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Who was "Edmond"?


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#1 Anders1

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 19:53

Hi everybody,

I'm trying to find information about the racing driver "Edmond" who participated in Grands Prix for Darracq and Renault around 1902-1906. The reason is that I research the first air races, and like several other early car racers he started flying around 1909-1910. It appears that it's just as difficult to find information about him as a pilot as a driver.

 

According to some Wikipedia articles his first name was Jacques. This conflicts with some aviation books that say his first name was Maurice.

 

It appears confirmed that the pilot and the driver were the same persons. This is for example stated in "Flight" and in the French newspaper "Le Littoral". The strange thing is that "Edmond" competed in a couple of aviation meetings in 1910, for example the one in Cannes in March-April. In order to be allowed to compete in French meetings pilots were required to have a valid pilot's licence. Still there is no pilot's licence issued to anyone with the family name Edmond. On the other hand, a licence was issued to one Edmond Morelle, on the right kind of airplane (Farman) and at the right time. This is a summary:

  • Auto race driver "Edmond" participated in several high-profile races in 1902-1906, driving first Darracqs and then Renaults.
  • His initial "J" or first name "Jacques", which appear in some recent sources, appears to be questionable and it's uncertain if they appear in contemporary sources.
  • He apparently disappeared from the auto racing scene in 1907.
  • In the 29 January 1910 issue of "Flight" it was reported that ex-Renault race driver "M. Edmond" (presumably "M." for "Monsieur", not the initial) had learned to fly a Henry Farman.
  • On 8 March 1910 Edmond Morelle (born 1880-07-03) was granted "brevet" No. 35, having qualified on a Henry Farman.
  • Edmond Morelle then vanished completely from record. He isn't mentioned even a single time in l'Aérophile or Flight, except in listings of licensed pilots.
  • At the end of March 1910 "Edmond" competed on a Henry Farman at the Cannes aviayion meeting, which he shouldn't have been able to do without a license.
  • During 1910 "Edmond" flew quite a lot, in France, apparently in Russia, and as a Bristol company pilot in Britain. I have still not found his first name in any contemporary sources. Some later books give it as "Maurice", but I don't know when that name first appeared.
  • After the end of 1910 he disappeared without a trace again.

My theory is that this Edmond Morelle raced cars and flew planes under the pseudonym "Edmond", but of course had to have his real name on the pilot's license.

 

I wonder if any of you car racing enthusiasts know anything more. "Edmond" has been discussed on this forum before, see this thread! You can find some more information also in this thread on theaerodrome.com

 

I would particularly like to know it the name "Jacques" can be confirmed. I have my doubts about "Maurice", since it could have been manufactured from the "M." for "Monsieur". Is the name Edmond Morelle familiar to car racing historians?

 

Thanks,
Anders
www.thefirstairraces.net

 



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#2 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 22:03

I have a contemporaneous source for the initial J - although not the name Jacques - which appears in 'Braunbeck's Sport-Lexikon: Automobilismus', published in Germany in 1910. He is described as "Edmond, J., franz. Rennf." - French racing driver.

 

A list of his results also appears, but there are no further clues when those are cross-referenced.



#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 16 December 2013 - 22:26

Oh, and there is also this, from 'Annual Baudry de Saunier. Manuel général de l'industrie automobile', published in Paris in 1907.

 

Edmond.jpg

 

So now you know where he lived!

 

Original source: http://cnum.cnam.fr/...302/100/946/0/0



#4 Anders1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:05

Oh, and there is also this, from 'Annual Baudry de Saunier. Manuel général de l'industrie automobile', published in Paris in 1907.

 

Edmond.jpg

 

So now you know where he lived!

 

Original source: http://cnum.cnam.fr/...302/100/946/0/0

Thanks for looking!

I'll pop in and see him next time I visit the Paris area! :)

 

Seriously, I again note that even though that book was published at a time when "Edmond" must have been well-known, his entry, as opposed to most other persons mentioned in that book, doesn't mention a first name or even an initial. I still think it might have been a pseudonym.

 

I'll continue checking my old aviation magazines...

Anders



#5 Anders1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 08:15

I checked the address and it turns out 139, rue du Point-du-Jour in Boulogne-Billancourt was the address of the Renault head office.

 

Anders



#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 17:13

Heh, I should have recognised that address :blush:

 

I've just trawled through a whole bunch of stuff on Gallica. Quite a few mentions of Edmond in race results in the contemporary press, but never an initial. Just 'Edmond'.

 

However, I did find a reference to Edmond Morelle in the August 3rd 1912 edition of l'Aéro. He was admitted to membership of the Aéro-Club de France, apparently at the same time as the rather more famous Maurice Guillaux. See column 2, near the bottom:

 

http://gallica.bnf.f...=morelle.langEN

 

The August 19th 1913 issue also has a reference to a Monsieur Morelle, described as "délégué du Comité aéronautique". See the article headed 'Les Fêtes de Commercy' in column 3:

 

http://gallica.bnf.f...=morelle.langEN



#7 Anders1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 18:34

I guess we have both made the same searches on Gallica...

I drew nothing on Jacques Edmond, and for J. Edmond I found a guy who had been injured when falling off his bicycle...

Edmond Morelle was apparently granted his balloonist license in 1914.

 

Now to the old paper magazines...

Anders



#8 Anders1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 20:48

"The Aero", Vol III, No. 64, August 10th, 1910 yielded this image of A. Edmond:

 

aedmond.jpg

 

He is also called A. Edmond in a preview article about the Lanark aviation meeting in the same issue.

Can't say it made things easier...

Anders



#9 Anders1

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Posted 17 December 2013 - 21:56

..and here's a passage from "Flugsport", Vol. II, No. 15, August 3rd, 1910:

 

edmondfs.JPG

 

"Edmond"'s name is within quote marks...

Anders



#10 Isettaulrich

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 11:12

Hallo, I just read your Topic. I have reworked my Late brothers book "The race Bugatti missed" under the new title "Paris Madrid Das Größte Rennen aller Zeiten" (the greatest race of all times) and I added also some short biographys of some drivers of the Paris Madrid race. As Edmond is on the title of the new edition of the book. I tried to write a biography about him. But I found nearly nothing. So some weeks ago I searched for the Paris Berlin race 1901 and suddenly there was in the AAZ Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung the Darracq driver Edmond Morell mentioned as works driver. So I think Edmond Morell was Edmond.
The regulations for french racing said, that a driver could have an alias name, but he had to keep the Name allways. It would be nice to get a foto of Edmond Morelle, than it could be proven, that its one Person. I will search the article in the AAZ again and send a copy.

Thomas Ulrich

#11 ensign14

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 11:24

We tried finding out something about him before - see here.  No definitive conclusion, although all the records insist on just "Edmond".  One of Peter Helck's books has him as J. Edmond in the index.



#12 Allan Lupton

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 14:43

We tried finding out something about him before - see here.  No definitive conclusion, although all the records insist on just "Edmond".  One of Peter Helck's books has him as J. Edmond in the index.

TASO Mathieson has him as J Edmond (drove Renault c/no. 3B in 1906 GP) without quotation marks whereas "Pierry" and "de la Touloubre"



#13 Vitesse2

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 16:07

Well, yes. But he was writing sixty years after the event - and it might be that the error (if it is an error) - that his initial was J goes all the way back to 1910 and Braunbeck. Which is directly contradicted by The Aero from the same year ...



#14 Anders1

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 16:47

Hallo, I just read your Topic. I have reworked my Late brothers book "The race Bugatti missed" under the new title "Paris Madrid Das Größte Rennen aller Zeiten" (the greatest race of all times) and I added also some short biographys of some drivers of the Paris Madrid race. As Edmond is on the title of the new edition of the book. I tried to write a biography about him. But I found nearly nothing. So some weeks ago I searched for the Paris Berlin race 1901 and suddenly there was in the AAZ Allgemeine Automobil Zeitung the Darracq driver Edmond Morell mentioned as works driver. So I think Edmond Morell was Edmond.
The regulations for french racing said, that a driver could have an alias name, but he had to keep the Name allways. It would be nice to get a foto of Edmond Morelle, than it could be proven, that its one Person. I will search the article in the AAZ again and send a copy.

Thomas Ulrich

 

Thank you for posting, Thomas! I think the evidence that "Edmond" was Edmond Morelle is getting stronger and stronger. If you find any more mentions of Morelle please let us know!

Anders



#15 Michael Ferner

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 19:15

Thanks for some extraordinary research, folks!

#16 Doug Nye

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 18:03

Good stuff.  Without checking wasn't it the unfortunate Edmond who suffered terribly during the 1906 Grand Prix from a mix of tar and road grit which penetrated his goggles and got into his eyes? Mixed with perspiration this corrosive cocktail literally made his eyes water. It was reportedly desperately painful for him. During a late pit stop the Renault pit crew sluiced his inflamed eyes with cold water, mildly salted, then gave him a bracing dose of brandy, followed by a numbing dose of cocaine...and sent him on his way.  

 

Brandy and cocaine during a GP pit stop just sticks in my mind.  

 

Concerns were different then...

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 13 October 2014 - 18:03.


#17 Anders1

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 18:11

 

During a late pit stop the Renault pit crew sluiced his inflamed eyes with cold water, mildly salted, then gave him a bracing dose of brandy, followed by a numbing dose of cocaine...and sent him on his way.  

 

Brandy and cocaine during a GP pit stop just sticks in my mind.  

 

Concerns were different then...

 

I guess it would take more than brandy and cocaine to make me drive one of those cars at that kind of speed on those roads... :eek:

Anders



#18 Anders1

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 22:45

I have now seen the list of entrants in the 1901 Paris-Berlin race found by Thomas Ulrich and I think it proves that the real name of "Edmond" was Edmond Morelle. The connection between the pseudonym and the name is clearly there in auto racing and the evidence in aviation is so strong that I can't believe it's a coincidence.

 

It's pretty cool that a mystery like that can be solved after more than 100 years!

 

Anders



#19 Laurent Friry

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 19:54

I have did some search and to tell you the truth I’m not convinced that « Edmond » was indeed Edmond Morelle.
 
Edmond Morelle, the member of the Aero club de France, lived in Commercy, Lorraine (département de la Meuse). I have found in the 1914 Aero-club member roster that his address was place de l’Hôtel de ville at Commercy. Actually this is the address of the town hall as Morelle was the president of the council of this city.
 
208zq10.jpg
 
Then, I found that Edmond Morelle was made knight of the Legion d’Honneur on November 20, 1920. In his file, that is available on line at the French National Archives site, there is a short biography and I’ve seen that Morelle was born on March 18, 1874, in Triconville (Meuse). Albeit coming from a quite modest family (his father was a shoemaker), Morelle was PhD in medicine and pharmacy from Paris University. These are quite long studies and we can consider that Morelle left high school to university, after the bachelor degree, when he was 18 years old, so in 1892; then there is a minimum of 8 years to be granted Doctor plus 2 years for military service, we are then in about 1902.
 
10rjsie.jpg
 
At the same time “Edmond” already raced for Darracq and then to Renault, a few year later. 
 
So I’m afraid that the true identity of “Edmond” still remains mysterious, at least for the time being.


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#20 Anders1

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 17:54

Very interesting!

I still think the name of Edmond Morelle on the list of participants of the 1901 Paris-Berlin race is pretty strong evidence.

 

There might have been more than one Edmond Morelle. The one who was granted a pilot's licence in 1910 was stated as born on 3 July 1880.

It always seemed a bit strange that somebody who had raced automobiles and aeroplanes would get into the very genteel sport of ballooning.

 

While searchin on Gallica I found a reference to one Edmond Morelle of Amiens who went missing in action on 10 November 1914 at Lizerne. He was a "soldat" and belonged to the 5th company of the 151st or 351st regiment. It might or might not be relevant...

 

Anders



#21 Anders1

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 18:14

I just found the list of entrants for the 1910 Lanark aviation meeting in Flight magazine. I gives "Morelle" as one of the entrants, but no "Edmond", while the reports of the meeting mention "Edmond" in several places.

 

Anders



#22 Anders1

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 18:56


 

While searchin on Gallica I found a reference to one Edmond Morelle of Amiens who went missing in action on 10 November 1914 at Lizerne. He was a "soldat" and belonged to the 5th company of the 151st or 351st regiment. It might or might not be relevant...

 

...it probably wasn't. That Edmond Morelle was born 1882-08-25, see this page.



#23 ensign14

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 19:19

.

There might have been more than one Edmond Morelle. The one who was granted a pilot's licence in 1910 was stated as born on 3 July 1880.

It always seemed a bit strange that somebody who had raced automobiles and aeroplanes would get into the very genteel sport of ballooning.

 

It was a bit more rad in those days.  The first race at Indianapolis was a balloon race, and the Gordon Bennett Cup had a radical formula change from cars to balloons in 1906.



#24 Vitesse2

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 20:35

I just found the list of entrants for the 1910 Lanark aviation meeting in Flight magazine. I gives "Morelle" as one of the entrants, but no "Edmond", while the reports of the meeting mention "Edmond" in several places.

 

Anders

The preview published in The Times of July 28th 1910 gives "Edmond" - in double quotation marks. In the reports he is variously M Edmond or Mr Edmond.



#25 Anders1

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Posted 29 October 2014 - 21:15

It was a bit more rad in those days.  The first race at Indianapolis was a balloon race, and the Gordon Bennett Cup had a radical formula change from cars to balloons in 1906.

...and further on to airplanes in 1909...

Yeah, I know of several who went from ballooning to aeroplanes, but not the other way around?



#26 Anders1

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Posted 30 October 2014 - 18:53

It was a bit more rad in those days.  The first race at Indianapolis was a balloon race, and the Gordon Bennett Cup had a radical formula change from cars to balloons in 1906.

 

I can accept going from cars and airplanes to balloons, but to the "Société Botanique de France" see this page? That's not very macho! :)