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French Pilot's Identification

This is a Carte d'identité de Pilote D'Avion, N° 8703 for François Joseph Pays with the rank of Sergent with the brevet date of 15.3.1918 and issued while he was in the G.D.E. before being assigned to a flying squadron.  His registration file card at Memoire Des Hommes indicates that he was in Escadrille Sal 286 as of 22.6.1918 and then Salm 253.  Pays shows up in the Carnet de Comptabilité en Campagne for Salm 253 for the second and third Trimestre of 1918.  This unit flew Salmson 2A2 aircraft and Spa 286 flew Spad XVI.  The two chevrons on the wearer's left sleeve indicate 18 months of service and the two chevrons on his right sleeve indicate two wounds received in combat. Accompanying Pays' Carte is a small piece of German 'lozenge' aircraft fabric has handwritten on it "Toile de Fokkers Abattu le 2.9.18 Par 2° S.A.C."  The 2nd SAC was in the 4th armee on Sept 2 1918.  According to Jon Guttman, only two casualties not otherwise accounted for were: an Unteroffizier Hennies of Jasta 49, wounded and Vizefeldwebel Michael Sigmann of Jasta 78b, badly wounded in the upper arm over Luneville. The French Air Service War Chronology reports another possibility in the 4th army area, "IV° Armée g. DCA Fokker D7 POW  Dommartin-la-Plancette... Probably Uffz Karl Pabst, Jasta 50, Fokker D7 #2012, KIA Charleville, near Ste Menehould."  This would have been D. 2012/18.  Of course, Pays may have carried the fabric with him because he had souvenired it from the Fokker, himself, thinking he had shot it down.

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