Recently I was doing some scanning and here are a few of Dad's Random Photos..
Captain Vernon William Blythe Castle
With a little digging around on the internet, I was able to identify this WW1 pilot as Vernon Castle and his pet monkey named Jeffrey. He was a celebrity in Euorpe with his wife, Irene. His military time was also somewhat colorful according to this link, which tells of Vernon's Texas connection. Vernon served as a British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilot before being reassigned to Camp Taliaferro in Fort Worth TX in 1917. Vernon met his maker in a training crash at Benbrook field, on the south side of Fort Worth in 1918. Jeffrey survived the crash. At first, I had no idea about the funeral photo until I saw some reference to Vernon's procession through Fort worth. So I realized this photo is his funeral procession through downtown Fort Worth. The links above are worth the read.
"Another of the Byrd Planes"
Here's an interesting photo. Maybe someone can identify this man and small daughter named "Linda". Signage on the entry door says "BYRD ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION (illegible) ESCORT PLANE". I dug around some on the internet and have not found any links between the Byrd Antarctic Expedition and a Stinson Model U. What a grand ol' airplane!
Martin Model T and TT Biplanes
This very nice photo must have been snapped around 1915 or so. I am not sure where it originated, but it is clearly one of the Glen Martin aircraft model T or TT. These were used by the US Army Signal Corps in Texas.
From Wikipedia... "The first Martin T acquired, Signal Corps Number 31, was deployed to Texas in April 1915 as the Army massed around Brownsville in response to civil war in Mexico involving forces under Pancho Villa. On April 20, S.C. 31 became the first American military aircraft to be fired on by a hostile force. Although not hit by a machine gun firing at it from the Mexican side of the border, the returning pilot taxied it into a ditch and damaged it beyond repair."
Could this be the one? Not likely. In fact the airplane shown is a model TT, The T was a bit more basic with respect to the radiator and cowling installation. But the TT was also used in Texas. If you know anything more about this airplane ans Signal Corps aviation history in Texas, please comment!
WW1 Lieutenant Pat O'Brien
This photo was labeled on the back side as "Pat O'Brien". Maybe there is not Texas connection, but this photo was certainly intriguing. And the story of this man is also quite amazing.
Hailed as a WW1 hero, O'Brien was a POW for a time, but escaped from the German prison camp where he was held. According to HumanitiesTexas web page, "Lieutenant Pat O'Brien was one of the first Americans to fight in World War I and the first American-born pilot to escape as a prisoner of war during that conflict."
Another webpage from the Daily Journal in Kankakee IL contains this...
"O’Brien learned to fly in 1912 at a field in West Pullman at the south edge of Chicago. Four years later, while living in California, he enlisted in the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Since the United States was not yet involved in World War I, O’Brien and his fellow Army pilots flew a seemingly-endless series of training flights. Determined to fly in combat, O’Brien resigned his Army commission after eight months and crossed the Canadian border to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps. In May 1917, Second Lieutenant Patrick Alva O’Brien arrived in England for additional training. By early August, he was in France with the RFC’s 66 Squadron."
Perhaps ironically, it is presumed that some of his training may have occurred in Fort Worth Texas at the Royal Flying Corps training facility at Tallafero Airfield. The Texas facility was leased to the Canadians for this purpose due to the preferred climate, more conducive to daily flying.
The photo above was apparently taken after his prison escape. It is known that O'Brien spent time touring around the united states for speaking engagements until his death in 1920. This account in the December 1920 Mariposa Gazette explains his tragic end of life... "Los Angela* Lieutenant Pat O'Brien, famous world war aviator, was found dead In a room In a downtown hotel here last week. There waa a bullet wound In the forehead and a revolver nearby. The police said O'Brien had triad to effect a reconciliation with hit wife from whom, tt was said, he had been separated."
Staff Sergeant Joseph L. Skipper
The back of this wonderful photo reads "Ta__?__ August 16, 1921, at Brooks Field, San Antonio, Texas. (Staff Sergeant Joseph L. Skipper Pilot)
I was unable to turn up any concrete information on Sgt. Skipper or his plane. Can YOU help provide information?
If you enlarge the photo, you can see an eagle on the rudder. The lettering on the side of the fuselage says "AEOLUS" which is an apparent reference to the Greek God known as the "divine keeper of the winds". The engine on this airplane is interesting. It appears to be a small in-line, maybe 4 cylinder. This seems to be a pretty small biplane, similar to a Curtiss J, but smaller.
Miscellaneous Aviation Photos - Texas or not?
Here are some more that were mixed in with the above. I don't know if these were taken in Texas or not, but my hunch is yes.
|Spad S.XIII number on tail may be 65?|
|Observation Balloon around 1916.|
Dayton-Wright DH 4 around 1919 - in Texas ?
This webpage names several Texas Airfields where US Border Patrol operations were being conducted. Some of the aircraft they show are DH 4's around 1919.
to be continued ....