ImageThe pilots of SPA 124 Escadrille Lafayette on 10 July 1917 at Chaudun, France.

While en route to a duty station from the front at Verdun, a few Lafayette pilots spent some much needed R&R time in Paris. While in the city, they thought it would be interesting to have a squadron mascot, so they immediately seized the opportunity, when it presented itself, to buy a lion cub for 500 francs. “Whiskey”, the cub, was named for the fact that he apparently seemed to enjoy lapping up whiskey from a saucer plate, provided by the pilots. The men later bought a female lion cub named “Soda” as a companion for Whiskey. From then on, Whiskey and Soda effectively functioned as the mascots for the Lafayette Escadrille.

Fighter ace Raoul Lufbery (look out for our tribute to him later this year) was Whiskey’s favorite human friend and followed him around like a tame pet. The two were inseparable at the airfield and barracks. When the two lions grew too big, however, the heartbreaking task of delivering the two mascots to a Parisian zoo was left up to Lufbery.

About Ian D'Costa (240 Articles)
Ian is the editor-in-chief of the Tactical Air Network. His work has been republished and quoted in a number of publications, including The Toronto Star, Airsoc, Business Insider and The Aviationist. You can reach him at

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