Maurice Boyau

Maurice Jean-Paul Boyau (1888-1918) was a leading French ace of the First World War and one of the most successful "balloon busters".

Born in Mustapha, Algeria on 8 May 1888, Boyau first served in the 144th Infantry Regiment before the war. Boyau was already known to the public when war began in 1914, having led the French rugby team. He served as a Army Service Corps driver for the first year or so of the conflict, then was accepted for pilot training. In late 1915 he was assigned as a flight instructor at Buc but arranged to join a combat unit as a Caporal in September 1916. He spent the rest of his career with Escadrille 77, originally flying Nieuports. His Nieuport's paint scheme featured a rather flamboyant dragon writhing the length of a white fuselage.

As an enlisted pilot, Boyau was promoted to Sergeant. He scored his first ten victories between March and September 1917, including six balloons. He was then commissioned and continued his exceptional record flying SPADs.

In the spring of 1918, Boyau pioneered the use of air to air rockets; he had rocket tubes affixed to the inner set of interplane struts of his Spad XIII. He made his mark with repeated successes in the summer of 1918, scoring four victories in June; nine in July; and three in August. He burned his last four balloons in three days of September, but was killed by defending German fighters on the 16th, with Georg von Hantelmann receiving credit.

Boyau accounted for 21 balloons (14 shared) and 14 aircraft (4 shared), ranking fifth among all French aces of The Great War.

A stadium in Aquitaine, France is named to commemorate him.


Norman Franks and Frank W. Bailey (1992). Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the U.S. and French Air Services, 1914-1918. Grub Street, London.

Norman Franks and Harry Dempsey. Nieuport Aces of World War I (Osprey Aircraft of the Aces No 33). Osprey Publishing.

Jon Guttman and Harry Dempsey, (2002). Spad XII/XIII Aces of World War I (Aircraft of the Aces). Osprey {Publishing.

Search another word or see boyauon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2015, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature