Gabriel Guérin

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Gabriel Guérin
Gabriel Guérin.jpg
Born 25 July 1892
Morocco
Died 1 August 1918 (1918-09) (aged 26)
Mont-l'Évêque
Allegiance France
Service/branch Infantry, Air Service
Years of service 1913 - 1918
Rank Sous Lieutenant
Unit Escadrille 15, Escadrille 88
Awards Legion d'honneur, Medaille militaire, Croix de guerre

Sous Lieutenant Gabriel Fernand Charles Guérin (25 July 1892 – 1 August 1918), Legion d'honneur, Medaille militaire, Croix de guerre, was a World War I fighter pilot credited with 23 confirmed aerial victories.

Prewar life[edit]

Gabriel Fernand Charles Guérin was born in Morocco on 25 July 1892. He joined the 28e Regiment d'Infanterie in October 1913, starting as a soldat de 2e class.[1]

World War I service[edit]

Guérin was cited for his service the first time in June 1915, when he had risen to soldat de 1e classe. He was cited a second time as a corporal, in July 1916. The following month, he began aviation training. He received Pilot's Brevet 4981 on 10 December 1916.[2]

After advanced training, he was posted to Escadrille 15, a Nieuport squadron on 25 April 1917. He scored his first aerial victory a month later. By July, he was a sergeant credited with four victories. He scored his sixth win on 26 August, and was awarded the Médaille militaire the next day. He was promoted to adjutant by 1 November, when he notched his seventh triumph. He closed out 1917 with 11 victories.[2]

By 27 February 1918, when he was inducted into the Legion d'honneur, he was a triple ace.[2] At some time during the summer, he had access to a Spad XII armed with a 37mm cannon, and may have scored with it.[3] Guérin had run his total to 22 when he was wounded in action on 11 May 1918. After convalescence, he was given command of Escadrille 88, a Spad squadron on 7 July 1918. Six days later, he was promoted to a commissioned officer as a lieutenant. Six days after that, he scored his 23rd victory.[4]

On 1 August 1918, while taking off in a Spad VII, Guérin spun in to his death. His victory total of 23 included five shared victories; however, he also had ten claims unconfirmed. In addition to the Legion d'honneur and Médaille militaire, he had won the Croix de guerre with 15 palms and two bronze stars.[2]

Citations for military decorations[edit]

Médaille Militaire, 27 August 1917:

"Never ceases to give the highest examples of bravery, strength, sang-froid, and devotion. On 23 July 1917, he downed his fourth enemy plane. Already cited five times in orders."

Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, 27 February 1918:

"Elite officer and incomparable pursuit pilot. Raises the morale and enthusiasm of his Escadrille by his great example, moral courage and by the prestige of his victories. On 3 February 1918 he downed his 14th and 15th enemy planes. Médaille Militaire for feats of war and nine citations."

Inline citations[edit]

  1. ^ Over the Front, p.166.
  2. ^ a b c d Over the Front, p. 167.
  3. ^ Spad XII/XIII Aces of World War I, p. 12.
  4. ^ Over the Front, pp. 167-168.

References[edit]

  • Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914–1918 Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey. Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 0-948817-54-2, ISBN 978-0-948817-54-0.
  • SPAD XII/XIII Aces of World War 1. Jon Guttman. Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1841763160, 9781841763163.