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Pioneer French-American Exhibition Aviator

Joe Bocquel was reportedly born in Normandy, France in 1884. At age 14 he ran away from home and went to Bordeaux where he shipped out as a cabin boy on a vessel bound for South Africa. From available information he made three round trips in this service then went to London, England. Shortly after he signed aboard a British trawler for New York. After a time there he enlisted in the United States Navy aboard the destroyer CHICAGO. 

Bocquel developed an early interest in aviation, then really got the bug to fly while watching the Christofferson brothers at their hangar in San Francisco during the 1913-1914 period. Bocquel was then employed as a laundry delivery truck driver, and became a pupil of the Christofferson Flying School in the spring of 1915. The school was operated from the beach and there Bocquel received flying instruction from Harry Christofferson.

For some time Lincoln Beachey had been Bocquel's ideal, and his interest in flying seemed to have developed around the dream of his becoming Beachey's equal in acrobatic exhibition flying. By July, 1915 Bocquel was flying well and was planning on starting to loop soon. At that time the Christoffersons

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