Roland Garros

Born on Reunion Island

culture

A pioneer of civil aviation

Roland Garros, born 6th October 1888 in Saint-Denis on Reunion Island, is one of French aviation's pioneers. Aged 12, he returned to Metropolitan France with this parents. He practised several sports: football, cycling (French champion in 1906), then tennis. A brilliant student, Roland Garros succeeded in the HEC entrance exam, and graduated from the management school in 1908. He was 22 when he discovered his vocation: aviation.
This locally-born lad realised his dream when he bought a Santos-Dumont "Demoiselle" aircraft in 1909. After passing his pilot's licence, he collected exploits and worked to break world-altitude records. He participated in several races: Paris-Rome, Paris-Madrid, the European Circuit, and set records...
But the real exploit dates from 1913, when he made the first crossing over the Mediterranean and the first Marseille-Bizerte (Tunisia) flight, over Corsica and Sardinia. He participated actively in the Great War, inventing the method for operating a machine gun between propeller blades. He was a member of the Guynemer flight squadron, les Cigognes. One month before the armistice in 1918, Roland Garros was killed in air combat near Vouziers, where he is buried.
 
To pay tribute to his friend, tennis enthusiast, and a classmate from HEC management school, Emile Lesieur, President of the French stadium at the time, decided to name the tennis complex located at porte d'Auteuil after Roland Garros.
The venue, built to host the Davis Cup, redeemed for France by the Musketeers, was completed in 1927 and named Stade Roland Garros in 1928. Since, the tennis complex has hosted the Paris international tennis championships.
 
To honour the memory of Roland Garros, in 1926 the city of Saint-Denis in Reunion mounted a statue on the place du 20 décembre 1848 in Barachois. Many sites on the island bear his name: rue Roland Garros, brasserie Roland Garros in a building of the Compagnie des Indes, La Réunion Roland Garros international airport.
Roland Garros, born 6th October 1888 in Saint-Denis on Reunion Island, is one of French aviation's pioneers. Aged 12, he returned to Metropolitan France with this parents. He practised several sports: football, cycling (French champion in 1906), then tennis. A brilliant student, Roland Garros succeeded in the HEC entrance exam, and graduated from the management school in 1908. He was 22 when he discovered his vocation: aviation.
This locally-born lad realised his dream when he bought a Santos-Dumont "Demoiselle" aircraft in 1909. After passing his pilot's licence, he collected exploits and worked to break world-altitude records. He participated in several races: Paris-Rome, Paris-Madrid, the European Circuit, and set records...
But the real exploit dates from 1913, when he made the first crossing over the Mediterranean and the first Marseille-Bizerte (Tunisia) flight, over Corsica and Sardinia. He participated actively in the Great War, inventing the method for operating a machine gun between propeller blades. He was a member of the Guynemer flight squadron, les Cigognes. One month before the armistice in 1918, Roland Garros was killed in air combat near Vouziers, where he is buried.
 
To pay tribute to his friend, tennis enthusiast, and a classmate from HEC management school, Emile Lesieur, President of the French stadium at the time, decided to name the tennis complex located at porte d'Auteuil after Roland Garros.
The venue, built to host the Davis Cup, redeemed for France by the Musketeers, was completed in 1927 and named Stade Roland Garros in 1928. Since, the tennis complex has hosted the Paris international tennis championships.
 
To honour the memory of Roland Garros, in 1926 the city of Saint-Denis in Reunion Island mounted a statue on the place du 20 décembre 1848 in Barachois. Many sites on the island bear his name: rue Roland Garros, brasserie Roland Garros in a building of the Compagnie des Indes, La Réunion Roland Garros international airport.