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Joseph Marie Xavier de Sévin
Born 10 March 1894
Died 7 November 1963
Place of birth Toulouse, France
Allegiance France
Service/branch Infantry; aviation
Rank Major General
Unit 14e Regiment d'Infanterie, Escadrille 12, Escadrille 26
Awards Légion d'honneur, Croix de guerre with nine palmes, Mentioned in Dispatches seven times, Order of the British Empire
Other work Major General during World War II

Major General Joseph Marie Xavier de Sévin began his military career as a World War I flying ace credited with twelve confirmed aerial victories,[1] as well as thirteen unconfirmed ones. He rose to the rank of Major General while serving until World War II.[2]

World War I service[edit | edit source]

1914[edit | edit source]

De Sévin was in the military school at St. Cyr in 1914. He volunteered for active military service on 2 September 1914. His first assignment was as an enlisted man in the 14e Regiment d'Infanterie. He then began a series of rapid promotions. On 5 November 1914, he was promoted to Corporal; on 30 November, to Sergeant; on 5 December, he was commissioned a temporary Sous lieutenant.[2]

1915[edit | edit source]

On 15 July 1915, de Sévin reported to Pau for pilot's training. On 19 October 1915, he was awarded Pilot's Brevet No. 1804. On 11 November, he was assigned to Escadrille N12 to pilot both single-seat and two-seat Nieuports.[3] He was confirmed in his commission on 27 December 1915.[2]

1916–1917[edit | edit source]

He would not score his first aerial victory until 11 July 1916. His second was eight months later, when he shared a claim with Marcel Nogues on 4 March 1917. He was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur on 19 April 1917. On 11 May, he teamed with Alfred Auger for a third win, over a two-seater. On 19 June, he shared a victory with Jacques Ortoli and Jean Chaput. By 30 September, his string was up to six, with five of the wins shared.[1] On 25 December, he was given command of Escadrille Spa26,[3][4] accompanied by a promotion to Lieutenant.[2]

1918[edit | edit source]

He tallied up another six wins between 20 January 1918 and 24 October 1918, including one shared with Andre Dubonnet.[1] During this stretch, he was appointed temporary Captain on 2 March 1918, and confirmed in the rank on 28 June.[2]

Post World War I service[edit | edit source]

De Sévin continued in service after the war, becoming a professional soldier. At some point, de Sévin served in Morocco, at Istres; he also was the French Air Attaché in Bucharest.[2]

De Sévin commanded a flying school during World War II, and was in North Africa in 1943. On 25 September 1944, Joseph Marie Xavier de Sévin capped off his professional career by being promoted to General de Division Aerienne and raised to Grand Officer de la Légion d'honneur.[2]

Honors and awards[edit | edit source]

Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur

"Brilliant pilote de chasse having a high conception of devotion to duty. Always prepared for the most difficult missions. Woulded in the infantry at the beginning of the war, he transferred to aviation, downing his second enemy plane on 4 March 1917. Already cited three times in army orders." (Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur citation, 19 April 1917)[1][2]

Awarded the Order of the British Empire during World War II.[3]

Sources of information[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 http://www.theaerodrome.com/aces/france/de_sevin.php Retrieved on 26 March 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. p. 148. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Nieuport Aces of World War 1. pp. 48–49. 
  4. SPAD XII/XIII aces of World War I. 

References[edit | edit source]

  • Nieuport Aces of World War 1. Norman Franks. Osprey Publishing, 2000. ISBN 1-85532-961-1, ISBN 978-1-85532-961-4.
  • Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918 Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey. Grub Street, 1992. ISBN 0-948817-54-2, ISBN 978-0-948817-54-0.
  • SPAD XII/XIII Aces of World War I. Jon Guttman. Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN. 1841763160, 9781841763163.

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