(Newport News, Virginia, March 11, 1896 – Washington, D.C., March 16, 1971).1
Landon’s father, William Henry Landon, was born in England and came to the U.S. in 1884. He settled in Newport News, Virginia, at the mouth of the James River, where he worked for the Old Dominion Steamship Company. In 1891 he married Elizabeth Braxton Ficklen, descendant of an old Virginia family; they had four children. Edward Carter Braxton Landon (who in later life seldom used his second middle name) was their second child and the second of two sons.2
By 1910, the family was living in Wythe, just south of Newport News, and Landon attended nearby Hampton High School, where he was manager of the school baseball team.3 According to a biography of him from the twenties, he attended Randolph-Macon College and was also, at least briefly, at the University of Georgia, where he studied agriculture.4 His true vocation was evidently the military, and when a field artillery unit of men from Hampton, Newport News, and nearby towns was organized in 1915, he was among the first to enlist (November 6, 1915) in “Battery D.”5 Activities for the first six months or so involved drilling one evening a week. In June 1916 Battery D learned that it should “be prepared to move on arrival of Orders” because of the continuing tense situation on the U.S.–Mexico border.6 After some months camped at Richmond, Virginia, Battery D, presumably including Landon, left for Texas, where they were stationed from October 1916 through the following March.7 (I find no record indicating whether Landon was able to return when his father died in January.) When the U.S. declared war on Germany shortly after the return of the unit, the men of Battery D were assigned to protect shipping installations at Newport News. Landon, however, was ready for a different adventure and, along with his fellow Newport News native, Pryor Richardson Perkins, transferred to aviation. He and Perkins were enrolled in the School of Military Aeronautics at Ohio State University and graduated from ground school there on September 1, 1917.
Along with most of his O.S.U. classmates, Landon chose or was chosen to train in Italy, and he joined the 150 men of the “Italian” or “second Oxford detachment” who sailed to England on the Carmania. They departed New York for Halifax on September 18, 1917, and departed Halifax as part of a convoy for the Atlantic crossing on September 21, 1917. When the Carmania docked at Liverpool on October 2, 1917, the men learned to their initial consternation that they were not to go to Italy, but to remain in England and repeat ground school at the Royal Flying Corps’s No. 2 School of Military Aeronautics at Oxford University.
On November 3, 1917, most of the detachment, including Landon, went to Grantham in Lincolnshire to attend gunnery school at Harrowby Camp. Fifty of these men departed on November 19, 1917, for flying schools, but Landon was among the men who remained at Grantham until early December and completed two two-week machine gun courses, the first on the Vickers, the second on the Lewis machine gun.
On December 3, 1917, the remaining men at Grantham were posted to squadrons. Landon, along with Robert Jenkins Griffith, Harrison Barbour Irwin, Robert Thomas Palmer, Perkins, Hilary Baker Rex, and Albert Sidney Woolfolk (all of whom, with the exception of Rex, had been in Landon’s O.S.U. ground school class), was assigned to No. 50 Squadron in Kent, which was a home defense rather than a training squadron.8 Its available aircraft at the turn of the year included the B.E.2e and the A.W. FK.8, both two-seaters used for reconnaissance and bombing, and the B.E.12b, a single-seater night fighter.9 The squadron’s headquarters was at Harrietsham, near Maidstone, but its flights were at this time detached to Bekesbourne and Detling. Griffith, Irwin, and Woolfolk went to C flight at Bekesbourne near Canterbury, while Landon, along with Palmer, Perkins, and Rex, was assigned to B flight at Detling.9a
Palmer’s pilot’s flying log book and one of his letters home provide some information about the men’s time at No. 50.9b The weather was, of course, not often good for flying at this time of year. Nevertheless, Palmer was able to put in a little time as a passenger in both a B.E.2e and an A.W., and Landon was perhaps able to do the same. Palmer’s log book indicates that these were in the main joy rides rather than instructional flights.
Towards the end of January 1918 Landon, along with Palmer, Perkins, Rex, and Woolfolk, was posted to No. 5 Training Depot Squadron at Easton on the Hill near Stamford.9c Finally able to start actual flying instruction, he probably flew a B.E.2d and/or a B.E.2e dual initially and then moved on to a DH.6 before beginning to fly solo and passing the various tests required for graduation from this stage of R.F.C. training. In mid-February he had the unhappy duty of serving, along with John Joseph Devery, Perkins, Rex, Wilbur Carleton Suiter, and Woolfolk, as a pall bearer at the funeral of their fellow second Oxford detachment member Clark Brockway Nichol, who had been killed at 5 T.D.S. on February 18, 1918.9d
By late March 1918 Landon had progressed enough to be recommended for his commission as a first lieutenant; the cable belatedly confirming the appointment is dated May 13, 1918.10 Landon was placed on active duty on May 30, 1918.11 A passing remark in Harold Ernest Goettler’s diary (“Ed Landon who was at Sedgeford”) indicates that Landon trained at Sedgeford in Norfolk, perhaps at No. 9 Training Squadron or No. 110 Squadron, at either of which he would have had the opportunity to fly DH.4s (two-seater aircraft used for reconnaissance and bombing).11a A brief post-war biography indicates that he also trained at a “School of Aerial Fighting and Gunnery”—presumably either the school that operated out of Ayr and Turnberry or the one at Marske.11b
In July the arrival of American built DH-4s in France generated a need for American pilots already trained on the British DH.4.12 Landon was among those sent to France to meet the demand. He spent some time initially at the American 3rd Aviation Instruction Center at Issoudun.13 From there he was assigned to the U.S. 135th Aero Squadron.
The enlisted men of the 135th, who had become versed in working with the DH.4 while they were stationed in England, arrived on July 19, 1918, at Amanty, on what was about to be designated the American front in the war.14 On July 29, 1918, the squadron moved the short distance north from Amanty to Ourches-sur-Meuse and thus to just a few miles west of Toul. The next day the squadron’s observers, who had begun arriving a few days earlier, drove over to the U.S. 1st Air Depot at Colombey-les-Belles where planes awaited. Landon and eleven other pilots arrived at Ourches that same day, and they, too, took road transport to Colombey-les-Belles to join the observers in inspecting the aircraft and to fly planes back to Ourches. Landon and his fellow pilot, Wilbur Carleton Suiter—also a second Oxford detachment member—were mapless and got lost, but followed two likely planes to an aerodrome, which turned out to be theirs at Ourches.15
Observer and squadron historian Percival Gray Hart describes the early part of August: “These were happy carefree days, when we flew as often as we wanted to: the pilots getting the feel of the new planes; the observers studying their maps. . . . In our spare time we walked to the little nearby villages and learned where the best food and wine could be had; went swimming in the Meuse, right outside the barracks. . . .”16 The pilots were divided into three flights, A, B, and C, with Landon appointed leader of C flight. Theoretically each flight had seven planes and the same number of pilots and observers; there was later also a D flight.17 However, as pilot Donald Brown Cole later recalled, “we never had a full complement of pilots until about ten days after the Armistice.”18 The inadequate staffing and the flight assignments were perhaps of less import to the 135th than they would have been to a pursuit squadron, as the planes often went out singly or in formations of three to five; smaller numbers were thought to attract less attention.
On August 9, 1918, with much fanfare, the squadron made its first sortie, billed as the “first use made of the DH-4 airplane fitted with the Liberty engine on the western front.”19 Under overcast skies, Alexander Blair Thaw, commanding officer of the 135th, flying with Chief of Air Service Brigadier General Benjamin Foulois, led the flight up through the clouds to execute a large semi-circle and then head home—plans to cross the lines, which could not be discerned due to the cloud cover, having been scrapped. The flight was filmed, and can be viewed on footage preserved in the National Archives.20
The squadron began conducting artillery adjustment missions and prepared to perform infantry liaison and counter battery, which would be required of them during the St. Mihiel Offensive.21 And they undertook extensive reconnaissance and photographic work for IV Corps of the American First Army, seeking to obtain as much information as possible about their portion of the St. Mihiel salient. Cole recalled that “We made daybreak patrol trips of our sector of the Front to try to learn of any enemy troop or material movements during the night which would expose themselves if they had not been completed. With the same motive we made sun-down patrols to catch a night movement which was gathering preparatory to a start at dusk. We continually made photographs of enemy depots and facilities, gun emplacements, etc., to detect change.”22
The missions involved anywhere from one to five planes: the plane assigned to do the reconnaissance or photography and perhaps two, three, or four planes accompanying them for protection, looking out for enemy aircraft—which was difficult for the plane doing the reconnaissance or photography, as the pilot had to pay attention to where he was flying and the observer had his eyes on the ground. On August 15, 1918, for example—the first mission flown by Landon of which I find a record—“[observer William Elmer] Lynd went on reconnaissance with Cole. Thaw with [Robert Donald] Likely as observer and Landon and Suiter (observers not known) were protection. Flew over Thiaucourt at 15,000 ft. Saw Metz in distance. Passed two Huns at a distance and exchanged shots but no damage.”23
Ten days later two teams, Landon with observer Richard McDonald Scott, Jr. and Suiter with observer Leo Alphonsus Smith, flew protection for Walker Marshall Jagoe and Lynd, who were charged with “filling in a few of the blank spaces on the map.”24 The three planes took off at 10:50 a.m. and flew about sixteen miles north to Lahayville just inside the German lines and then turned northeast to fly over the blank spaces “along the line Essey, Euvezin and Bouillonville” which the 89th Infantry Division (part of IV Corps of the American First Army) would be fighting to take in a little over two weeks.25 Despite having spotted enemy planes far to the north, Lynd took the photos as Jagoe flew at about 10,000 feet. At Bouillonville they turned back south. It was at this point that four German Pfalz aircraft attacked, diving from about 12,000 feet and firing at Suiter and Smith, who were flying behind the camera plane. Suiter and Smith’s plane was hit. Observer Smith fired back until his guns jammed. Just as he cleared the jam, he was wounded in the thigh. Nevertheless, he continued firing until his guns jammed again—at which point he mimed firing rather than let the enemy planes realize his trouble by seeing him struggle with his guns. Landon, seeing that Jagoe and Lynd were well on their way south with the photographs, went to the assistance of Suiter and Smith and their damaged plane. Landon had earlier test fired his own guns, which had promptly jammed, “so he went into a climbing turn to give Scotty an opportunity to get in a couple of good bursts into the Pfalz D.III’s, who decided that they had enough and broke off the fight.”26 Suiter was able to set his crippled plane down inside friendly territory; Suiter and Smith “waved to Landon who had followed them down, letting him know they were OK.”27
Poor weather the next two days restricted flying. On the 28th (or 29th?) the men enjoyed a dance hosted by the nurses of Base Hospital No. 116 at Bazoilles-sur-Meuse, about twenty-five miles to the south of Ourches. Landon was part of a small delegation who “motored down from Ourches” to Amanty the evening before to invite men in the 50th Aero Squadron to join them.27a He and observer Hart were the unfortunate team assigned a 5 a.m. reconnaissance the morning after the lively and well-lubricated evening. Low clouds forced them to fly below 200 feet and, unaccustomed to viewing the earth from this altitude, they got lost but eventually found their way back to the aerodrome.28
During the early days of September many missions were flown regardless of weather, and the men worked hard to prepare for the approaching St. Mihiel Offensive. The offensive opened at 1 a.m. on September 12, 1918, with an artillery barrage. At 5 a.m., before dawn and in pouring rain, American infantry began their advance, and the observation squadrons attached to IV Corps had orders to be up in the air assisting. There were provisions “in the event the Hour H is such that Observation is impossible,” but the men of the 135th proceeded to fly regardless “under weather conditions which would ordinarily have been considered impossible.”29 The first plane from the 135th took off at 5 a.m., and, over the course of the day, nearly all pilots and observers flew two, and in some cases, three missions.30 Landon with observer Perry Henry Aldrich flew an infantry contact patrol at 6:30 and flew again at 10:50.31 On one of these flights, “As they flew over the Bois de Mort Mare they discovered a German machine gun nest in a railroad cut holding up the advance of our troops. Aldrich wrote a message, showing the exact location of the nest on a hastily drawn map, and dropped it to the infantry; then Landon dove, and the two fliers poured down bullets until the Huns who were not killed or wounded, scattered. Proceeding further over the retreating enemy they fired into them and caused particular confusion by stampeding some horse-drawn artillery units.”32
The St. Mihiel Offensive lasted five days, with most of the successful advance taking place in the first thirty-six hours. By the 16th, the headquarters of the 89th Infantry Division was at Euvezin—one of the “blank spaces on the map” in the St. Mihiel salient that the 135th had helped fill in.33 The squadron was now assigned to gather information about the new German lines and the area behind them; the front now ran approximately twenty-two miles from Norroy on the Moselle northwest to Maizeray.34
The Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which began on September 26, 1918, does not loom as large in accounts of the squadron as St. Mihiel. There were plans for the 135th to participate in a “diversionary action to be launched just prior to the jump off in the Meuse-Argonne Forests, which the Army Command hoped would confuse the Germans.”35 “Everybody was assigned to fly twice, with the first planes scheduled to leave before daybreak,” but this was rendered impracticable by fog the morning of September 26, 1918.36 Reports came in that the fog did not extend far, and Charles Carvel Fleet, with Hart as his observer, set out at 10:30. Landon with Aldrich were next on an infantry contact mission. On their return, they “reported that they had shot up an army cart which was being driven into Dommartin, causing a runaway and a great deal of local confusion. They had been fired at by countless machine guns, and had fifteen bullet holes in their plane.”37 Landon had probably flown over Dommartin-la-Chaussée, just barely inside the German lines.
Two days after the opening of the Meuse-Argonne offensive, the 135th was ordered to move to Toul, which the squadron did on September 29, 1918. They quickly came to appreciate the less primitive living conditions at Toul as well as the amenities of nearby Nancy. The squadron was once again occupied mainly with reconnaissance and photographic missions.
Not long after their arrival at Toul, there was a request for photos of the forts to the south of Metz that protected that strategically important city. After a period of bad weather, a photographic plane of the 135th set out with two other planes for protection on October 9, 1918, to photograph “Arneville [sic; sc. Arnaville], Mardigny, and surrounding points, about midway between the Allied lines and Metz.”38 They had completed part of the mission when a flight of Fokkers interrupted and pursued them back towards the lines. Jagoe and observer Scott, in one of the protection planes, were credited with downing a Fokker D.VII; all three DH-4s arrived back at the aerodrome with bullet holes.39
Another attempt to get the requested photos was undertaken the next day around 2 p.m.40 Evidently made wary and wise by the preceding day’s encounter, the squadron, exceptionally, sent out six planes in two flights. Jagoe with observer Scott, flying the photographic plane, led the lower flight of three planes, while Landon with observer Aldrich led the second flight above them. Scott recalled that “Several squadrons of British bombers had gone over en masse ahead of us and dropped their bombs on Metz. As a result all the German protection squadrons in the vicinity had taken the air.”41 Indeed, both this day and the preceding, two squadrons of the Independent Air Force, Nos. 99 and 104, targeted railway sidings at Metz; on the 10th they had set off just before 1 p.m.42 Scott continues:
We had hardly started the first strip of photographs when we saw them [the Fokkers] coming up, several groups at various altitudes. Two planes were in advance, and before we could finish the strip they were on our level. The scheme of defense worked perfectly. Landon charged down at the head of the upper formation, which the Fokkers had apparently not seen, and we virtually had them surrounded. They must have been ambitious and inexperienced pilots, because instead of diving gracefully out of the mess they tried to fight it out. One of them got on Landon’s tail, and Aldrich fired back at him, while [Frank Camm] Drummond and myself shot up from a short distance underneath. He didn’t have a chance . . . and we watched him crash into the ground near Arry.43
The other of the two Fokkers may have fared slightly better but was no longer a threat. However, there were more enemy aircraft in the vicinity, and the 135th’s two formations had been split up. An attempt was made to continue photographing but was soon prudently abandoned. “The 2nd General Orders of the 2nd Army Air Headquarters . . . credited Landon, Aldrich, Drummond, Likely, Jagoe and Scott with the destruction of one of the planes on October 10th.”44
Landon, like many of his fellow pilots, was apparently always interested in trying out different planes. Soon after his arrival at Toul, he’d had the opportunity to fly a French Nieuport, and in mid-October he flew a captured German Rumpler, a two-seater observation plane. “Landon decided to take it up for a little trial spin. He did not get very far, however, for the propeller broke and he was forced to land in a field across the main highway.”45
Landon and Aldrich had gained a reputation as a good team, frequently selected by the squadron’s operations officer for missions—which were becoming increasingly difficult in hazy October weather as well as increasingly dangerous.46 Although it was becoming apparent that the war would not last much longer, “The Fokkers initiated a reign of vigilance along our Front such as we had never witnessed, even during our most active days. No Liberty [DH-4] was allowed to approach the lines without being subjected to attack.”47 When, on October 29, 1918, the assignment was to be made for a “special reconnaissance called for by Corps Headquarters, to report on troop movements along the roads near Mars-la-Tour, which might verify the rumor that the Germans were withdrawing,” the squadron knew it would be dangerous. Landon was initially tapped to fly one of four protection planes, but when “informed of the nature of the mission, Landon questioned the advisability of having a whole formation do the work” and proposed that he and observer Aldrich fly it alone.48 It was agreed.
There are several accounts of the mission.49 The two by Landon differ significantly from the others, including from the one by Hart. Landon recalls being asked to fly the whole sector, while the other accounts indicate that it was the northern end that was to be surveyed. Hart, as operations officer, assigned the mission and might be expected to recall its extent, but Landon, of course, flew it and presumably had it fresh in his memory when he wrote about it to Aldrich’s mother in early 1919. The other account by Landon, included by Hart in History of the 135th Aero Squadron, is more detailed but similar in outline. What follows is largely based on Landon’s accounts, which I assume are accurate.
Had the mission in fact been confined to the vicinity of Mars-la-Tour at the northwestern end of the IV Corps sector, the outcome might have been different. But according to Landon, “we were given a deep reconnaissance [mission] of the whole corps’ front at a very low altitude,” i.e. from near Maizeray in the northwest to Norroy on the Moselle to the southeast.50 They were “to fly visual reconnaissance at 2,500 ft. parallel to lines (northwest to southeast) about 12 miles back of German lines.”51
Around noon Landon and Aldrich took off from Toul, flying due north, and crossed the lines at Charey, the approximate midpoint of the sector.52 There they encountered a German Rumpler observation plane. “I attacked it and drove it back 12 miles, then shot it down at long range (100 to 125 yards).”53 They then began their reconnaissance of the area of the lines to the northwest, flying up to the north of LaChaussée, where they encountered and discouraged another Rumpler, but also: “Passed German airdrome and saw several Fokkers taking off.”54 Landon and Aldrich apparently then crossed back into friendly territory. Landon later recollected that he was ready to call it quits, but that Aldrich “was more conscientious and insisted that we take the other half of the sector.”55 Landon recalled that they recrossed the lines at Rembercourt (not far from Charey) “and flew just north of where the Rupt de Mad empties into the Moselle, to the town of Noveant, hidden behind hills or small mountains, with quite a number of railroad sidings. Perry was leaning over the side of the ship, with his hands cupped over his eyes, looking into these freight yards, when we were attacked.”56 A flight of Fokkers came out of the sun, and one of their bullets struck Aldrich. Landon was suddenly without a functioning observer/gunner and had a flight of Fokkers to contend with. “I was completely cut off, flying parallel to the lines. I had to do something, so in more or less of a spirit of defiance and desperation I pulled the old ship up into a sharp right hand climbing turn right into the midst of the Huns, with both front guns blazing. That removed me as a target and put me between them and our lines. I grabbed the opportunity and headed home. . . .”57 Aldrich was still alive when they landed around 1 p.m. but died not long afterwards.
Aldrich’s death was at least the third among men with whom Landon had been closely associated. Suiter, with whom Landon had studied at O.S.U. before they both joined the second Oxford detachment, had been killed returning from a long reconnaissance for the 135th on the first day of the St. Mihiel Offensive. And Perkins, who had been in Battery D with Landon before O.S.U. and the second Oxford detachment, had died in a crash at the airfield at Maulan, about thirty miles west of Toul, on October 3, 1918.
In the latter part of October some of the planes of the 135th were outfitted with bomb racks, and they began carrying bombs. Thus it was that on November 3, 1918, Landon took part not in a reconnaissance or photography mission, but a bomb raid over Chambley, not far from LaChaussée. There were, most unusually, eleven planes in the formation. Landon recalled “We went over at around 12,000 feet, flew pretty close to our objective, and let go the hardware. Not having any bomb sights, the aim was terrible from such an altitude, and I doubt whether a single bomb lit within 5 miles of Chambley.”58
Three days after this mission, Bradley Johnson Saunders, Jr., the squadron’s commanding officer, went on leave, and Landon, who was senior flight commander, became acting C.O. That same day, November 6, 1918, there arrived a request for “a strip of photographs to be taken from Conflans to Etain,” both of which lay well behind enemy lines (beyond where Landon had flown on September 29). “It was the most hazardous mission yet assigned us. . . .”59 As on the 29th, it was decided that a single plane would attract less attention than a formation. It was further decided between acting C.O. Landon and chief observer and operations officer Hart to establish a rota of teams, so that if weather prevented the first team flying on the appointed day, November 7, 1918, the next team on the list would take the assignment the next day and so on. Landon and Hart agreed to head the list. “Fortunately, no doubt, for all concerned, it was impossible weather for photography for the next four days and the flight was never made.”60 And then the Armistice put an end to their missions.
Landon was able to return home relatively quickly; he sailed from Brest on January 10, 1919, on the Canada and arrived at Boston January 21, 1919. Among his shipmates were fellow officers from the 135th, including Cole, Fleet, and Saunders, and two men from the second Oxford detachment who had been prisoners of war, Alexander Miguel Roberts and Horace Palmer Wells.61
Landon lived in Knoxville, Tennessee, for a time after he war but eventually returned to Virginia.62 He rose to the rank of colonel in the Air Service Officers Reserve Corps; he was among those who were able to attend the reunion of the 135th Aero in 1967.
mrsmcq November 15, 2018; revised February 2020 to reflect information from Goettler’s diary
(For complete bibliographic entries, please consult the list of works and web pages cited.)
1 Landon’s date of birth is taken from Ancestry.com, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935–Current, record for Edward Landon; his place of birth is taken from Gardner, Who’s Who in American Aeronautics, p. 66. His date and place of death are taken from “Col. Edward Landon.” The photo is a detail from the group photo of his ground school class.
2 Information on Landon’s family is taken from census and other records available at Ancestry.com.
3 See Ancestry.com, 1910 United States Federal Census, record for Elwood [sic; sc. Edward] C Landon, and “Landon to Manage High School Team.”
4 Gardner, Who’s Who in American Aeronautics, p. 66, and The University of Georgia, Announcement of the University of Georgia for the Session of 1916– 1917, p. 272.
5 Sayre and Roberts, A Brief History of Battery “D”, p. 24.
6 Ibid., p. 4.
7 Ibid., passim.
8 See Foss’s list of “Cadets of Italian Detachment Posted Dec 3rd” in Foss, Papers.
9 On the planes used at 50, see Philpott, The Birth of the Royal Air Force, p. 408.
9a Rex, World War I Diary, entry for December 5, 1917.
9b Palmer, Pilot’s Flying Log Book; Palmer, Letter dated December 12, 1918.
9c I have found no official documentation for this posting of Landon’s, but Perkins’s letter of May 5, 1918, as well as Rex’s diary entry for February 21, 1918, establish Landon’s presence at 5 T.D.S.
9d Rex, World War I Diary, entry for February 21, 1918.
10 Cablegrams 834-S dated April 1, 1918, and 1303-R dated March 13, 1918.
11 McAndrew, Special Orders No. 205.
11a Goettler, diary entry for August 17, 1918.
11b Gardner, Who’s Who in American Aeronautics, p. 66.
12 Cole, “Memoirs of Lt. Donald B. Cole, 135th Aero Sqdn., USAS.,” p. 154. Conventionally “DH.4″ refers to the British built, original version of the plane, “DH-4″ to the American built plane with the “Liberty” engine.
13 Dwyer, “Memorandum No. 8 for Flying Officers.”
14 Saunders, History of the 135th Aero Squadron (Observation), pp. 63–64. On July 23, 1918, Pershing wrote in his diary that “Mott brought letter from Foch approving Toul sector for Americans” (Pershing, My Experiences in the World War, vol. 2, p. 169). .
15 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 24.
16 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 30.
17 Cole, “Memoirs of Lt. Donald B. Cole,” p. 155; Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 31.
18 Cole, “Memoirs of Lt. Donald B. Cole,” p. 159.
19 Maurer, The U.S. Air Service in World War I, vol. 1, p. 88. Maurer goes on to state that this flight took place on August 2, 1918. Photographs taken at the time, as well as the accounts by Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, pp. 31–33, and Smart, The Hawks that Guided the Guns, pp. 35–36 and 39, indicate that the flight, with fifteen planes, took place August 9, 1918. Saunders, History of the 135th Aero Squadron (Observation), p. 65, gives the date August 7, 1918; Maurer and Saunders both mention a flight of eighteen planes.
20 For the film footage, see “Aviation Activities in the A.E.F., Miscellaneous Scenes ”; for a “shot list,” see “Aviation Activities in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF).”
21 For descriptions of what these activities entailed, see Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, pp. 34 ff.
22 Cole, “Memoirs of Lt. Donald B. Cole,” p. 155.
23 From the entry for this day in “Outline for a History of the 135th Aero Squadron.” I have not located a history of the 135th that lists all the missions flown.
24 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 50. In his roster of observers on p. 157, Hart lists “Leo W. Smith”; on p. 159, he notes “Leo A. Smith” wounded in action. Sloan, Wings of Honor, has “Leon A. Smith.” I am fairly confident of having correctly identified the observer as Leo Alphonsus Smith (Fallsington, Pennsylvania, 1895–Trenton, New Jersey, 1966).
25 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 51.
26 Smart, The Hawks that Guided the Guns, p. 44.
27 Ibid. My account of this mission relies on the accounts provided in the works cited by Hart and Smart. The account on p. 66 of Saunders, History of the 135th Aero Squadron (Observation), differs somewhat and does not mention Landon.
27a Goettler, diary entry for August 28, 1918, regarding the invitation for the dance the next day. Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, indicates the dance took place on the 28th; Goettler’s diary indicates it was the 29th.
28 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 54.
29 See Maurer, ed., The U.S. Air Service in World War I, vol. 3, pp. 166–67 for their operations orders for that day. See Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, Chapter 4, passim; quotation from p. 73.
30 “Outline for a History of the 135th Aero Squadron” gives 5 as the time of the first plane’s departure; Smart, The Hawks that Guided the Guns, p. 46, gives 4:45. See Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 73, on the number of missions flown by each team.
31 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 64, mentions only the 6:30 mission; “Outline for a History of the 135th Aero Squadron” lists the two.
32 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, pp. 64–65.
33 Ibid., p. 83
35 Smart, The Hawks that Guided the Guns, p. 50.
36 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 93.
37 Ibid., p. 95.
38 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 108, quotes Scott’s description.
39 Ibid., pp. 108–12 and .
40 The time is given by Leland Durwood Schock, quoted on p. 115 of Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron.
41 Scott, quoted on p. 113 of Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron.
42 Rennles, Independent Force, pp. 158–62.
43 Scott, quoted on p. 113 of Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron.
44 Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 114.
45 Ibid., pp. 103 and 123.
46 Ibid., p. 130.
47 Ibid., p. 130.
48 Ibid., p. 131.
49 The accounts are Hart’s on p. 131 of his History of the 135th Aero Squadron; the description under the relevant date of “Outline for a History of the 135th Aero Squadron” (possibly by Hart); Saunders’s account on p. 69 of History of the 135th Aero Squadron (Observation), which is essentially the same as Aldrich’s D.S.C. citation (reproduced on p. 50 of Ticknor, New England Aviators 1914–1918, vol. 2); Smart’s account on p 55 of The Hawks that Guided the Guns; Landon’s letter, partially reproduced in “An Airman’s Death”; and Landon’s fuller account, reproduced on pp. 131–33 of Hart’s History of the 135th Aero Squadron.
50 “An Airman’s Death.”
51 Landon in Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 131.
52 For the start and end times of the mission, see Coleman, Partial diary.
53 Landon in Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 132. In Landon’s letter, quoted in “An Airman’s Death,” he reports that “We started by fighting our way in chasing Rumpler ten kilometers deep and forcing him to land.”
54 Landon in Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 132.
55 Ibid. Landon, in his letter (“An Airman’s Death”) recalled that “We fought another Rumpler ten kilometers deep and included [concluded?] the western half of the corps: so we went in again for the other half.”
56 Landon in Hart, History of the 135th Aero Squadron, p. 132.
57 Ibid., p. 133.
58 Ibid., p. 146.
59 Ibid., p. 150.
60 Ibid., p. 151.
61 War Department, Office of the Quartermaster General, Army Transport Service, Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917 – 1938, Passenger list for detachment of casual officers on Canada.
62 See census and other documents available on Ancestry.com.