Théophile Henri Condemine

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Théophile Henri Condemine
Born(1895-01-25)January 25, 1895
Champagne-et-Fontaine, France
Died Unknown
Allegiance France
Service/branch Cavalry; aviation
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Unit 10ème Régiment de Hussards, 68ème Régiment d'Infanterie, Escadrille 154
Awards Legion of Honour, Croix de Guerre with five palmes (palm branches) and an étoile de bronze (bronze star)

Lieutenant Colonel Théophile Henri Condemine, or Henri Théophile Condemine, [1] was a French soldier and fighter pilot who began his military career during World War I. He became a flying ace credited with nine confirmed aerial victories, all against observation balloons. He also served during World War II.

Flying ace distinction given to fighter pilots

A flying ace, fighter ace or air ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an ace has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more.


Early life

Théophile Henri Condemine was born on 25 January 1895 in Champagnac-Fontaine. [2]

World War I

Condemine joined the French military on a three-year enlistment on 10 February 1914, and was assigned to the cavalry. He was promoted to enlisted brigadier on 1 August 1914; on 26 April 1916, he was promoted again, to Maréchal-des-logis. On 3 December 1916, he was detached to infantry duty. While in this assignment, he was commissioned as a sous-lieutenant. On 29 July 1917, he was severely wounded in the face, but carried on despite a German artillery barrage. A month later, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur for this action. [2]

The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit for military and civil merits, established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte and retained by all later French governments and régimes.

After healing, Condemine was transferred to aviation training at Chartres, arriving the day before Christmas in 1917. On 10 March 1918, he was granted Military Pilot's Brevet Number 12102; two days later, he was sent to Pau for advanced training. Early on 22 August 1918, he arrived at Escadrille 154 to serve as a SPAD XIII pilot; at noon, he scored his first aerial victory, teaming with Paul Y. R. Waddington and Louis Prosper Gros to destroy a German observation balloon. On 7 September, he destroyed a balloon singlehanded. A week later, he teamed with Michel Coiffard to destroy a balloon over Gernicourt and another one at Cormicy. The next day, Condemine, Coiffard, and Jacques Ehrlich downed three more balloons in two minutes. Condemine rounded out his career as a balloon buster with solo victories a week apart, on 3 and 10 October 1918, the last two wins for his squadron. On 28 October, he flew a protective escort for Coiffard after the latter's wounding during his final fatal mission. [2] [3]

Chartres Prefecture and commune in Centre-Val de Loire, France

Chartres is a commune and capital of the Eure-et-Loir department in France. It is located about 90 km (56 mi) southwest of Paris. Chartres is famous world-wide for its cathedral. Mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, this Gothic cathedral is in an exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. Much of the old town, including the library associated with the School of Chartres, was destroyed by bombs in 1944.

Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques Prefecture and commune in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France

Pau is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, and capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France.

Sous Lieutenant Paul Yvan Robert Waddington was a French World War I flying ace credited with twelve aerial victories.

Post-World War I

Condemine survived the war. He returned to service during World War II, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel. [2]


  1. Note:Although he is most often referred to as "Théophile Henri Condemine", his military record reads "Henri Théophile Condemine" and he is sometimes listed simply as "Henri Condemine"
  2. 1 2 3 4 Franks (1992), p. 135
  3. Guttman (2005), pp. 17-18.

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