Marc Pourpe

Marc Pourpe (1887[1] - December 2, 1914[2]) was a French aviation pioneer and stunt flyer. His mother was the courtesan Liane de Pougy[3] and his father a naval officer.[1] His mother had run off with young Armand Pourpe when she was only 16, and they only married once she became pregnant.[4]

Pourpes' parents' marriage was not a happy one. His mother, then known as Anne-Marie Pourpe, later claimed in her memoirs that her new husband took her violently on their wedding night, an event which left her emotionally scarred. When Armand Pourpe's naval career led him to a billet in Marseilles, Anne-Marie took a lover (the Marquis Charles de MacMahon), and her husband found them in bed together and shot her. She ran away to Paris, leaving her infant son with his father. Armand sent his son to live with the boy's grandparents, in Suez.

In 1912, while barnstorming in Calcutta in a Blériot, Pourpe met Raoul Lufbery, whom he hired as his mechanic. He also taught Lufbery how to fly. The two then began travelling together, continuing Pourpe's tour of Asia, Europe and Africa.

In 1913, in Heliopolis, Egypt, an early "Aviation Week" celebration was held. A special stamp was issued to commemorate the event, and air mail delivery was announced. Pourpe flew the 1250 miles from Cairo to Khartoum from January 4 to the 12th, making stops in Luxor, Wadi Halfa and Abu Hamed.[5] This marked the first air mail delivery between the two cities. Lufbery was Pourpe's mechanic for the trip.[6]

When World War I broke out, Pourpe joined the French Air Service, serving with Escadrille N.23.[7] He was killed in a plane crash near Villers-Bretonneux in 1914 against a German Fokker.[8]

References

  • Allaz, Camille History of Air Cargo and Airmail from the 18th Century ISBN 0954889606
  • de Pougy, Liane My Blue Notebooks (Mes cahiers bleu, her memoirs), published in English in 1979. ISBN 1-58542-156-1
  • Rodriguez, Suzanne Wild Heart: A Life: Natalie Clifford Barney and the Decadence of Literary Paris ISBN 0060937807

External links

Further reading

  • Mortane, Jacques Deux grands chevaliers de l'aventure, Marc Pourpe et Raoul Lufbery

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