Friday, October 5, 2018

R. G. Garros, Aviator, Killed -- October 5, 2018

Heroes of Aviation By Laurence La Tourette Driggs, 1918
100 years ago today, pioneering French aviator Roland Garros was shot down and killed.  Garros learned to fly in 1909 and made many flights, including the first across the Mediterranean.  In 1914, he volunteered for the army.  He played a major role in developing a method to fire a machine gun through the arc of a propeller.  On his Morane-Saulnier Type L Scout, he mounted metal wedges on the back of the propeller to deflect any bullets that hit it. Garros had success shooting down two German airplanes.  On 18-April-1915, his airplane came down behind German lines and he was captured.  He failed to destroy his airplane, but the Germans were already working on a better method to control firing through the propeller arc.  Garros escaped from a German prison camp in 1918 and took to the air in a SPAD.  He scored two more victories before he was shot down on 05-October-1918.   He was not born in Cape Town.  

From the New York Sun, 17-October-1918.


Noted Frenchman Shot Down Over the German Lines.

Amsterdam, Oct. 16.-- Lieut. Roland G. Garros, the noted French aviator, who was posted as missing on October 7 after a flight over the German lines was shot down and killed October 4, a Berlin message announced to-day. Roland Garros was a widely known aviator before the war, taking part in many important competitions, including those at many American cities, and performing numerous notable exploits. He escaped from a German prison in February of this year and again took up his army career as a flier, winning further honors. Garros was born at Cape Town, South Africa, of French parents.

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