aviators. Retrieved 2010-11-04.