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French Léon BOURJADE

born Jean Pierre Léon BOURJADE

Leading French fighter pilot in World War I

Source :  Henri BOURJADE

Born: on May 25, 1889 in Montauban, France
Died: on October 22, 1924 in Yui, New Guinea


Bourjade was born at Montauban, France. It was his childhood dream to become a missionary. In 1908, he entered the noviate of The Fathers of the Sacred Heart of Issoudun, in Spain. By 1914, he had moved on to study theology in Switzerland.

Instead of continuing studying for the priesthood in the neutral country of Switzerland, in 1914 he returned to France to enter the army. He served as an artilleryman for nearly three years. His initial service was with 23eme Regiment d'Artillerie for the First Battle of the Marne. In 1915, he transferred to the 125e Brigade de Bombadiers, which was a mortar brigade.

He ended the war with a victory list of 27 balloons and one aircraft shot down, with a second airplane as an unconfirmed victory. It was a total that left him second only to Willy Coppens of Belgium as a balloon buster.

He was awarded a Chevalier of the Legion d'Honneur. In 1920, he was raised to Officier in the Legion.

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