Adolphe Pégoud was born on June 13, 1889, at Montferrat in the Isère, to a family of humble peasant farmers.
At 18, and yearning for adventures, he joined the cavalry in 1908 to participate in the Moroccan Campaign within the 5th African chasseurs regiment. Upon return, he was transferred to the 2nd hussars regiment of Gray, and later on to the 3rd colonial artillery regiment of Toulon.
In 1913, when he returned to civilian life, he developed a passionate interest in aviation, which was still in its infancy then, and obtained his pilot wings standard. In the same year, he became a test pilot for Louis Blériot, jumped with a parachute for the first time from an aircraft flying at an altitude of 250 meters, flew on the back over a distance of 500 meters and shared with the Russian pilot, Nesterov, the honour of having (using his 50 HP Blériot) carried out the first successful aviation loop.
He became famous all over Europe...
1914: the First World War broke out. In April 1915, Adolphe Pégoud was transferred to the 2nd aviation group of Reims. During the four months that followed, he fought several victorious air battles and became one of the first "Aces", by shooting down 6 German aircrafts.
But luck soon deserted the "Roi du ciel" (Sky King) as he was nicknamed due to his air exploits. On August 31, 1915, having been posted to the MS 49 squadron based in Fontaine, Territoire de Belfort, Second Lieutenant Adolphe Pegoud was the pilot of a Nieuport single-seater fighter. During an air battle over Petit-Croix, near Belfort, a bullet hit him directly in the chest. Shortly afterwards, a German aircraft came and dropped a floral wreath at the place where the French soldier had been shot.
Adolphe Pégoud is resting in peace in Paris, at the Montparnasse graveyard. This volunteer serviceman, who was killed in flight at the age of 26, was Knight of the Legion of Honour, holder of the Military Medal and the War Cross with several commendations in the Army Order, as well as holder of the Commemorative Medal for Morocco. A memorial was erected in the Petit-Croix commune in his honour. It bears the following epitaph:
"Le ciel était et demeure son domaine" The sky was and remains his domain