Selected by Kate O’Brien, Archives Services Manager
Two propaganda postcards featuring the celebrated French aviator Jules Védrines (1881-1919). Both were printed in the UK by William Ritchie & Sons, Ltd, using previously published French photographs. The first, showing Védrines about to depart on a reconnaissance flight, appeared in French magazine, Le Miroir, 8 November 1914. The second purports to show him giving his report after a flight.
The Right Stuff: 35 years before Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier, Védrines was the first person to fly at more than 100mph, in 1912. The year before, he won the Paris-Madrid air race. Unlike many early aviators he was from a working class background, and was a mechanic when he gained his pilot’s licence in 1910. He was a huge celebrity by 1914, with a canny knack for publicity – as shown by his personalised plane, La Vache (‘The Cow’). He survived flying thousands of hours of reconnaissance during the war, but died in a plane crash in 1919.
Ref: Liddell Hart 15/2/68