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RAF_Louvert

A Rare Collectable Find, and a Timely One for HITR

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Good Evening Everyone,

 

Today I was fortunate enough to acquire the following item, and I found it very timely given the recent release of the OFF Hat in the Ring update.

 

 

WWI_LFC_ribbon.jpg

 

 

So what is it, you may well ask. It is a 5 1/2" length of what appears to be original issue ribbon for the very rare "Ruban du Lafayette Flying Corps". This was the only official honour created by the French government to specifically recognize the contibutions of the LFC during WWI, and was instituted on November 3, 1918. Here is the text of the original document:

 

 

Ministere De La Guerre

Sous-secretariat D'etat

De L'aeronautique Militaire Et Maritime, Republique Francaise

 

Le President du Conseil, Ministere de la Guerre, a decide, sur ma proposition, d'accorder un souvenir aux quatre officiers directeurs et aux 214 pilotes du Lafayette Flying Corps, qui, devancant 1'elan de tout un peuple, sont venus prendre fraternellement dans les rangs franfais une belle part de perils et de la gloire.

 

Ce souvenir consiste en un ruban bleu, seme d'etoiles, horde des couleurs de France et d'Amerique, orne en relief de la tete de Sioux en argent, qu'ont glorieusement portee sur nos champs de bataille les avions de la premiere Escadrille Lafayette.

 

 

 

This loosely translates to the following:

 

 

MINISTRY OF WAR

UNDER-SECRETARY DEPARTMENT OF STATE

MILITARY AND MARITIME AERONAUTICS, REPUBLIC OF FRANCE

 

“The President of the Council, Ministry of War, has decided, on my proposal, to grant a decoration of remembrance to the four directing officers and the 214 pilots of the Lafayette Flying Corps, who, on behalf of a whole people, came to stand as brothers, in a beautiful gesture, and share in the dangers and glory.

 

This remembrance consists of a blue ribbon, with stars, in the colors of France and of America, and decorated with a silver bust in relief of a Sioux Indian which, in glory over our battlefields, was carried by the planes of the premier Lafayette Escadrille.”

 

 

 

Here is, as far as I know, the only surviving example of this citation as originally presented, and it belonged to David Putnam of the 139th Aero Squadron:

WWI_David_Putnam_LFC_ribbon.jpg

 

And since we've come this far I may as well note who this brave flyer was as well.

Lieutenant David Endicott Putnam, 13 victories. Born in 1898, Putnam, a descendant of American Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, grew up in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He joined the French Air Service at age 18, and scored his first victory in January 1918, while flying with MS 156. By early June, he had four confirmed victories and many more unconfirmed. He transferred to Spad 38 and got two more confirmed kills, before moving over to the U.S. 139th Aero Sqn. He was shot down by the German ace Georg von Hantelmann in September, 1918.

 

 

I am not quite sure yet what I am going to do with this bit of ribbon, but if I can come across a small indian head charn that is close to that shown I may create my own version of this award for my French tunic project. Also, if anyone else is interested there is another length being offered by the same vendor on eBay France right now, and the auction on it ends sometime tomorrow.

 

Just thought those of you who like to know more of the rich history that surrounds this sim we all love to experience so much might find this interesting.

 

Cheers!

 

Lou

 

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Thanks, Lou - informative as ever.

Let me make the small contribution of two weblinks for sites with press and photos (whilst I'm not sure

if you hadn't posted them anyway - but better twice than never.

 

http://www.tao-yin.c...as-america.html

 

http://www.nationalm...heet.asp?id=688

 

And the Escadrille Americaine:

 

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=687

Edited by Olham

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Thanks Olham, I already have a first edition of that book on my shelf, and it is a top notch read. Someone should nab that copy on eBay. Thanks also for the links. I was not aware of the first one. More good info.

 

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The book seems to have a fixed price of 12,- Dollar plus shipping, and they will ship to Europe.

If nobody bites, maybe I'll do it, although my account for this month is already aching.

But what the hell am I working for? The tax? Would be wasted anyway!

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No Rickitycrate, "Falcons Of France" is a later work that Hall co-wrote with Charles Nordhoff, (one of numerous books they co-wrote together). "High Adventure" was first published in 1918 while "Falcons Of France" was 1929. They do share some story lines of course, as both men served in the Lafayette Flying Corps and had similar experiences, and wrote about them in numerous works over the years.

 

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