About This File
1917 Nieuport 24 "Celia V", belonging to Corporal William "Wild Bill" Wellman, American volunteer flying with Escadrille 87.
Wellman went to France and joined the Norton-Harjes Ambulance Corps, later transferring to the French Foreign Legion, and then on to the French Air Service. After training on Bleriots and Nieuports he went into the Lafayette Flying Corps, assigned to Esc 87. Once he was assigned a mission to drop pamphlets on the Germans. While performing aerobatics over German lines his motor quit, but he managed to crash land and flipped upside down. He couldn't get loose and was rescued by French troops. Wellman was nicknamed "Wild Bill" by the French for his one-man dawn patrols over enemy lines where he would bomb and strafe the Germans. He had two confirmed kills and was eventually shot down by AA fire. In the crash he broke his back in two places, his control stick went into the roof of his mouth and he ended up with a permanent limp and a silver plate in his head. When Wellman was discharged as a sergeant from the French forces in March, 1918 he left with the Croix de Guerre with two Palms, the Medaille Militaire and the citations, A L'Ordre de L'Armee and Le Pilote Americain, Marshall de Logis. After the war Wellman went on to become one of Hollywood's leading directors. The initial success of his career was launched with the 1927 WWI aerial saga "Wings", the first film ever to win the Acadamy Award for Best Picture, (information courtesy of www.worldwar1.com).
I wish to thank Polovski, Winder, OvS, and rabu for their outstanding skins and graphics that provide the starting point for these paint schemes.