Friday, June 24, 2016

Victor Chapman Killed in Verdun Air Fight -- June 24, 2016

New York Evening World, 24-June-1916
This article from the 24-June-1916 New York Evening World is about the first American aviator to be killed in action during World War One, Victor Chapman of the Lafayette Escadrille:

Dashed Fearlessly to Aid of Fellow Aviators Confronted by Superior Force.
In His Dash, However, He Destroyed Three Planes and Routed Two More.

PARIS, June 24. Sergeant Victor Chapman of New York, a member of the Franco-American flying corps, was killed yesterday at Verdun after bringing down throe German aeroplanes.

An air squadron consisting of a French captain and the American flyers Prince and Berry were engaged by five German machines. Chapman darted to the rcscue and headed straight into the center of the circling Germans.

His machine gun brought down three of the Germans. Their comrades swooped down upon Chapman, turning blasts of machine gun fire at his plane. Chapman fell to the ground, his body riddled with bullets. He had died instantly.

The three other flyers whose lives he had saved returned safely to the French lines.


Victor Chapman was the son of John Jay Chapman, a prominent lawyer with offices at No. 60 Wall Street and living at No. 325 West Eighty-Second Street. He was a student in the Beaux Arts in Paris when the war began, and he volunteered at once, Joining tho French Foreign Legion. Young Chapman was assigned to the flying corps after serving four months in the first firing line and fighting through the battle of the Vosges. With six others he formed last April the American Flying Corps.

The Now Yorker soon became an expert aviator. He was recommended for promotion a mouth ago when, with Lieut. William K. Thaw of Pittsburgh, he went in pursuit of two German war planes near Uffholtz. The Germans came out to got revenge for the destruction of one of their aeroplanes destroyed the day before by Capt. Kiffin Rockwell of Atlanta, Ga.  For his attack on one of the German planes Chapman was made a sergeant.

Mr. and Mrs. John Jay Chapman served with the French Red Cross from the beginning of the war.  Returning to New York last August for a brief visit, Mr. Chapman told of his son's joining the French army.

"If Victor is to be killed in battle I am resigned," he said then. "I am proud that he has joined the French army. Every American boy ought to do the same. Their fight is our fight.  If it were not for the British fleet I feel that the Germans would have been dropping bombs on Long Island long ago."

Chapman Is tho first American aviator killed in the European war. He was twenty-two years old and a graduate of Harvard. He had been twice wounded, once while in the Foreign Legion, and again last Saturday at Verdun when a bullet glanced off his head.

Mr. and Mrs. Chapman are now at their summer home at Barrytown, N. Y. They received the news of their son's death with great calmness, according to a message from that town. When told that his son's
aeroplane fell within the French lines, Mr. Chapman said: "Good." He added: "My son's llfe was given to a good cause." 

No comments: