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It was on a BLERIOT XI plane that Đỗ Hữu Vị, out of Saint Cyr, the first Vietnamese aviator, distinguished himself during the First World War by practicing numerous reconnaissance missions

H.E. Do Huu Phuong and his wife Tran Thi Dieu,

with four of their eleven children,

from left to right

Do Huu Tri, Colonel Do Huu Chan, Do Huu Thinh, Captain Do Huu Vi

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to download the file designed and produced by

Françoise and Perrine Do Huu Chan

In French

Đỗ Hữu Vị, the first Vietnamese pilot:

A curious fate was that of the first Indochinese pilot: he never flew in his home country, and he died during the Great War ... in the infantry! Descendant of a large family (his great-uncle was viceroy of Tonkin), Do-Huu Vi was born February 17, 1883 in Cholon, Cochinchina. He is the fifth son of Colonial Prefect of Cochinchina Do-Huu Phuong, Commander of the Legion of Honor. Entering Saint-Cyr on October 1, 1904, after secondary studies at the Lycées Janson-de-Sailly and Louis-le-Grand, he was appointed two years later as a second lieutenant in the 1st regiment of the Foreign Legion. In 1906-1907, he campaigned in Morocco, the following year in the Hoggar massif, then until 1910 on the Algerian-Moroccan borders. Inspired by aviation, he entered the military flying school on December 10, 1910 and obtained his civil and military certificates as lieutenant at the end of the following year. A teammate of Lieutenant Victor Ménard during the aerial tour of France in 1911, Do-Huu was assigned to a squadron in early 1912 in western Morocco where he fought again for nearly two years and received the Legion of Honor.

On a mission in Saigon at the time of the outbreak of hostilities, Do-Huu returned to

Find out more about the BLERIOT XI


France on October 3, 1914. Assigned on December 1 as an observer-bomber to the VB1 squadron, he transferred in January 1915 to the VB 2, renamed VB 102 in March. Promoted captain on March 22, he often teamed up with a former "colonial", lieutenant de Laborde, and found within the same bombing group Captain Henri Salel, who had become an observer-bomber at VB 103 (and who was to pass also at VB 102 mid-1915). But his Neighbor LAS, caught in a violent storm, crashes to the ground after returning from a mission. He was hospitalized in serious condition at Val-de-Grâce, with his left arm, jaw and base of the skull fractured. A few weeks later, barely recovered, he is already talking about joining the front! However, his injuries left him disabled, and it was only as an observer that he was attached on July 1 to the headquarters of GB 1. Despite a transformation course on Caudron G.4, carried out by August to December 1915 at the RGAé, the aviation declared him at the beginning of 1916 unfit for flight due to his disability. Do-Huu Vi who wishes to return to combat then asks to serve in his old weapon; he joined the 1st regiment of the Foreign Legion where he received command of the 7th company. It was while assaulting the head of his unit that he was killed on July 9, 1916 near Dompierre, in the Somme.