Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Roland Garros (1888 - 1918) - French aviator

Eugène Adrien Roland Garros was born on 6th October 1888 in Saint-Denis, France.   He obtained his pilot’s licence in July 1910 and in 1913 was the first person to fly non-stop from Fréjus in the south of France across the Mediterranean to Bizerte in Tunisia. 

When war broke out, Roland joined the French Army and was credited with having destroyed a German Zeppelin, killing its two pilots, on 3rd August 1914.   Taken prisoner of war in April 1915 when he was forced to land due to a jammed petrol tube, Roland finally managed to escape in February 1918.  He rejoined the French Army and was shot down and killed in September 1918 near Vouziers in the Ardennes.

Roland was a keen sportsman and played tennis at a club in Paris in his spare time.  During the 1920s the Centre was named after him.  Et voilà – Stade Roland Garros