Near the south-western edge of the city, and almost backing onto the Peripherique, is a massive art deco style building that houses the HQ of the Armee de l'Air. Outside it, at no. 26 Boulevard Victor, is a memorial to Georges Guynemer, the famous Great War ace. According to the "Première Guerre Mondiale des Flandres a l'Alsace", Guynemer was born on Christmas Eve 1894 in Paris, and was shot down on 11 September 1917. Although with 53 victories he wasn't the leading French ace (Rene Fonck was with 75) "he surpassed them all in glory and fame because he was an idol". The memorial consists of a frame which represents a stylised bird's wing. Mounted on this is a medallion about 18 inches across which shows a bas-relief of his face. The plinth has some suitable quotations and a dedication to all the "pilots de chasse" (fighter pilots) of the two world wars.
Copyright © Charles Fair, July, 1997.
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