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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. In the Navy he learned to box and enjoyed the sport, which resulted in his following the profession for a time after leaving the Service. 

In 1911 Bocquel became a laundry truck driver at Oakland, California. That year he saw Frank Bryant and Silas Christofferson flying at Sunset Field near Alameda and at once became interested in aviation. His interest grew and he approached Christofferson about flying instruction, only to learn he could not afford it. Christofferson liked Bocquel so a deal was worked out so that he could pay for lessons by working as a mechanic during his spare time. In this way he learned about planes and slowly learned to fly from Harry Christofferson. 

In 1915 the Christoffersons moved their aviation business and flying 

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