The N561 was, in the swpring of 1915, one of thr first units sent by the French to aid their ailing Italian allies. This mainly Nieuport equiped (the “N” was from Nieuport) fighter unit enjoyed modest military success; not their fault, the Italian front was quite “cold” at that time in the air.
Based at Venise, on the famous Lido, the N561 members scored better in their ample free time: social calls; the incomparable city; luxurious accomodations,… Their aircrafts were a reflexion of the unit “easy” situation. The N561 had some of the most elaborated and imaginative artwork ever seen on French aircrafts of that era. My favorite is, by far, s/lt Jean Bignon’s 24bis of late 1917. His faune playing a flute is simply irresitible.
Things became hotter -thanks to the Germans- by the time Bignon was flying his faune, but that’s another story.
As we say here in Spain: “Cuando el perro se aburre con el rabo mata moscas” / “When the dog is bored with its tail kills flies”.
Artist: © Pierre-Andre Tilley