QUENTIN ROO SEVELT
A SKETCH WITH LETTERS
:,\;;'^" V:r V
-' -^ -Y - ' '" "
ip,-r I'nii.ii I'hoto Service.
Tin- youngest son of Colonel Roosevelt,
who was killed in an air-battle over the
German lines on July 14. A personal
sketch of Lieutenant I'oosevelt appears ,
on putfe 62.
A SKETCH WITH LETTERS
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
COFTMGHT, 1921, BT
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
Published October, 1921
Reprinted November, December, 1921
THE SCRIBNER PRESS
NEW YORK, U. S. A.
"Only those are fit to live who do not fear to die, and
none are fit to die who have shrunk from the joy of
life and the duty of life. Both life and death are parts
of the same Great Adventure. Never yet was worthy
adventure worthily carried through by the man who
put his personal safety first."
THREE years ago to-day Quentin Roosevelt fell
in France in an aerial combat over the German
lines. He was buried by the enemy with mili-
tary honors near the little town of Chamery.
Two weeks later when the Soissons salient was
wiped out the Three Hundred and Third Engineers
found his grave. The American burial service
was read over the grave and the Engineers raised
a new cross, and placed a shaft to mark where
the airplane had fallen. Quentin Roosevelt was
not yet twenty-one when he was shot down; still
years count for but little in the record of a life;
one man at twenty may have accomplished more
and leave more behind to mourn his loss than
another who saw a century out. Quentin Roose-
velt to casual acquaintances typified the light-
hearted jaie de vivre (there is no English phrase
that can quite convey the meaning) which fresh-
ened all who came in contact with it, but under-
neath it all there lay the stern purpose and high
resolve of one who realizes the essential serious-
ness of life.
July 14, 1921.
[ viii ]
I. BEFORE THE WAR 1
II. THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
PART I. TRYING HIS WINGS .... 31
PART II. TRAINING FOR COMBAT . . 122
PART III. THE FLIGHT 148
III. THE LAST PATROL 165
IV. OFFICIAL JUDGMENT 198
V. "THE JUDGMENT OF His PEERS" . . . 211
VI. VERSES. 266
Quentin Roosevelt, Mineola, May, 1917 . . . Frontispiece
Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt at Field Seven in His
Belo ved" Dock Yack" Plane 98
The Grave at Chamery 176
Changed to Gold 274
BEFORE THE WAR
QUENTIN ROOSEVELT was born in Washington
on November 19, 1897, six months before his
father enlisted for the war to free Cuba. As a
boy he attended the public schools in Washington.
The last year of his father's second term as presi-
dent he went to the Episcopal High School at
The following summer that of 1909 he spent
in Europe. He had always been interested in
mechanics, and in a lette* to Ambler Blackford,
a son of the principal of the school, he tells of his
first sight of an airplane.
We have had a wonderful time here and seen
lots. We were at Rheims and saw all the aero-
planes flying, and saw Curtis who won the Gordon
Bennett cup for swiftest flight. You don't know
how pretty it was to see all the aeroplanes sailing
at a time. At one time there were four in the
air. It was the prettiest thing I ever saw. The
prettiest one was a monoplane called the An-
toinette, which looks like a great big bird in the
air. It does not wiggle at all and goes very fast.
It is awfully pretty turning.
Isn't Notre Dame wonderful? I think any-
thing could be religious in it. And the Louvre, I
think it would take at least a year to see it. I
have some of the pictures. I think the little
Infanta Margarita by Velazquez is the cunningest
thing I ever saw, and I think they are all very
beautiful. We have been to Rouen and every-
Tell S. that I am sending him a model of an
aeroplane that winds up with a rubber band.
They work quite well. I have one which can fly
a hundred yards, and goes higher than my head !
Much love to all from ~
That autumn on his return to this country he
entered Groton School as a first former. His
bent for mechanics, which was not inherited, and
BEFORE THE WAR
his love of reading, which was inherited, found
expression in the school magazine. Quentin be-
came an editor and also worked as typesetter and
general overseer in the more practical part of
publishing. It was in the printing-room that he
enjoyed himself most when at Groton.
In January, 1915, with the World War launched
upon its first winter, he wrote the following story
for The Grotonian:
"ONE MAN WITH A DREAM"
"The train stopped with a jerk, the doors flew
open, and the crowd surged out toward the street.
I made my way slowly to the taxi stand and hailed
a waiting machine. '4 West fifty-seventh street,
and make it fast,' I said. The man glanced at
me quickly, hesitated, and then said, 'Why that's
John Amsden's house, isn't it?'
"'Yes,' I said, 'make it in less than ten minutes
and you get a fiver.'
"The machine started to the street, dove around
the corner into thirty-fourth, and then across.
The traffic seemed strangely crowded: we barely
moved behind a stream of street cars and autos.
Finally came Broadway and I saw the reason.
Herald Square was packed with people, a tense,
silent crowd, all watching the bulletin boards. I
strained to catch a glimpse and made out, under
the flaring arc lights, '10.45 Drs. Waring and
McEwen report John Amsden is doing as well as
can be expected. He is partially conscious.'
"I hammered on the window of the taxi stand,
as the man turned, cried to him to hurry. The
traffic was still blocked, however, and we were
hemmed in. I looked at the board again. An-
other notice was being rolled up. '11 Condition
slightly improved.' Strained faces in the crowd
relaxed. I could see one man turning to another
and clapping him on the back, a smile of relief on
his face. So that was the reason. That was why
I had received the telegram, 'John needs you.
Come at once.'
"The traffic began to move, and soon we were
racing up Fifth Avenue, 42nd, 48th, St. Patrick's
Cathedral, at last 57th. Two policemen guarded
the entrance of the street. I was evidently ex-
BEFORE THE WAR
pected, for they let me through with a glance at
" The door was open, and I went into the familiar
hallway with its carved oak stairs. The contrast
was startling. Outside the crowded streets;
inside, dead silence. I went upstairs. Low
voices came from the back of the house. Some-
one inside was speaking: 'It must have been
that speech in Union Square that did it. The
Doctors say it is pneumonia. His system is so
overworked that he can't fight the disease.'
"Another man spoke up, * Something had to
crack. No man can work at fever heat for weeks
"I pushed open the door and entered. Three
men were seated before the fire, all of them men
whom I knew. My cousin Arthur, who was a
reporter on the Globe, Charles Wright, the actor,
and Pearson, the critic. Arthur sprang to his
feet as I entered. 'I'm afraid its too late, Cousin
Fred,' he said, 'the Doctors have given orders
that no one is to see him.'
" Hopeless, I sat down. Why had I gone away ?
I might have known something would happen to
"'Tell me/ I said.
"' There's not much to tell,' said Pearson. 'He
would speak at that mass meeting in Union Square
Friday. It was drizzling a little and he caught
a chill. That and overwork brought on pneu-
monia. That's about all.'
"We lapsed into silence, each thinking of the
man above who was fighting for breath. The
fire flickered, and then died out. Arthur spoke
"You were with him. Tell us about it.'
"It was like a dream,' I said, 'A dream come
"'John Amsden and I roomed together at
college. I think that was the beginning of our
friendship. He never did much there, that is,
in any serious way. He worked a little, went to
every dance in or out of Boston, and that was
about all. He had not the physique for an
athlete, and though he had several things published
in the Advocate, he gradually let it drop, and never
BEFORE THE WAR
tried for editor. He did not have to work for a
living, for his father's millions were waiting for
him so there was no incentive. People said that
he had lost what little capacity he had ever had
for work while in college.
" 'After college he led the life that all those lead
who belong to the class reformers and Socialists
call the idle rich. His winters were spent in Aiken
or Palm Beach; his summers in Europe, with
interludes of Meadowbrook and Tuxedo. I doubt
if he ever did anything more than this for twelve
years. Even his friends, who always claimed that
he would some day develop, gave up hope. He
seemed to have arrived at the end of his develop-
" * Last summer we arranged to go abroad to-
gether for a bicycle trip through Holland and
Belgium. That was in July. August found us in
Belgium, travelling slowly from place to place.
To make a long story short, we were caught in the
whirlwind of the war. We saw the fall of Liege
and we followed in the track of the invader as he
tramped through Belgium. We saw towns lev-
elled, cathedrals shelled, smelt the smell of the
battle-field, saw the fleeing people, homes burned,
husbands and fathers gone, the soldier dead, his
rule in his hand, the priest with his crucifix, we
saw it all.
" ' To John it was a revelation. He had never
before felt the horror of death, never seen the
human soul apart from its polished covering.
What death he had seen had been decorous,
honored, attended with peace and quiet. He had
barely realized the fact that suffering existed,
that the horrors of war were any more than a
"* Following in War's path had brought it all
home to him with an appalling nearness. All the
sorrows he had never known, all the emotions he
had never felt, he went through it all, saw the
feelings of people, not mirrored in a book or ve-
neered by etiquette, but sharp, bitter, unconquera-
ble. In him it brought out all the character that
had lain hid. All the crusader spirit of his ances-
tors came to the top. He was fired with it. In
his reaction he thought of his former life almost
with loathing. It seemed to him almost unbe-
BEFORE THE WAR
lievable that America could be callous to the
suffering, to the horror of what he saw before his
very eyes. He felt he was chosen, that it was
his duty to tell of Belgium.
' ' He decided quite suddenly. "I'm going back,
Fred," he said, "to tell the people at home about
this. They must understand, they must help."
' We made our way to the coast, as best we
could, and at last got a steamer for America. On
our voyage we talked of the people at home often.
It never occurred to him that people would not
understand, that they would not see as he did.
He could not conceive of anyone remaining un-
moved in the face of suffering such as we had seen.
* We parted at the dock. The next day, as I
sat at home, the telephone rang. It was John.
"Fred," he said, "I must have a talk with you."
;< We agreed, finally, that I was to come over
and see him.
"'He was sitting in this room before the fire,
as we are now, when I came in. In all my life
I have never seen a look of utter hopelessness
such as there was on his face. "It's all wrong,"
he said, "they don't see. I can't understand it."
"'He told me then, how he had been to his
friends, had spoken to them, and the effect of
his words. "They wouldn't even listen to me.
They wouldn't even listen ! I tried to tell about
it all but they cut me short. Harry Wilding
wanted to tell me about the baseball the Giants
were playing. Schuyler had a scheme he wanted
me to finance, to charter a steamer and send
over a cargo of silk socks to Belgium. Said it
was a great opportunity now that the German
market was closed." He laughed, dully, and,
pulling aside the shade pointed out the window.
" ' "There," he said, " there it is. That is the
explanation. That is the American spirit; Ameri-
ca's countersign; her God."
"'I looked. A huge sign showed in electric lights :
THE NEW NATIONAL MAGAZINE
JAMES FRIED'S article on WHAT THERE is IN THB
WAR FOR THE U. S. A.
"'"Yes," said John, bitterly, "that is the acid
test of the 'Great American Nation's* feelings.
What do we get out of it ? "
BEFORE THE WAR
' ' He gazed into the depths of the fire, and I
watched the shadows come and go on his face.
Suddenly his expression changed, and his eyes
sparkled with the light of battle. "I have it,"
he cried, "I shall write the play of the war. I shall
bring war home to the people as it has never been
brought before. I shall challenge the nation. "
" ' That was the beginning of his great play. He
worked feverishly, at high pressure, writing far
into the night.
",'In three weeks it was done. I remember
the joy on his face as he came to the door. "It's
done, Fred," he said.
' ' He would not let me read it, though I begged
him to. The first night, so he said, was the test.
He wanted me to see it then for the first time, and
so I waited. As you know, Eisenstein agreed,
after the first reading, to put it on as soon a
company could be got together.
" 'Then, at last, came the first night. All New
York seemed to be there. It had been wonderfully
advertised. All over the city, great placards with
the name, WAR, in red, and then JOHN AMSDEN,
underneath. I had to fight my way, but you
were there you remember/
"'You remember how it was received. Not a
sound from the whole packed house. Not a clap,
not a cheer, not even the shuffling that a crowd of
people generally make. It was a tense, uplifted
audience. A woman in front of me was crying as
the curtain fell, and the crowd filed out silently.
No one was discussing the play in the lobby
when I came out. It was too great, beyond un-
thinking praise. Men went home and thought
" ' By morning it was famous. In every paper it
appeared on the front page. Critics called it a
sermon of the stage.
"'That was four weeks ago. Since then the
presses have been running to capacity printing it,
it has been played all over the country. People
have telegraphed him by the thousand, asking
him to speak. He has been hailed as another
prophet who should preach of America's duty
in this war.
BEFORE THE WAR
' * He was asked to speak at Union Square before
I left. You know the rest .'
"I stopped, and we sat in silence for a while,
each busied with his own thoughts. The clock
in the Metropolitan tower began to chime. I
looked out the window onto the quiet street.
Across was Broadway, with its lights, its passing
crowds. I could just see the top of the huge sign
at Columbus Circle: 'CHARLES WRIGHT IN
WAR*. I thought of the great crowd gathered
at Herald Square. The clock struck the hour,-
"The deep boom died away. There was a
noise of footsteps on the stairs. It was the
Doctor. We sprang to our feet. 'How is he;
Doctor?' said Arthur; his voice sounding cracked
"The Doctor looked at us, his face worn and
white and lined, and shook his head slowly. He
turned and went out without a word.
"Oh, it can't be true,' cried Arthur. 'There
must be something wrong. Why should he die?*
"It can't be helped, boy' said Pearson, 'It was
fate. God's plans seem mysterious to our cramped
view.' He quoted softly:
'"One man with a dream, at pleasure
Shall go forth and conquer a crown.'"
Quentin had a remarkable gift for descriptive
writing, and particularly delighted in short
sketches, usually with the element of fantastic
mysticism predominant. The two brief stories
following were written while he was serving in
"IN LINE OF DUTY"
"The service pistol is a merciless thing.
"Up there above my desk it hangs, between
Hilda's picture and the instrument board, always
loaded, always ready. Yes; always ready, always
loaded; thats the watchword of our service,
even now as we lie idly awash, charging our bat-
teries. Its pleasanter this way, tho, with the
fresh air cleaning off the fumes of the last nights
run. And then, when you're on the surface, there
aren't so many noises, or at least I know them all.
BEFORE THE WAR
Sometimes when we are submerged I hear sounds,
ones that I cant account for. I swear they're
only imagination, tho'. You can almost hear
them now; the soft deadened whisper of stumpy
fingers groping and pawing at the edges of our
plates. Its all foolishness, all foolishness ! Here
I am, the senior commander of the imperial sub-
marine service, with a record that even an ad-
miral might envy, worrying like any child over
noises that dont exist, mere imagination.
"Kuhlman is responsible. He was mad and I
should have put him in irons. I remember when
first he came aboard. The old admiral was there,
and said to me, 'Take him and make a man of
him.' So I gave him responsibility, put him in
charge of the forward tubes. Off the coast of
Ireland we were, and sure of work before long.
"We got it, too, a big boat, one of their crack
liners. I was sorry we had to do it, for there
were many women and children among her pas-
sengers, but what else could I do ? She had been
warned; and in war there is no pity.
"I let young Kuhlman have the shot, and then,
as there was no convoy and no guns, we rose to
watch the effect. It is very sudden death, a
torpedo. One moment you are but two days
from port; the next the boats are manned and
the band plays as she sinks. It was a bad night,
and there were many of the boats that they could
not launch. She sank very quickly, and we sub-
merged again, for it was too rough for us, and
so we lay for two days while the storm went on
above. Then it blew itself out, and luckily too,
for two days below are hard on the nerves. Kuhl-
man felt it most, for he had never before seen
death, and the sight of that ship sinking from the
torpedo that he had fired, had been too much
for him. So we came up, and were lying on the
surface, just as we are now, while we officers
smoked upon deck. After two days like that,
the air seems very sweet, and it is good to live
again, and cease to be a machine. Only as we
stood there something came drifting down upon
us, something white that glinted in the sunlight.
It was quite close before I saw what it was,
too close. Somehow the current caught it and
BEFORE THE WAR
brought it alongside, and it seemed to stick to
us in the little wash that lapped our sides. All
the flesh was gone from the head, the fish had
been at it, and the bare skull shone like polished
ivory as it bobbed up and down and the water
washed in and out of the empty eyes. It had
been a common sailor off the ship we had sunk
two days before, and across the chest of the suit
you could see the letters *Cunard Line.' It
drifted on, but with it went all the life of the air,
and I ordered the men below.
"It must have been that that started Kuhl-
man. I had grown quite attached to him, for he
seemed only a boy, for all of his moustaches. And
yet, at first, even I did not notice any change.
Then he took to coming in and sitting talking to
me in my room, and I began to wonder. He said
he liked the company. Only, as I found out, the
real reason was that he was afraid to be alone.
Later he told me about it. In the beginning it
used only to bother him at night when the lights
were out. Then, as he lay in bed, they would
begin. He would hear them outside in the water,
talking to one another, in dead voiceless words,
the salt water in their mouths. And always
their talk was of him. 'He fired the torpedo,'
they seemed to say, and then he would hear the
fumbling of soft, sodden fingers tearing at the
rivets. Later he began to see faces, dreadful,
greenish, water logged ones, long strings of sea
weed in their hair. And worst of all they were
all faces he knew, friends and family at home,
that stared at him with blind dead resentment.
They became worse and more insistent, and he
began to go round with his eyes fixed in front of
him, for he said they watched him from the cor-
ners. He slept with his lights turned on. I did
my best to talk him out of it, but I knew that we
would soon lay up for our month in port, and I
thought that would cure him. Then we put in
to take on oil for our last two weeks, and they
gave me a bundle of papers. Kuhlman was in
my room at the time, and I tossed them to him
to read, for I thought it might cheer him. I was
busy myself, looking over my new orders, and
the reports from other commanders. Over my
BEFORE THE WAR
shoulder I called to him some question about the
news. There was no answer, and after a bit I
turned around to look at him. He was sitting,
the paper spread before him on the desk, and as
I looked, he got up and fumbled for the door
handle. His face was dead white, and on it the
look of one who has seen something very terrible,
something more than one should see. I stood
for a moment doing nothing, for the look on his
face had driven all thoughts from my head and
then, stupidly, I looked to the paper for the ex-
planation. There was little enough in it, politics,
the war, a new invention, and at the top of the
page the pictures of some people, a family I
judged, with father, mother, and a sweet-faced
girl of about twenty. I looked closer, and saw
under the pictures, 'drowned in the Caronia dis-
aster.' Even then I could not see the reason for
that look in his face. Orders were orders, and
he'd have to learn that in war people were killed,
and not always the guilty, and it was all part
of the game. Suddenly there was the roar of a
shot. I was in his room before the echoes died
along the iron walls, but of course it was too late.
"He lay bent over his desk, the pistol still
clutched in his hands. Then, at last, I saw the
reason. In a little gold frame before him was a
girl's picture, the same that I had just seen in
the paper, now blotched with his blood, he had
written in his round, boyish hand, 'Ah, dearest;
mea magna culpa.'
"A bad, bad business it was. The bullet at
that range, had torn his face terribly, and yet
somehow I was relieved, glad almost. I am sure
that his eyes would have been, not nice.
"That was a month ago and I am still at sea.
I thought when I got back after that run I would
ask for a rest, I had begun myself to hear things
that were not of the ship. But once in port, they
told me I was chosen to take this, our newest,
on her maiden run. What could I do? It was
an honor they offered me. All the same, I wish
the captain's quarters were not like those on my
old ship. When I came in, and saw the bare iron
walls just as before, with that grim pistol in its
clips by the instrument board, I seemed to see
BEFORE THE WAR
him again. And now, three weeks out, it is grow-
ing worse. I dare not turn the lights out, for if
I do, instead of the luminous dials of my instru-
ment board I see only his poor shattered head,
with great eyes that call me.
"Perhaps he was right, after all. The service
pistol is a merciful thing."
"THE GREATEST GIFT"
" 'What is the greatest blessing* I mused, as
I sat at my window. And the warm breath of
spring, sweet with the scent of flowers and green
things growing whispered softly 'Life. Life is
the greatest gift. To live and feel no fear lest
the grim hand that stays not smite. What higher
have the gods to give?*
"In my heart youth cried assent, and full of
the horror of that gray and merciless one who
spares no man, I went forth into the crowded
ways. Everywhere was life, and the beauty of
things living. As pleasant music to my ears were
the cries of children and all the many voices of
the street. Death seemed but some foul vampire
that lay in gloating cruelty waiting to take all
"I wandered whither my feet led me, careless
of all save my thoughts until I came on a street
to me unknown, a dark street heavy with the
dust of centuries. Grey lichens clung about the
houses' eaves, and in the shapeless wind-worn
carvings. No children played upon the steps and
on the cobbled pavement no traffic passed. The
roar of the world without was lost, for sound it-
self seemed choked with age, and my footfall
waked echoes long dead that fled wailing past
the sombre houses and died among the wind worn
tiles. One door alone stood open, mysterious,
beckoning, and thru it I passed as one who enters
in a dream, a place familiar, yet of the dream. All
within lay shrouded in gloom save for a little
glow ahead, and toward its soft crimson I went,
my hands against the velvet arras. And now I saw
whence the light came. A ball of crystal in whose
clouded heart the crimson light rose and fell with
steady beat lay between the paws of an ebony
BEFORE THE WAR
sphinx, that crouched before a tall chair of ebony.
In the light lay mystery, and the very air was
heavy with the secret of old forgotten dreams.
"The scent of spice and sandalwood, of incense
and of myrrh. I stood in silence and past me
went my thoughts, that drifted in a sea of memo-
ries dim and griefs long past. But in on them
came a voice, deep and clear, yet a part of the
silence, that said: 'What do you in the memories
of the past, whose heart is with the present, to
whom life and all that lies before alone are fair ? '
"With slow steps muffled in the crimson car-
pet I went into the circle of warm, glowing light
and was aware of one who sat buried in the great
chair. Face and hand alone were visible, for the
velvet gown merged indefinitely into the ebony
of the chair. One hand showed, yellow and
shrivelled with age, while ridged tendons like
twisted wires stretched to long fingers tipped
with yellow and pointed nails. On the face, too,
lay the mark of ages, for over the skull the skin
stretched wrinkled and creased like an ancient
parchment. Deep sunk in their sockets glowed
eyes that held me and searched my soul. There was
in them age, to which to the end of time we were
young; tragic age, the bitter sorrow of ten thou-
sand years; sorrow such as had the dead eyes of
(Edipus. As I looked in them all fear left me,
and only an awe and a pity too deep for words
remained. Yet when I spoke it was as a child
that answers, and yet is intent on the question
it would ask before even it speaks. 'Why should
not I dwell in memories past, to enjoy the more
what Life may hold? 5
"He spoke again, and his voice was as a hand
held out to one that gropes in darkness: 'May
not life then rise above itself has it no higher
to offer than its little span, and must death ever
lie, a secret terror, black upon the mind? Is
death a penalty that the Gods exact of a man
whether evil or fair has been his lot? Through
my crystal must all mortals pass when the fires
of life are flickering low; look now, in your ig-
norance, upon the face of Death.'
"I looked at the crystal, and deep in its heart
saw pictures that came and went as the light
BEFORE THE WAR
rose and fell. Each seemed to tell a tale familiar,
tho' the time was short and the faces strange.
"An old man lay dying, his children round him,
on his face peace, and the happiness of one whose
life is well spent, who after the long day's toil
waits gladly for the end.
"The crystal blurred and another scene was
there. A woman lay dying, but none were there
to watch save desolation and utter loneliness, for
she had lived beyond her time, all that might
have cared were dead, and on her face shone only
a great relief.
"Many pictures I saw, and where the dying
were young, I saw the struggle against death.
Yet Youth did not fear death, rather they feared
to lose life, its cup still full. Where age lay dying
was no struggle only rest after the fever and
fret of life. At length I turned to him who sat
silent in the great chair, and asked humbly : * What
of you will not you, too, pass in the crystal's
crimson mist?' *!,' he cried bitterly, and his
voice swelled till its deep grief filled the velvet
hung chamber with tragedy unspeakable, *I have
sinned too deeply, I may not die. Of the Gods
I asked too much. I wished for all that was theirs
to give, for life eternal. They gave it me and
now is their gift as gall and bitter wormwood to
my soul. All that I ever loved or knew is dead
for thrice a thousand years. Alone I go down
the endless ages. Aye, the very gods have
changed. Moloch and Ishtar, Zeus the Thunder,
Jove to whom prayed the Romans, and Jehovah
of the Hebrews all are gone and forgotten of
man. Their temples are ruins, their priests are
dead, and still I live on; I who have lost all that
for which men live. O, blind and more than blind,
who would forever be free from death; death for
whose kindly touch in years to come you pray.
Of what value is immortality when all that makes
our little lives is mortal.'
"He ceased, but the memory of his words
throbbed in dumb agony round the arras, nor
did it die, as mortal speech is wont. Into the
depths of me it sank, and I fled from his presence.
Death, whom I had cursed, seemed now a kindly
friend, who, when we tire of our toys, and all our
BEFORE THE WAR
little mortal playthings are faded and broken,
comes soft-handed to heal all with his dreamless
"And within me my soul cried out: 'Yes. Ah,
yes ! Death, death and oblivion are God's great-
est gifts.* "
In the fall of 1915 Quentin went to Harvard.
He was unable to take part in athletics because of
a fall he had had in a hunting trip in Arizona.
His horse had slipped among the slide rock, and
Quentin's back was wrenched and twisted so
severely that in spite of constant treatment it
never fully recovered. He suffered acute pain
from it when he took any strenuous form of ex-
Bubbling over with life, he entered into every
other phase of college life. His taste for litera-
ture was almost as catholic as his father's, and
his room was strewn with volumes of prose and
poetry histories, essays, novels, detective stories,
and epic poems. At one time he was greatly in-
terested in demonology and witchcraft, and
combed the second-hand bookstores for grimy
tomes on this subject.
Intent on following his line of mathematics and
mechanics, he took many difficult courses, but his
trials were leavened with a sense of humor that
could not be downed.
27 Everett St.
February 14, 1916
To " The Father of Quentin Roosevelt"
Oyster Bay, N. Y.
Dear Sir: The enclosed verses were written
by your son Quentin at the end of his blue book
in the Midyear examination in my course, Mathe-
matics A, a few days ago. They strike me as so
capital that I want to pass them along.
On account of his illness the boy did not do
very well in the first half year, but I think he
knows what he is about, and have good hopes for
a better showing at the end of the course.
Hoping that you will enjoy these verses as
much as I do (he would probably regard my
BEFORE THE WAR
sending them to you as a gross breach of con-
fidence !) I am X7 . ,
Very sincerely yours
EDWARD V. HUNTINGTON
Associate Professor of Mathematics
in Harvard University.
ODE TO A MATH A. EXAM.
" If it be not fair to me,
What care I how fair it be?"
How can I work when my brain is whirling ?
What can I do if I've got the grippe ?
Why make a bluff at a knowledge that's lacking ?
What is the use if I don't give a rip ?
Cosine and tangent, cotangent, abscissa,
Dance like dry leaves through my sneeze-shattered
Square root of a 2 plus b 2 plus k 2
Gibber and grin in the questions I've read.
Self centred circles and polar coordinates,
Triangles twisted and octagons wild,
Loci whose weirdness defies all description,
Mountains of zeros all carefully piled.
Still I plod on in a dull desperation,
Head aching dismally, ready to sip
Goblets of strychnine or morphine or vitriol,
How can I work when I've got the grippe ?
He made two trips, during the summer holidays,
in the West one with his father and his brother
Archie, and one with some Western friends.
When at home his taste still ran to mechanics,
and he would buy a broken-down motorcycle for
sixteen dollars, or a ramshackle automobile for
fifty, and doctor his purchase up until it could
convey him from place to place, albeit with some
uncertainty. His parents once suggested that he
and Archie should be given a communal automo-
bile, but the latter explained that it would be
quite useless, for he would want the car to run
and take him from place to place, whereas Quen-
tin would spend all the time taking the motor
down and putting it together again.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
PART I TRYING HIS WINGS
IN spite of his crippled back Quentin went to
one of the Plattsburg camps the summer before
the United States entered the war. Through the
employment of unlimited determination and grit
and the understanding consideration of his su-
periors he managed to last through the course.
In his letters he spoke bitterly of the attitude of
I just got a very discouraged letter from my
Hon. Pa. We are a pretty sordid lot, aren't we,
to want to sit looking on while England and France
fight our battles and pan gold into our pockets?
I wondered, as I sat by my fire, whether there are
any dreams in our land any more. How can there
be, for it is lands like ours, and Germany, that
kill the nation's dreams, and then the people drop
into oblivion. Rome died only when the little
dreams and fancies of its people gave way to their
lust for ease and pleasure, power and gold. I
wonder if we are trending the same way
When war was declared all four sons turned to
their father for advice and assistance in regard to
the most rapid manner to get into active service.
Quentin first planned to join the Canadian flying
forces, but upon confirmation of the rumor that
an American flying school was to be started im-
mediately he decided that he would not materially
speed up his entrance into active service by going
to Canada, and accordingly altered his plans and
enlisted for the Mineola camp.
Excuse this scrawl, scribbled on the train,
there's a reason ! Wild excitement ! I have been
put in the aviation school at Mineola instead of
the one at Newport News.
I discovered, after I had gotten down to the
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
station, that there is a 1.35 train for Washington
that I could have taken, and so stayed with you
at the Mid. Frol. However, I settled down in the
12.30 and woke up the next A.M. at Washington
with that evil tempered, sandpaper-clothed feeling
of filth which is the trade mark of all midnight
trains. A bath, and such, at Alice's was a suc-
cessful remedy, and I trotted down to the War
Department, to start in on a complicated little
game of catch as catch can, with the Aviation
authorities. Their policy is one of mystery. You
ask for an application whereupon a little colored
"pusson" takes you in tow thru some twenty
miles of stairs to an equally little white man who
gives you a blank. The rest of your day is spent
in taking that little blank for visits to various
dens in the building.
Next comes your physical exam., over which
a hypochondriac with the darkest views of his
fellowmen, presides. After two hours of a
twentieth-century refinement of the inquisition
you are pronounced fit, and travel on again for
your mental test. The presiding deity there is a
gentleman who feels like David, or was it Isaiah
that all men are liars. And the questions:
"What is the average age of the Dodo?" the
correct answer should be 37. "What is the
average sex?" but to go on.
It really did take me two days to get by all
the red tape, and apparently I was miraculously
lucky at that.
First his instructors and later his pupils agreed
that Quentin was gifted with that sixth sense that
singles out the born aviator. Some men have an
ability to call forth from machinery the best that
is in it; it is a power analogous to that bestowed
upon occasional horsemen, and is even more inex-
plicable. Quentin possessed this gift to a very
marked degree, and when the first detachment of
aviators was sent across to France he was among
them, as was his boyhood friend, Hamilton Coo-
lidge. The two boys had been at Groton and
Harvard together, they were at the same aviators'
schools in France, and went up to the line to-
gether, serving in neighboring squadrons. Coo-
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
lidge lived to become one of the most distinguished
American aces, and when he was brought down on
October 27, 1918, by a direct hit from an anti-
aircraft gun, his loss was bitterly felt by officer
and enlisted man alike.
On July 23, 1917, they sailed from New York
on the Orduna.
25 July, 1917.
We are apparently to put into Halifax and there
wait for a convoy, goodness knows how long !
. . . There is literally nobody on board except
soldiers, Cousin Katy, and five or six extraneous
nonentities that bob up and down on the smoking
room horizon. It's by way of being very dull, for
shuffle board, bridge, and reading become boring
in time and even the springs of conversation can
eventually be pumped dry. Our outfit are really
mighty fine fellows, all of them. We've organized
one of those interminable bridge-games, and as we
play for a quarter of a cent a point there is not
much chance of any great financial transactions
either way, ... a thoroughly satisfactory arrange-
ment magnifique et pas cher.
Monday, after I left you I trotted down to the
boat. ... I don't mind confessing I felt pretty
down when I saw the Statue of Liberty and the
New York sky line dropping below the horizon.
Thanks, Mother dear, for the "Lute of Jade."
It was just the sort of present that could cheer me
up. When I opened it that first night I didn't
know what it was, but it made the most tremen-
dous difference, and of course I love it. It is
sitting beside me as I write, looking friendly and
very "family and home" like.
The next letter was from Halifax, where the
transport was held waiting for the convoy.
I found a paper bundle in my cabin when I re-
turned, which mother had left. I opened it and
found, neatly wrapped in a napkin, a loaf of
bread, lots of chocolate, and a knife, with a note
saying it was from Margaret, the cook ! I half
expected to find my pajamas full of messages from
Mary, after that.
The long stay here has been pretty hard on
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
everybody, for you can't help feeling it would have
been much pleasanter to put in a week more in
New York ! Otherwise I am fairly well settled in
existence of a uniform and appalling dullness.
We've been trying boxing for exercise but yester-
day I succeeded in getting one on the nose which
the doctor thinks may have broken it. It doesn't
look crushed, tho, so I think he may be wrong.
The "little clock" is a great satisfaction and
sits sociably by my bed, beside the bottle of
Poland water. The bread and chocolate is just
finished and was a howling success. Please thank
Margaret. This letter is merely a goodbye one,
for total atrophy of the brain has resulted from
this long stay.
As it looks as if we were really getting some-
where, for they promise we will be in by tomorrow,
so I shall telegraph you then. I was going to
send this from London, but things are so uncertain
that I cannot be sure we will ever get there at all,
let alone be there long enough to get letters off.
There is a chance we will go direct to Folkestone.
At the moment I feel as if anywhere on shore
would be better than this boat. She's comfort-
able, and the food is O. K., but three weeks
Columbus could have given us a good race at that
rate. There's really astonishingly little going on,
on Shipboard. All the regular ship games and such
like have died from overwork, and our chief amuse-
ment is betting on when we arrive. . . . Other-
wise our life is spent in anticipation, which, though
a great solace, makes but poor reading in a letter.
Paris, August 18th
39 Rue Villejust
Starting way back at Liverpool, when I fin-
ished my last letter to you we were in sight of the
lights at the mouth of the Mersey, and I had de-
cided that we were just about to go in when our
destroyer convoy began a lot of promiscuous sig-
nalling and round we faced and tore full speed
down the channel. I had a horrid moment, for I
began to feel that we were destined to take the
place of the flying Dutchman. I could almost
hear the "man in the smoking room" on board
ship ten years hence, as he told over his whiskey
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
and soda how he once had seen the lost Ordurla
grey mist pouring from her rusted funnel, go tear-
ing past leaving no wake behind her the sun-
light showing thru the rotted ribs of her boats,
and had heard the rattle of the skeleton soldiers
that drilled on her mildewed decks to the wail of a
However, Sunday morning at five my dreams
were rudely shattered by the thumping of the
anchor chain and we were in Liverpool. There
we were met with bad news. Alas for all our
pleasant schemes of London. We were packed
into a filthy little troop-train with an engine of a
type once used on the New York elevated, and
shot off at once to Folkestone. There after an un-
eventful night we boarded the channel steamer.
It was hard to realise that I had gone thru Eng-
land. Somehow, I don't feel as if I should ever
really see it until we go abroad. I shall never have
" permission" to go there, for if I get long enough
to go there I shall wait over and get an extension
to go home to you. England is lovely tho. The
hedge rows are green, and the little canals mirror
the sky, and all about there is a kind of "lots of
time" quiet, as tho war were an idle speculation,
and not hideous reality. The little thatched
cottages and the funny old bridges seem all vener-
able apostles of peace.
In France, tho, it is different. Even on the
run up from Boulogne to Paris the signs of war
were everywhere. Every little while there would
come a concentrating camp of some sort, a food
depot, or a gang of Chinese, or German prisoners
that worked along the railroad tracks. And then
came Paris, so late at night that I, for one, was
glad enough to sleepily turn into my room, and
drop off, too tired to care about baggages or the
frenzied protests of the hotel concierge.
Next morning about eleven I woke, and after
a breakfast of war bread and eggs no more
brioches et miel reported at headquarters. There
was all sorts of news. None of our nine officers
are to be used for flying, at least for the present.
The trouble is that we are going into this war,
of course, on a vast scale, and that means a vast
organisation. A huge American school is to be
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
built in the central part of France, it has to be
provided with an administration, and officers
have to be trained to take charge of instruction in
bombing, anti-aircraft, reconnaissance, and the
various other highly specialised forms of work.
The net result is that all of our nine are placed
in one or another kind of ground job, and scat-
tered to the four winds of heaven. I report to-
morrow at the American School fairly near
where Tommy is to take the place of Seth, who
has gone with our enlisted men to a French school.
The work I know nothing of as yet. I'll report
as soon as I've begun. I don't fancy that I shall
care very much for it, tho'. However, whatever
it is, its all in the days run and part of our busi-
ness, which is to eliminate the Hun. I shall prob-
ably have no flying for at least two months, and
during all that time will not get into the Zone des
Armies, if that pleases you. I confess I'm sorry,
for I wanted to get started flying, and have it
over with. I know my back wouldn't last very
long. The thing that I realize more each day I
am here, is how serious a proposition this war
has become. Back in the states no one realises
how important it is. I would give my boots to
get hold of some of them who said to me that all
this war needed was our wealth. Of course they
need it, but someone, Napoleon I think, said
that you can't beat a nation by starving it or
bankrupting it. We have before us the task of
driving the Bosche back, and overwhelming him,
and no amount of talk, of airplane fleets that
loom large only in the minds of the newspaper
writers, can remove his presence from before us.
Paris shows that, for it is not the Paris that we
used to love, the Paris of five years past. The
streets are there, but the crowds are different.
There are no more young men in the crowds un-
less in uniform. Everywhere you see women in
black, and there is no more cheerful shouting and
laughing. Many, many of the women have a
haunted look in their eyes, as if they had seen
something too terrible for forgetfulness. They
make one realise the weight that lies on all alike
now. There is a sobering like no other feeling
I know in the sight of a boy my age helped along
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
the street by someone who takes pity on his poor
blind eyes. It all makes me feel older.
Issoudun Aug. 20 1917
I've only time for a very short note, as this is
to go by a truck driver who is leaving for Paris.
After all sorts of excitements, I'm settled down
here definitely, with Cord for running partner.
My job isn't half bad either. I'm supply officer
for the camp, which consists principally in keeping
a fleet of fifty-two motor trucks in running order
and at the proper place. I also have to look after
endless supplies of gasoline, and tools that are
all jumbled into one vast pile, straight from the
ship. In between times I act as the buffer be-
tween irate railroad officials full of jabbering
complaints, and equally angry American construc-
tion officers who would like to consign the entire
French railroad system to Hell, way billed collect
farther on. Altogether, I've got a reasonably
busy job ! However its very good fun lots more
responsibility than I've ever had, in fact lots
more than I'd think of attempting back home.
Only being out here, with no one else to do it, we
have to, that's all.
Its hard, tho', to realise that its war. We're
stuck five miles out of a typical little French
town, the old tower and Hotel de Ville dating
back to Richard Cceur de Lion's time, with no
appreciable improvements in sanitation during
the last six hundred years. There isn't a bath
tub within less than twenty-five miles! In fact
on Sunday Cord and I became so desperate that
we took to our motor cycles, as supply and
quartermaster officers we have them, and went
off twenty miles to the nearest river to swim. It
seemed preposterously un-war like, motor-cycling
off for a Sunday swim, and then lying on our backs
and watching the sunset as we talked of the place
that seems pleasantest to our minds now Long
Island. We both agreed that we hadn't realised
how much we loved it until we were away. I
think he's been a little homesick down here, it
is a forsaken hole. However mail gets here, and
apparently its equally quick whether by the
Farmer's Loan and Trust or the Military mail.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
I've had a letter from father and one from mother
dated the thirtieth which came in less than three
weeks via the Farmer's Loan and Trust.
I have no idea how long I shall be here. I'm
afraid it will be months before I even get in a
plane again. Both Cord and I feel that we would
like our jobs a lot more if they came after we had
been a couple of months at the front.
I have been so very busy that this is the first
chance I have had for a half an hour to write let-
ters in. As I wrote Mother, I am now at the
American Aviation School, or rather what will be
the American School. Mother knows where it is
and I am not allowed to mention the name. At
the moment it looks as little like an Aviation
School as anything I have seen. We have about
two hundred men, and are busily employed get-
ting all the vast equipment necessary to the school
unloaded. With my usual evil luck I am stuck
here as supply officer, a job for which I am as
little gifted as possible. Judging by the way I have
mishandled the ten thousand kinds of red tape
which I have struck, my only destination after the
war will be Atlanta State Prison.
I'm in the midst of a tremendous fight with
the quartermaster up the line, as he refuses to al-
low me a motor-machine-shop, without which I
can not possibly keep my trucks in commission.
I also have been unable to get any sort of American
reading material. Will you ask Mother to send me
anything she has in the line of books, that will
keep me up on what's going on outside fact,
fancy and fiction. You have no idea how thor-
oughly isolated we are out here in the A. E. F.
Eleanor treated me wonderfully in Paris. She
has a really delightful house from the military
viewpoint good bed, piano, lots of room, bath
tub, nice servants and even a garden, and, which
is the best of all, "family" in the shape of herself.
Wednesday August 22nd.
Issoudun U. S. Aviation School
(or rather soon-to-be-school).
I can truly say now that I am a blesse du
guerre, for in the last two days I have been in two
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
motorcycle smashups. The first one was yester-
day. I was on my way over to Nevers eighty
miles from here to arrange about some supplies,
and Cord, who is mess sergeant, had gone with
me on his machine. We were passing a truck,
with him in the lead when, for some unknown rea-
son, he slowed up. I was coming on him, so I
slammed on my brake, which jammed, and I
started on down the road skidding side and every
which way. Cord put on power and got out of
the way, but as my brake was locked I could do
nothing so I saw a bully spill coming my way, and
tried my best to get clear of the truck. The next
thing I remember is lying on the bank with Cord
and the truck driver pouring water on me and
trying to put first aid compresses on my face. I
was pretty well bunged up a couple of deep cuts
on my face, some loose teeth and two hands with
not much palm left.
By luck we happened to be near the aviation
school where Tommy is we had intended to
stop there and I was bundled into the truck
and sent over there to the hospital and bandaged
up. Then, after about an hour, I went over to
the barracks and saw Tommy, while I was wait-
ing for one of our cars to come for me. He is in
very good form, and is flying very well. In fact,
an instructor told me that he thought that Tommy
would be the first one of his class to make an
"ace" which is pretty good, I think. I got back
last night bringing all sorts of messages to you
from Tommy and thanks for your letter and
started out to write to you but found that my
hands were too bad, and was sent off to bed by
the doctor. By the way, those two letters, to
Tim and Tommy nearly got me into a row.
They were spotted by a customs official, opened,
and read, and I was nearly jailed for life for at-
tempting to bring them in. That en passant.
At all events this morning, stiff all over, and about
an inch deep in bandage, I had to go in town to
see about loading some cars. As there was no
auto, I went via motorcycle side car, and on the
way in the man who was driving ran into the
wall of a house and shot me out on to my ear.
That time I reopened both hands and laid out one
hip with a bad cut and bone bruise, so that at
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
the moment, tho' in excellent form, I am some-
I'm beginning to rather like my job except
for smashups. It is quite interesting trying out
the different men, and seeing how each turns out,
how to get the best out of them, and how to size
them up. I suppose it all makes up experience.
There's some good news. We are having a hangar
shipped down to us at once, so I suppose we shall
soon have planes. At the moment they look
pretty far off.
August 25, 1917.
Today I was at Bourges and had my lunch at
a queer little tavern, black with age, that lies hi
the corner of an old castle wall. Over the door-
way hangs a faded sign, "Aux trois raisins noirs"
and up by the wall runs a little, crooked alley, half
cobblestone, half steps, that is called Rue Cassecou.
I know you would have loved it, and Madame
who stands at your table, red cheeked and with
the white cap that the peasant women wear, while
Monsieur le proprietaire, cooks the omelet. I took
an hour off from my work, for there were places
that cried for exploration, narrow, winding
streets that might lead anywhere, and finally
did bring me to the cathedral. It has one square
tower, but all around the walls are buttressed, like
those in Notre Dame. It is surrounded by a
cluster of crooked little streets, whose houses seem
as grey and ancient as the gargoyles on the tower.
I went in, for there was no service. Once inside
it seemed like another world. There was quiet so
deep that I could hear the patter of the sacristan's
feet as he came toward me, and the whispers
of two old peasant women who knelt at a little
shrine in the wall. It is like Chartres, for as you
come in you see only the sombre gloom of the
vaulted arches, and then as you pass on you look
back on the glory of a great rose window. There
was one window, a virgin with a veil, before
whom candles were lit, that was so lovely that I
burnt before her a candle.
I shall be very glad to get any books that you
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
can send me. At the moment my library consists
of the collected works of Gaston Leblanc, father
of Arsene Lupin, and the "Pageant of English
Poetry," and "The Wind in the Willows."
I wonder if I ever told you my pet prayer,
almost the only one that I care for. It was
written, I think, by Bishop Potter. " Lord, pro-
tect us all the day long of our troublous life on
earth, until the shadows lengthen and the evening
comes, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of
life is over, and our work is done. Then in Thy
mercy grant us a safe lodging and peace at the
last, through Jesus Christ, our Lord." I've al-
ways loved it, and now, when life is hard, and all
that is dearest to me is far away, it is a comfort
to think that sometime all this will be past, and
that we will have peace.
August 28, 1917.
You know, there are periods when I curse the
day that I ever learned French. I am one of the
two officers in camp who can talk it, so that out-
side of my regular supply work I get sent off all
over the country on wild goose chases after ma-
terial with nothing but a rather limited French
vocabulary to go on.
Last Saturday was one, and typical of most
of the others. I was sleeping like a log at about
six in the morning it's good and cold then, too
when someone grabbed my foot and shook it,
to wake me. I turned over sleepily, and with
one eye open, remarked that tho' I didn't know
who the Hellespont it was, I extended the hos-
pitality of any spot outside my tent. There
was a sort of pause, and then the person went
on in an apologetic way, "I'm Major Hyles.'*
And it was ! Of course that woke me up, so I slid
out of my warm sleeping bag into clammy clothes,
and found out what the matter was. He wanted
apparently, a pump, a switch, and an extra loco-
motive, for which I was to scour the country,
and not return empty handed.
That being the case I hopped on my motor-
cycle it was the first day the doctor let me ride
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
since my accident and disappeared, breakfast-
less, into the scenery. Twelve o'clock found me
at a town about 30 miles away, tired and dusty
with over a hundred miles to the bad, and no
success. However things began to look better
and after having seen several regiments of M. le
Chef de Sections, and Chef de Districts, I got the
engine and arranged to have five trucks over
at eight the next morning for the switch. Of
pump however, there was no sign, until I found
one in the barn at the back of a manufacturing
company's shops, and then I started back, re-
ported in town to the captain, and came out here
to my tent, about 9:30, all in, and with pleasant
prospect of getting up at six in the morning and
going over with the trucks for the switch.
September 5, 1917.
My hours have been getting progressively
longer. I start in with six o'clock breakfast and
work till five. Then I go over with Cord to the
French camp to fly, which means that I don't
get back to bed until between nine and ten. Its
a mighty long day, and the work's tiresome.
We are arranging for the storing and unpacking of
all the equipment, and as it ranges from rock
crushers to flash lights, and has all to be listed,
checked with an invoice from the states, stored
according to classification and then cross indexed
in a filing system, I am as busy as several hivefuls
Then on top of that there's flying which I don't
think I'd do if it weren't for Cord. He has been
relieved from his quartermaster job, and so hasn't
much to do. Consequently he has arranged that
he and I go over to the French school and fly.
We flew twice with instructors, and then went
alone, as (except for the controls) the ma-
chines aren't much different from the Curtis.
They are as safe as an auto, as safe really as the
old Curtis. All this doesn't interfere with the fact
that a seventeen mile motorcycle ride, a flight,
and then back by night aren't very resting. In
fact my back just about quit on me, so I struck,
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
and this afternoon called off work at five thirty,
washed and shaved (though there's no particular
reason to over here !).
September 6, 1917.
Last night, just after I had finished writing to
you, a tremendous thunderstorm struck us. I
was in bed, dozing, and luxuriating in the fact
that it was half -past eight and I was all ready to go
to sleep, when a regular cloud burst hit the camp.
Inside of five minutes my tent had become the
housing for a very respectable water course, a
fact which I discovered when it started to wash off
some of my clothes. I hastily moved everything
above high water mark, and then turned over to a
sleep, punctuated by leaks, and one visit from a
water-soaked dog, that fled to my bed for refuge.
In the morning our camp had settled into a
sea of gumbo mud. I got down to my office for
work, and after a strenuous two hours succeeded
in getting six of the trucks out onto the road.
The others were buried axle deep in mud, and so
we left them for dry weather. Consequently my
day was peaceful interrupted only by the ar-
rival of a French general, described to me by my
supply sergeant as "a French admiral, or some-
thing, all dolled up in gold lace, who's a jabber-
ing after you out there."
P. S. Next morning 6:30 A.M. And the winds
blew and the rains fell and the centre of my
tent has become a water course, so now I am an
evacue alas and alackaday-de ! It's rained all
There's been a temporary cessation of work
due to flood conditions so I have a chance to write
to you. I have never seen such a place for rain.
It started in last night just about the time I got
to bed, and poured, beginning with a thunder
storm. I settled in for a comfortable sleep, as my
tent didn't leak, when I noticed the beginning of a
water course across my tent floor. I had just
time to put everything up on my trunk when it
began to come through in dead earnest. I don't
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mind a river bed as a geological formation, but
I can't say that I think much of it as a resting
This morning when I woke up there was about
an inch of water everywhere, and I had the pleas-
ant job of getting into damp clothes while perched
precariously on the edge of my cot. When I got
down to my office, and supply department, I
found another flood. The roof leaks in about
seventeen different places, and the supply staff
were clustered around the few Ararats afforded
by desks and tool benches. Consequently there
wasn't much work ahead, for the trucks are all
mired down so deeply that it would be almost
impossible to even get them out to the road, and
even the most enthusiastic of motorcyclists
wouldn't try the roads thru all this. So, after
about an hour of work on a filing system we are
fixing up for our tools I had to give it up, as the
rain spattered down onto the file cards, and I am
calling it a day and writing to you instead.
We are really beginning to get settled in here
in spite of the weather, and I think we shall over-
come that, for I am going to start building cinder
roads as soon as the weather clears enough, to
get my trucks thru to the railroad tracks. I hope
they will really get the school itself started soon,
and then maybe there will be barracks for us in-
stead of tents. The trouble is that garages for
trucks, and sheds for tools and equipment are
much more important than sheds for mere men,
and so they have to come first.
I have gotten in a certain amount of flying
over at a French school, some seventeen miles
from here. I go over there with Cord at five thirty
when the work is over here and get in about a
half an hour's flight. I can't do it very often
though, for I am having a certain amount of
trouble with my back, and I don't want to have
it give out on me while I am still supply Officer.
About every third day I call my work done at
five thirty, and settle down to a book and a pipe
until eight thirty bed time, and so I make out
pretty well. I don't know when I am going to
be put regularly into flying service again. I am
afraid that it won't be for some time, to judge
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by the way things are going. Still, I haven't
got Ted's point of view, and I'm certain I'll get
in in plenty of time. I'm not in the least afraid
that the war will be done before I've had my
whack at the Boche. I have to go up to Paris
on business next week, and I hope I shall get a
chance to see Arch and Ted then, for Eleanor
thinks that they are going to try and get back en
permission. I won't have much time for them, as
I have to get vast quantities of parts for motor-
cycles and trucks, but I am going to stay with
I haven't heard a sound from the States for
over a week now, so I suppose there must have
been some mix up in the mails at the Post Office.
I suppose they will get to me in the end, though,
for I have gotten two letters from Eleanor that
came by way of the military Post Office.
My fingers are getting so cold that typewriting
is becoming an illegible attempt, so I shall even
call it off for the rest of the day. Lots of love
to all the family, and thanks for all your letters,
Mother dearest, from, ~_
39 Rue de Villejust,
September 13, 1917.
Just last Monday the Order came thru that Cord
and I were assigned to the 1st Aero Squadron, and
then to report there at once for flying. I could
not leave, as there was no one to take my place
as supply officer. However, I did start up to
Paris at once, as there were all sorts of things that
I needed for my supply department. It seems to
be an interminable job getting things here in
France, so I shall probably be up here with Eleanor
for several days more. As a matter of fact I
was very sorry to leave the supply department
just at this moment. I had expected to leave it
about three months later. As it is I leave just
when I was beginning to get things running well,
and when I had really become attached to the men
that were under me. When I told my supply
sergeant he said nothing at all for a minute and
then "Oh Hell, sir, can't you take me with you to
that outfit?" which I thought was pretty nice of
him. However I had to do it. I rather think
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that if I had wanted to I could have stayed with
the job, but it wasn't worth it. If I had stuck
this time it meant that I was running the risk of
being stuck with it permanently, a sort of em-
busqu6 occupation. And so I am changed, and
become the juniorest of junior lieutenants in an
outfit composed mostly of regular army fliers.
Still I get back to planes again and it means
that I'll probably see service fairly soon. I was
beginning to feel rather like an embusqufi, but
this changes it all. I rather think we'll first be
down where Tommy is, and so I'll be able to
get hold of him. As soon as I get with the squad-
ron I'll give you all the news of it.
One rather amusing thing happened amusing
because it was so typically American. The Com-
mandant where we were is a regular old French
war dog, with a string of medals across his chest.
The other day at dinner I heard him give a great
roar of laughter, and so naturally I asked him
what was amusing him so. It appears that he had
admired a dog belonging to one of our captains,
whereupon the captain, a long, scrawny indi-
vidual with a strongly American sense of humor
and delightful blue eyes with a concealed twinkle
in them, explained to him in laborious French that
the dog was all right, yes, but that its mother had
"plus de medailles que vous n'en avez, mon com-
Paris is as delightful as ever, tho* I have been
too busy to see very much of it, at least of the
parts that we'll see when we go here after the war.
Most of my goings and comings have been in
obscure garages and warehouses with addresses
like 14 Rue Roger Bacon and 64 Quai de Billy.
29 Avenue du Bois de Boulogne
September 15th, 1917.
Eleanor originally had a bad cold, but she has
succeeded in passing it on to me, now, and is as
bright as a button. We went out for a spree last
night, dinner at Premiers and then a French play.
It was a farce, and "I give you my word" it was
the darndest. I was perfectly weak from laugh-
ing by the end of it, but scandalous is no name.
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I shan't even say anything about it for you
couldn't retail the plot to anyone. Then today,
after a morning of business, I took an afternoon
off and went shopping with Eleanor. We started
out rather prosaicly with heavy woolen under-
clothes, slippers and a pair of boots. Then Eleanor
decided that she wanted to give me a wrapper for
a birthday present. I voted against a heavy,
warm one, because I felt that everything I have
over here was practical and suggested prepara-
tions for a long stay in uniform in the field. So
we went to Liberty's and I got or rather chose
the material for a silk one, rather like my pet
blue one at home. It may be a bad plan to do
"after the war" shopping, but I want on my
birthday to have things that remind me of peace,
and not of this war.
September 20, 1917.
I don't mind so much an out and out slacker,
who says he is afraid, or unwilling to go, but I
hate the one that gets a bullet-proof job in the
Red Cross or Y. M. C. A., and then proceeds to
talk of "doing his bit."
Monday afternoon I arrived back here again,
all prepared to leave at once for the First Squad-
ron. The Major met me at the station, and on
the way out in the car began talking to me about
Colonel Boiling's visit he was down at camp.
Suddenly he said, "I gave you a darned good
recommendation to him, but why are you chang-
ing to that other outfit? You don't gain much,
for you're getting some flying over here, and the
experience you've gained in the supply work
you've done here, is worth twice what you can
get out of the job of plain flying lieutenant."
Of course, it was a big surprise to me, but the
upshot was that I agreed to put it before the Colo-
nel, Colonel Boiling is second in command of
American Air Service in France. To my surprise,
he agreed with the Major. He said "the only
reason I was transferring you was for the flying
if you are getting your flying here, stay by all
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means. You have apparently made a good job of
this one, and the reason I sent you down in the
first place, was to give you experience. If I were
you, I should stay, for it will count a good deal
more in a man's favor if he has made a good job
of something like this supply position of yours,
than if he has merely flown as junior lieutenant in
After that of course I stayed, especially as he
promised to put me in a squadron at the front as
soon as they got started sending them up there. I
am glad in a way, for now I know for certain that
I shall not be embusqud here, and I had become
quite attached to the men working for me. Five
or six of them came round, when they heard that
I was going to go, and told me that they were very
sorry to hear it. My sergeant asked me to get him
transferred into the outfit I was going to. It
really made me feel quite well, a lump in my
throat, if you know the feeling.
Last night, or rather yesterday, I received
orders to have trucks in to receive about two
hundred men, coming from one of the ports. I
got the trucks and went with them myself, just
to be on the safe side. I sat around the station
till midnight, for the troops were being sent in a
freight train, which was late of course. Then the
train appeared, and when I went up to greet the
officer, who should it be but Phil Carroll, with his
outfit, just arrived. I nearly collapsed, out of
combined surprise and satisfaction. Of course,
after business was over, I made him tell me all
the news of all Long Island.
September 30th, 1917.
Today, being Sunday, was inspection and so
when it was over I went off to look around the
country. It is glorious weather now, the roads
bright and dusty, with flurries of fallen leaves
whirling across them, and that feeling in the air
which says, despite the golden countryside, that
autumn is passing fast into winter. I wandered
where the roads lead me, past little farm houses,
nestling close to great stacks of hay, and pleasant
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fields where the little boys ran out from their
sheep to watch me pass, and the sheep dogs barked
disapproval, past little towns, barely more than
a cluster of houses, with their weather worn little
church, and cobble stoned streets.
The afternoon was passing, and I was begin-
ning to think of camp once more, when I came
upon a somewhat larger town, over whose roofs
I saw an old tower rising. And so, as I came op-
posite I stopped to look a minute. It had been
an old chateau, gone partly to ruin, and round
it had grown the town, where its front must
have been was a little inn, with the sign "Au
Lion' Noir." The old arch was still there,
where the knights went out to battle in times
past, and I could see through it a courtyard,
all bright in the afternoon sun, with little tables,
and back of them the old wall with flowers in
the windows, and rusted iron gratings. And
as I looked, out came the inn keeper, a great blue
apron round him, to know if I would not stop and
have some beer, "car vous devez avoir soif sur la
grande route" And so I came in and sat in the
courtyard, watching the pigeons wheel and circle
back to their nests in the holes where the tower
roof had fallen. I was told all about the old tower,
how it was old, very old, but now fallen into
ruin, save where it was used for the inn, even
the great stairway, whose rafters I could trace
along the side of the walls, was half gone. But yet,
so Monsieur said, "on y est bien, mon cher", for so
he called me, I was "mon cher" an American
coming to fight for France. And then, at length,
it was time to go, and I put my hand in my pocket
to pay, when Monsieur stopped me with "non,
non, non, il ne faut pas faire fa." Arguments
were useless, and so finally we parted, and just
as I was going he brought out a little black brass
snuff box, and offered me some, which I took, tho
I loathed it. And when I left he told me to re-
turn, with my friends, and visit him again.
October 8 and 10, 1917.
The flower I'm enclosing is mimosa. I don't
know if it will keep its perfume, but it's too lovely
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
now. Yesterday the Major and an English Cap-
tain who has been reform^ sailed over across the
bay to a funny little bit of a fishing village.
There's the most glorious grove of mimosa there
part of the grounds of the parish church. Its
all in bloom now, golden yellow avenues of it with
a heavy sweet scent that fills the air. It was a
hot afternoon, with no clouds overhead, and down
in the grove, with no noise of the outside world
except the trickle of a brook and the clatter of
an old peasant woman's sabots as she went up
and down tending the trees, the war seemed very
far away and unreal. No one in the village
seemed to be of this century even. The tiny
winding street is made of oyster shells, and
bordering it were little, low, white washed houses
with overhanging eaves. The wharf was deserted
except for a few old men in the big, patched
trousers they wear here, that look like bloomers,
and where the sunlight came thru the open
doors you could see the polished brass candle-
sticks on the mantelpiece, warm red bricks on the
floor, and children playing in the sunlight.
It was more like a page from a sketch book
than a real place, and utterly apart from war,
and flying, with all the hurry and noise of the
camp. We stopped at the inn it was a com-
bination of inn, general store, social centre and
took oysters, for which the town is famous, while
the old proprietress chattered around and to us
like a nice, motherly old hen. She told us that
the Ancre d'Or, that was the inn's name, had been
in their family for over a hundred years, the
men fishing while the women-folk ran the inn.
Then, after complimenting her on her oysters
at which she beamed all over we left while she
bobbed "aw revoir messieu" in the doorway.
"And so," as Samuel Pepys said, "To bed."
The autumn is well here, often two weeks of
dismal, chilly rain and mist, and the country side
is bright with its brave resistance to the frosty
nights. All along the road the trees are showing
brilliant yellows and crimsons, with here and
there a clump of somber pines, or a chateau on
the cliffs, its towers in sharp silhouette against
the sky. The fallen leaves swirl and dance among
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
the eddies of white dust along the "grand routes,"
and everything and everyone seems to be liv-
ing life to its fullest before the dreary dark of the
long winter nights set in. The Loire country
is exquisite, little chateaux, and funny, ancient
villages, that round the ruins of some castle, or
else bustling modern cities like Nantes, that
contrast strangely, the street cars and broad
asphalt streets, with the old castle, and its net
work of narrow winding alleys in their midst.
November 1, 1917.
During the last few weeks I have been chasing
all over the lot and so haven't had any chance to
write you and tell you the news of myself. Added
to that my last letter, which I sent to you by a
transport officer two weeks ago was unfortunately
delayed. I found out to-day, just by accident,
that he was in the hospital as the result of a too
protracted spree, and that his ship had sailed
without him, so I shall have to go back into the
dim distant periods of the past over two weeks
ago to tell you all that has happened.
In the first place, I was sent away from here
with orders to go down to one of our ports of de-
barcation and take charge of a lot of Hudson
touring cars which were to be taken overland to
Paris. I got down there in great spirits, for of
course it was a regular spree to get away from
this camp for about a week wandering all over
France in a brand new touring car. However, I
found when I got down to the port that things
weren't going to be quite as easy as I had thought.
In the first place the cars weren't even unloaded
from the boat, and there didn't seem to be much
chance of my getting them off for weeks, as the
stevedores were crowded up with work. After
one day I decided that particular place was no
sort of location for me so I began to hunt around
for some way to hurry things up. The captain
of the ship proved to be the solution. She is a
merchant ship, taken over by the government
for the transport service, with the same old mer-
chant captain. He and I got on excellently he
came from Arlington, Mass., which was an in-
stant bond in common, and so I ended up by living
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
on the boat, and using the ship's crew and winches
to unload and my own men to get the cars out,
so that they were out on the dock in three days.
I had my own truck men down with me to take
charge of them so we got them assembled in short
time and in four days were out on the road again.
It was a delightful run up. All thru Britanny
and then up the valley of the Loire. I have got a
little "presink" for you which I am going to send
home by the first person. It is a very cunning
little enamel cross that comes from Herve Kiel's
town, do you remember? The valley of the
Loire is really lovely. I hadn't realized before how
lovely France was, for our region, though it is
pretty, is very monotonous, with nothing except
the perpetual run of farm houses which you soon
become accustomed to. The Loire valley is all
different, though, for it is never the same. Part
of the time you are driving high up on the crest
of the hills, with the Loire like a silver thread
down below you, and the country, "pleasant
France," spread beneath you with no hint of the
war that is raging in the North, or again you drop
down into the valley where you can watch the
little towns and chateaux silhouetted against the
sky. I saw so many places that I wanted to stop
and investigate and couldn't, funny little towns
where the street winds around between houses,
and under the ruined walls of the chateau to which
the houses cling, or little grimy inns, "Les Trois
Raisins Noirs y " or "k Cheval qui Boiie," all of
which I am sure had all sorts of nice things in them
to see. However, we could only stop very occa-
sionally for meals, and so I didn't get a chance to
do much more than see the country as I passed
I did however, on the second day get a chance
to stop off at Chartres and burn a candle in the
cathedral. I had no idea that the road went
thru there, when all of a sudden I saw off on the
horizon the towers of a cathedral and thought
that it must be that. So I called a halt, and
while the men went off and got lunch I went in
the cathedral. Do you remember the last time
we were there, when I was so busy trying to
find out about the window, and we went out with
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Mr. Thoron ? Goodness but that seems ages and
ages ago. However, I finally got to Paris, and
arrived in on Eleanor out of a clear sky, to find
myself a very welcome guest as she had been
feeling very lonely. The next morning I reported
to headquarters and then went back to Eleanor's
to get over the last of a slight attack of some sort
of malaria that I had contracted in the run up.
When I reported to headquarters two days
later I had the most horrid blow. I found that
I was slated to take a detachment of fifty men to
be taught the supply officer job in England. Of
course I kicked. It seemed to be getting too far
afield from flying and too far up in the supply
work for me. However I had no success and went
down to Issoudun again feeling rather low about it.
Once down here however, I found that Jim Miller
didn't want me to be taken away and after much
telephoning to Paris I think it has been arranged
that I am to stay here. I shall know to-morrow
as I am going up to Paris again.
As a matter of fact I am going to have a bully
job here. There is one of the squadrons here
that is all disorganized. It got over here under
an officer who was a poor bone head with no idea
of how to get on with the men and the result is
that there is no sort of morale to it at all. The
men don't care whether they are out hi the guard
house or not, and they are in a frightful state.
And yet they come from the same place as our
crowd and are really exactly as good stuff. So
they are going to put me in command of it here,
to see what I can make of it. I am very much
pleased, of course, for if I get away with it it means
a very big step toward getting my own squadron
to take out in the spring when we start sending
our squadrons out to the front. It also is rather
nice for they were very nice to me when they
said that they would put me on, though they do
refer to it as a dirty job. I don't care, for I think
I can make it. I am going to get about five of
my old crew transferred to it and then start in
when I get back from Paris.
If everything works all right I am to stick here
until they get the other fields working, for the
plan is to have five fields working within a radius
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
of ten miles, and am then to move over and take
charge of one of the outlying fields. The idea is
that they put one squadron in each field, and com-
plete its training and at the same time get it
working in together before they send it out to the
front. It sounds as though it were going to be a
bully chance to get away from any taint of supply
officer and to get back into the flying end in the
right way. I am very cheerful.
December 8, 1917.
I am Commanding Officer of what is called
the Headquarters detachment. It includes about
six hundred cadets and forty officers. I have to
see that cadet affairs work properly, that all the
officers do their work, and most of all, I am the
one the Colonel hops on if there's any complaint
about the cadets. It is really no job for a flying
lieutenant. In the first place it takes all of my
time, or rather should take all of it, to the ex-
clusion of flying. And then, too, it is pretty hard
to command and discipline thirty nine other first
lieutenants when you are of the same rank and
only a few months sooner. I have been working
nights on the thing trying to get it organized,
then stealing a couple of hours off in the day to
fly. The real trouble is that it doesn't get me any-
where. I suppose it can all be classed as experi-
ence, but I feel a little as if it were just "one more
My commanding officer now is my old Mineola
one, tho', which helps, for he says he will let
me get away as soon as they start sending any
men out to the front. At the moment, tho', it
doesn't look as if any of us would get out for a
couple of months. What I am hoping is to be
sent up in a British squadron some time toward
the end of January, but I am not sure how much
chance there is for anything like that. What one
wants so rarely happens in this army. At all
events, I am now plugging along from day to day,
doing my work, and enjoying my flying.
These little fast machines are delightful. You
feel so at home in them, for there is just room in
the cockpit for you and your controls, and not
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an inch more. And then they're so quick to act.
Its not like piloting a great lumbering Curtis,
for you could do two loops in a Nieuport during
the time it takes a Curtis to do one. Its fright-
fully cold, now, tho*. Even in my teddy-bear,
thats what they call those aviator suits, I freeze
pretty generally, if I try any ceiling work. If its
freezing down below it is some cold up about fif-
teen thousand. Aviation has considerably altered
my views on religion. I don't see how the angels
stand it. Do you remember that delightful grey
muffler you made me? Its very soft, either An-
gora or camel's hair I think, and is now doing
yeoman duty bridging the gap between the top
of my suit and the bottom of my helmet. I think
it is bringing me luck, too, for I am flying much
better, now that I wear it every day. As a matter
of fact I am wearing just about everything mov-
able 'round my room now, and expect to for the
next four months or so.
I had an exciting time two weeks ago with a
plane. I was taking off, and had just got my
wheels clear when a bit of mud got thrown against
the propeller and broke it. One of the pieces
went thru the gasoline tank and before the wheels
were really down on the ground again, or before
I even had a chance to cut the switch, the whole
thing was in flames. I made a wild snatch at
my safety belt, got it undone, and slid out of the
plane on the doublequick time. It cant have
taken me more than thirty seconds, and yet when
I got out, my boots and pant legs were on fire.
As a matter of fact, its marvellous the amount
you get away with in these planes. Two fellows
in the last week have gone straight into the
ground in vrilles, totally wrecking the plane,
and yet neither one is seriously hurt. The worst
one of the two came down about three hundred
feet, hit the ground so hard that he pushed the
engine back where the rudder bar should be and
the rudder bar under the seat, and yet didn't
break any bones. He will be out of the hospital
in three weeks they think. All he got is a couple
of bad cuts on his face from the wind shield and a
stove-in chest. I've decided that nothing short
of shooting a man or breaking a control is fatal !
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Here goes for a very long letter, full of all sorts
of news, for I've just met the man who was sup-
posed to take my last long letter home. He was
an officer on one of our ships, whom I happened
to know, and is back in Paris now, for his ship
and my letter were sunk. As a matter of fact, this
is the first chance I've had to write for I really
have been busy. At the moment tho' I am con-
fined to bed, the result of a mild attack of pneu-
monia. I had had a cough for a month, which
suddenly developed into that. I'm sorry, for I've
lots of work to do, but its a rather pleasant
To begin 'way back after I got back from
my work of taking cars to Paris, I found that I
had another job waiting for me. I was put in
command of a squadron in quarantine for mumps.
They had been under a bad C. O. and were pretty
thoroly disorganized. I had Ham Coolidge for
my second in command and two other very nice
fellows from out West. I followed the Brushwood
Boy's principle of sweating the fat off 'em and the
beef on. First I put in two days making them clean
out their barracks, and fix things up generally.
Then I took them out and drilled and hiked until
I know I was good and tired so I rather think they
were. It worked like a charm, tho', for after about
two weeks they were all in fine shape. Really,
the American of the mechanic class is a pretty
fine specimen, I think. You see all the mechanics,
the skilled labor, has gone into the aviation ser-
vice, so you do get a good crowd. At all events,
just about the time I had got them really going,
another reorganisation hit us.
That has been the trouble all along in the Air
Service. The first lot of regulars that they sent
over here in the aviation weren't much. They
were mostly men who had not made themselves
useful enough in the States to keep them. They
got over here, and found that the reserve officers
who had been sent were a far more capable crowd.
Then, instead of turning in and trying to work
together as far as possible they tried to buck the
reserves. You see, nearly all of them the regu-
lars I mean came over here as captains, and as
they are now either majors or colonels, they've
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gone promotion wild. They have been hanging
on, trying to prove that the reserve officers were
useless. We had about three months of that,
and then, thank heaven, Washington realized
what was going on, and sent over a complete new
(The letter at that moment was interrupted by
Major Goldthwaite, who came in and blew the
roof off me for trying to write or do anything like
that. This is continued two days later.)
I have just started to really convalesce, and
am being allowed to read and write again. I was
really quite sick for a while, a good deal sicker
than I thought I was, and so, as soon as my tem-
perature began to go down again I thought I was
good for letter writing and reading. The medico
sat on that scheme, tho, so to-day is my first day
of doing anything at all for ten days. I am to
be kept in bed here until I am well enough to
make the trip safely, and then am to be sent up
for a two weeks' sick leave, when I shall see Elea-
nor in Paris, and get all fixed up again.
We have now got a real man size organisation
over here now, and it has struck our school down
here, for we now have my old Mineola K. O. He has
made the most tremendous difference to the place.
He was responsible for my last change in job, tho.
Just after he came here, when they made the new
organisation, he made me commanding officer of
what is known officially as the headquarters de-
tachment. That consists of all the cadets and
some fifty officers. You probably don't know
what the cadets are, as no one back in the states,
including the war department, seems to have any
very definite idea about them. The original idea
was that, as all fliers were to be officers, all fly-
ing students should be cadets. Its a good idea,
too, I wish they'd had it when I was at Mineola,
for I'd have gotten a hundred dollars a month in-
stead of forty. At all events the edict went
forth that all students were cadets.
Then some lunatic got the idea that there was
a crying need for pilots over here, that we were
ready for six hundred students a month," and
some other pipe dream, so they started shipping
over untrained cadets by the hundred to France.
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Of course we have no earthly means of coping
with them, and never wanted them in the first
place. What with the troubles we have had in
getting construction gangs and materials, I doubt
if this school will be ready for six hundred pilots
by next June, let alone six hundred a month now.
What is more, and what they didn't seem to realize
back in Washington, we are an advanced school,
and have no facilities for training beginners. Con-
sequently, we have now about six hundred non-
flying cadets here with nothing in the world for
them to do, and apparently no chance of their
flying in the next couple of months.
The Colonel, when he put me in command,
told me I was to try and get things straightened
out as far as possible, and then make a detailed
report on the state of things. I started in and
found I was up against a most tremendous job.
The cadets had no organisation at all. They
wei j being used for guard duty, and nothing else,
and there is nothing more demoralizing for a lot
of men than doing guard under frightful condi-
tions, and nothing else. I started in, and after
two days, sent in a report as long as a presidential
message, asking that more enlisted men be detailed
to relieve the guard, that arrangements be made to
ship off cadets to preliminary schools if possible,
and that if there were any vacancies for non flying
commissions in the air service, they be issued to
cadets on a competitive examination.
Then I got together the officers, and picked
out six assistants who I knew would work and
were good fellows, and arranged that the seven
of us be excused from regular flying formations.
Thus we could work at the cadets and tuck in
our flying whenever we had a spare moment.
Then we divided them up into organisations of
two hundred and fifty and started to lick them
into some sort of military shape. Outside of the
non-fliers, I now have one hundred and fifty fliers,
and twenty navy fliers known unofficially as
the flying fish and we have got them working
out fairly well, tho its a pretty unsatisfactory
situation at best. I know if I were a cadet I
should feel justified in kicking, if, after being en-
listed because I had a college education and was
recommended by all sorts of people as good avia-
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tion material, I was used as a guard for an avia-
tion camp with the prospect of flying in four or
The doctor has come in and ordered me to lie
down again, so I must stop. I have been a per-
fect pig about not writing more, and from now on
you will see a vast change in the news from me,
for I have loved your letters. The trouble is that
writing home makes me get gloomy, for then you
start looking at the war as a whole, an impossible
system. I have given it up entirely, and take it
day by day. The only really satisfactory thing is
that flying is wonderful fun on these new machines.
I wish you could see them. We can do stunts that
you would think were impossible after watching a
Curtis wallow along thru the air.
The doctor is in again.
Lots of love, and I'll write again as soon as
I'm out of the hospital, Q
December 18, 1917.
I am in the hospital, the result of a mild case
of pneumonia. You see, I have been trailing
around here thru mud and cold, and draughty,
unheated barracks for the last month with a tre-
mendous cold and cough. About three weeks
ago it got pretty bad, but as I had lots of work
on hand and no one else that I wanted to do it,
I kept on going. About a week and a half ago
it really began to hit me, and I turned into bed
one night with a fever of one hundred and four.
There was no place hi the hospital our camp
has still slightly elementary sides to it, and so I
stayed here in the officers barracks in my room,
under the charge of one of the doctors, being
fed by the Red Cross, embodied by Miss Given-
wilson. I was pretty sick for a couple of days,
but now I'm well on the road to recovery. As
soon as I am well enough I am to be sent off on a
two weeks leave to recuperate, which I will start
with Eleanor at Paris. I have written father a
long letter just yesterday, so some of this may be
I am rather sorry to have to leave for so long
just at this moment, as both my flying and my
other job are very interesting. However, there's
lots of war left to go round for all of us, I'm think-
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ing. I wish you could see the flying we are doing
over here, though, for it is a revelation to the
Mineola educated eye. When I first got over here
I wondered why every flier was not killed within
the first three months of his flying. Now I have
changed so far the other way that I feel as though
a man could hardly drive one of these machines
into an accident, short of completely losing his
We have had very good luck so far on this field,
and tho we have had a good many pretty nasty
smashes, no one has been killed yet, or even per-
manently injured. And yet the French monitors
make us do all the wild flying stunts that were
considered torn fool tricks back home. Forma-
tion flying is the prettiest, tho. They send about
seven machines up at a time, to practice squadron
and formation flying; vol de groupe they call it.
It looks fairly easy, too, but when you get up in
the air trying to keep a hundred and twenty horse
power kite in its position in a V formation with
planes on either side of you, you begin to hold
different ideas as to its easiness.
I am rather tireder than I thought I was, so I
shall stop, and write to you soon again.
Friday, Dec. 28, 1917.
Obviously on the train.
I did not write till today, for even tho* I was
with Eleanor, Christmas was ghastly. It was the
first Christmas I had ever spent away from home
in my life, and there was nothing to help it out.
At the moment, I am bounding south to get
some warm weather. The prospect is discouraging.
I stayed in Paris as long as I could, with Eleanor,
and was finally ordered out by the medico. At the
last minute two of Eleanor's workers got sick, so
she couldn't come, and I am now gloriously en-
sconsed in one of those gilded horrors that the
trustful Frenchman considers a "wagon lit" try-
ing to persuade myself that a temperature cold
enough to make one see one's breath is a pleasant
vacation. I suggested a little heat in the car, but
the cold hearted lady who rules the car informed
that "c'est la guerre" a fact of which I was al-
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ready dimly aware, and then retired to her little
stove at the back of car.
I think I have at last managed to pry myself
away from that beastly camp. I had it all ar-
ranged that I was to go up with an R.N.A.S.
squadron, and just at the last moment it was sat
on by headquarters, on the grounds that it was
not part of their scheme. Their scheme !
Off the train and at Marseilles
The trouble with their scheme is that it bar-
gains for a vast development, not to come to the
height of its power until next August at the earliest,
and, unless I miss my bet, the Bosche is going to
do his very best to finish the war, and incidentally,
the Americans now in it, this spring. And spring,
in the military sense, is fairly close. I've got a
hunch that within six weeks or so things are going
to be just about as hot up on the front as they
have been since the Marne or Verdun. And, con-
sequently, I rather hope I shall be in a French
squadron within three weeks. I would have to
have ten days machine gun work at Cazeau, but
after that Anyway, I'm dead sick of being in the
L. of C., to all intents and purposes as much of an
embusce as , or . There's one thing if
I change camps at all, after Cazeau, it will be for
the front. Once I have got there I shall feel a lot
easier in my mind, for it will be six months since
I left you, pretty soon, and for all I have done to
help the war I might have stayed at home.
I wish you'd tell the Hon. Pa, that if any of
the big bugs happen to be talking of it, its a
darned shame if they cut out fliers extra pay.
General Pershing cabled advising it, because the
aviation Headquarters is in very wrong with
him, but all that it does is make us the goats
because the man higher up made mistakes. Both
British and French pay their fliers extra, the
British 68%, while we only get 25%, which they
want to take away. And it's not true that it's
easier than the infantry, look at the number of
pilots, and the number of casualties.
"January 7, 1918.
Next day we took an afternoon off, for I
wanted to go to Notre Dame des Victoires. I've
always intended to, for it's the church to which all
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the poilus go just before they return to the front.
It really is quite thrilling. You come in, and at
first can't see very much, as there's semi-darkness
inside. Then as your eyes get accustomed you
can make out the people. There were no lights
except at the altar, which was ablaze with can-
dles. Eleanor and I each lit our candle, and then
went back to sit for a moment and watch. There
was no service going on; it was the middle of the
afternoon, and yet the church was full of people,
all come to pray for victory. We sat for a
while and then, gradually, I began to distinguish
things, for the brightness of the altar only em-
phasized the gloom around. All around the walls,
in cases, were rows upon rows of medals, legion
cThonneur, croix de guerre, and others I did not
recognise, in some there were crossed swords,
and old flags, all given in thanks for victory,
and safe return from the wars.
January 15, 1918.
After all the excitement, and worrying, and dis-
cussing, I am on my way back to my same old
camp. I don't know how long I shall stay there,
I don't know anything about what is going to be
done with me, and nobody else does. I have
finally given up, in despair, all attempt to squeeze
any definite information out of the casual mob
that constitutes our headquarters. The future is
crammed with any number of possibilities, most
of them highly discouraging. I shall know a little
more by to-night, when I have seen Ham and
Cord, so I'll either write you again or lengthen
Of course I hated leaving Eleanor's to come
back to the same dingy old camp, where I'll be
cold, wet, and muddy most of the time. And then,
Eleanor has been so very nice. You don't know
what a trump she is. During this last long stay I
really got to know her quite well, and we had a
very particularly nice time playing around and
doing all sorts of impossible things. Poor thing,
it's hard being so near and yet so far from Ted.
And then, the time when he will begin his very
dangerous work is coming very near.
Why, why don't the people at home realise
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what lies before them? I have been reading the
papers from the states lately, and it is painful.
Our policy seems to be one of verbal camouflage.
The little tin-god civilians and army fossils that
sit in Washington seem to do nothing but lie,
about German weakness, which is easy, for they
have never been in touch with the realness of
German strength, and about our own strength,
which is inexcusable. They've all seen the re-
ports of how things go over here, and yet they
choose to lie, deliberately and publicly, about
them. I saw one official statement about the
hundred squadrons we are forming to be on the
front by June. That doesn't seem funny to us
over here, it seems criminal, for they will expect
us to produce the result that one hundred squad-
rons would have. The one comforting thing is
that all the rest of the services are as badly off.
There's one good thing about going to the
front I shall be so busy worrying about the safety
of my own neck that I shan't have time to worry
about the way the war is going.
I only hope I'll get up there soon it seems
such a solution for all sorts of difficulties. You
get clear of all the little worries and jealousies that
fill up life behind the lines, and you have only the
big eventuality to face, all the others arrange
for themselves if you are fighting. And then, I
feel I owe it to the family to father, and especially
to Arch and Ted who are out there already and
facing the dangers of it, to get out myself.
January 17th, 1918.
Things have cheered up a lot since last I
wrote you. I knew they would. This place is a
squalid hole to come back to, and I knew that first
day would be awful, and so it was. And so I wrote
to you, because I was discouraged and writing you
helps. By now, however, I have gotten settled
into my work, and there is nothing so narrowing as
one's own job. So I have religiously resolved to
look at nothing but the immediate future. Of
course I know how bad it all is, but I'm trying
to forget it for this little space.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
My leave has shown its effects in my flying.
Just before I left I was really doing very badly.
Now, however, I am flying really pretty well, and
it has become fun again, not work. If I keep on as
I am now I shall be ready for the front in three
weeks, and then I hope I shall be able to get out.
Of course it will be at least a month before I get
to the front, but still it's encouraging to think
I'm getting appreciably nearer. The scheme now
is to put us up for six months, by us I mean
Cord, Ham and all our crowd who have been work-
ing here at the school. Then, if we are still alive,
we will be taken back here to work behind the
lines, for six months fighting will use us up pretty
thoroly and we will need the rest of work behind
the lines. It's a good idea, and perfectly true, so
I have firmly decided not to get shot down dur-
ing my first six months. I hope the war is over
before I have a second ! !
This letter is scrawly and scratchy because it is
written on a little wooden bench while I wait for
Cord. We are going to dinner tonight and have
had about fifteen different delays. I rather expect
to go out to one of the outlying fields pretty soon,
and as Cord is in charge of one, I am arranging to
move over to his. So I've been doing a good deal
of tearing around.
Camp is a good deal the same as ever, by
that meaning muddy and dingy. A mid-winter
thaw has contributed largely to the mud. How-
ever, it makes altitude flying a lot easier on us.
I have to do a five thousand meter altitude test,
so I speak feelingly.
1 Same Old Camp, January 22.
I have loved all your letters, and only wish
there were something I could do about the ones I
write. I know they are unutterably dull and
uninteresting, but somehow, I don't seem to be
able to write interesting ones, principally, I sup-
pose, because the things I am doing are not very
much different, except as far as the types of
planes we are using, from what is being done at
any of the camps at home.
I am very busy at the moment finishing up my
flying. I at last succeeded in getting permission to
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do nothing but fly, as the doctor said that I would
have to be on light duty if I went back to the camp
at all. The result has been that for the last week
I have flown practically all the time, and am now
going to go over to Cord Meyer's field to finish up
with my combat work and group flying on ma-
chines of a type that are still in use at the front.
I expect to have a bully time, and tho I rather
hate to be doing nothing at all, yet there is a
glorious sense of relief, when you aren't feeling
very well, to know that you have no earthly
responsibilities except keeping your neck intact
when you are flying.
I had rather a hard time with my flying last
week, thanks to having been sick, for I had to
do my acrobatics, which is rather scary even
when you are feeling thoroly fit. As I wasn't
I hated to have to get into a machine and go up
and do my stunts, for the work they give us here
in acrobacy is certainly wicked. They have
one that they call a glissade that is the fastest
thing I have ever run into in my life. You bank
your machine up perpendicularly and then with
your motor turning up at about three quarters
speed, so as to keep the nose of the machine up,
you slip perpendicularly down toward the ground.
Its far faster than a straight nose dive, for you
haven't got all the head resistance of the wings
to hinder you. I got into it, and after coming
down three hundred meters, in it, got over onto
my back, and, as I was all mixed up as to my
whereabouts, didn't have the slightest idea of
where I was or anything. I got down to within
about a hundred metres of the earth before I
finally did get over onto my right side again.
I will be all right now tho, for I know how to
do the various stunts, and I won't feel that I
have to do things I don't know anything about.
I am going to get to work on them again next
week, and get them perfected, for even tho you
don't use all of them on the front, they are enor-
mously valuable, because they give you absolute
confidence in your machine, and teach you how
to get out of any kind of difficulty you happen
to get into.
I suppose things are sliding along at home in
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
their usual slip shod fashion, and that we are some-
how getting our things ready to make some sort
of effort toward becoming a factor in the war. It
is a little discouraging to us over here, though, to
pick up a New York paper and read a statement
that the Production Board has put out saying
that the work toward getting a fleet of two thou-
sand and ten thousand fliers at the front is pro-
gressing very rapidly. Considering the fact that
all our flying for the next spring and early sum-
mer will have to be done on French made ma-
chines supplied to us thru the courtesy of the
French government, I wish someone who knew
the truth would get up and say what liars they are.
I suppose that they consider it satisfactory if we
have the two thousand planes by the fall of 1919.
The French are beginning to see how much talk
there was in a good deal of what we said. They
grant us only one thing, good material. For the
rest, they are turning back again and making
plans to count on us at least six months later
than they had expected from what we promised
In Camp, January 23, 1918.
Again a long gap between letters; I'm afraid
that I have lost my former faculty for writing
letters. Somehow, when I have any time to
myself, I always seem to either have some sort
of official correspondence to write, like letters to
the adjutant general's office, or else I am just
plain tired out, and know the letter would be
dull, uninteresting, and probably gloomy.
As you may gather from the heading, I am
back in camp again. I left Eleanor's just a week
ago. I could have stayed away on leave for two
weeks longer, Major Goldthwaite told me that
I ought to, but just at that moment Warrington
came back with the news that Ted and Arch were
going up very shortly, so I decided to take a
chance and go back here as I was in order to get
my training finished, and get out. So I trotted
back, and arrived as usual, in a pouring rain storm.
This is really the muddiest country I have ever
run across in my life. I don't see why the French-
men don't turn into frogs, by natural selection,
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
after a thousand years of it. However, the camp
is beginning to really get whipped into shape.
The flying training has become more or less routine,
and the construction is about half finished. When
I got back, I was marked unfit for anything except
light duty, so I was relieved of all duties other
than flying, which was what I had been working
for. Naturally, my flying improved about fifty
percent, for you can't fly and have your mind on
something else at the same time. The result is
that I am moving out to the perfectionnement
school to-morrow, and in three weeks at the out-
side, will have finished my flying and be ready
to go for my machine gun work, and then the
front. The French machine gun course at Cazeau
takes about ten days, so I think I can count on
the front in a month, for they have promised to
send me out as soon as I am ready.
I shall have a very good time for the next three
weeks too, for the field I am going to is run by
Cord Meyer. Consequently it is all arranged
that I am to move in and room with him as soon
as I get there, and generally have a good time.
We have evolved a system for giving ourselves
a good time when we are not working that goes
like a charm. All the planes over at that field
are the little monoplane fighters, and consequently
very fast. So we have arranged when we have
a day off, and unless there has been bad weather
during the week, there is no flying or work, other
than the necessary inspections on Sunday, we
go off on voyages. He takes his plane, and I
take mine, and we go off to some one of the French
landing fields within a hundred or so miles of
here. It is good fun, and also good flying prac-
tise, for the more time you get in the air, the better
you are off, I have decided.
I have just finished up my acrobacy, doing it
all in one day. It was rather strenuous, and I
don't mind saying that I hope I don't get many
more days like that. To begin with, the day be-
fore, I had taken an altitude test, going up to four
thousand metres, and staying there for fifteen
minutes. I did it all right, but thanks to having
just gotten over being sick, it got to my lungs
rather, and I picked up a bad cough and had
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
rather a hard time breathing. The doctor says
that I will probably be that way for a month
more, but as it doesn't bother me under three thou.
and I won't have to do any ceiling work now until
I get to the front, I don't particularly care.
The doctor just happened along, and as I am not
supposed to stay up after 9.30 at the moment, has
packed me off to bed. I shall write again as soon
as I get over to the other field. Best love to all
the family, and "un bon baiser" to you, mother
dear, from ^
January 27, 1918.
I am over at Cord's field now, and will, with
any luck be ready for my machine gun work in
two weeks. After that it's a question of getting
myself grafted out of the school which I think I
can manage. The flying is wonderful, tho', with
these new machines I don't like it, from the point
of view of personal comfort, for the motors are
much harder to manage. You have the same
plane, practically, with one hundred and twenty
horse instead of eighty, and for some reason the
one hundred and twenty motor is much harder
to keep running. It's very easy to stall it when
you're doing stunts and almost impossible to
catch it again. Generally a stalled motor means
a landing wherever you happen to be, with these
birds. The thing that makes up for it is the
power you get. You can climb at the most
astonishing rate, and do perfectly wicked "chan-
delles" A chandelle, in case I haven't told you
about one, is a steep climb in a vertical turn. It's
very hard to do well, wonderful fun when you can
do it, and most important for fighting when you
get out there. I am practising a lot on all of them,
and getting in about three hours flying a day,
which is about all you can comfortably stand.
As it is I'm always glad when I get into my ancient
sleeping bag, and settle down for a night's rest.
In camp, on the 29th of January.
Such a funny, and rather a pleasant thing has
happened, all at once to-day I got a whole lot
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of packages in a lump. I think they must have
been missent, or else held at the Post Office thru
some mistake. At all events there were all sorts
of things. (This, by the way, is being type-
written under difficulties, as I have the typewriter
on my knees, and no light worth speaking of.)
Then there were also three books from you, which
I loved. They were detective stories, the last
one being the Black Eagle Mystery. I'm wonder-
ing now whether you have sent any others, and
hope you have. They really made me quite home-
sick, for there was a sort of undefined presence to
them, as of father in the train, and then the
catchall. I am forwarding them on to Eleanor
when I have finished them, for I know she will
appreciate them quite as much as I do. We never
get any of that sort of thing over here. The best
we can do in the line of home reading is the Sat.
Eve. Post, and even that at times is rather in-
adequate. So nearly anything, no matter how
common it is over home, is a novelty here. Do
send me some more books, or magazines, or any-
thing from a blue Ribbon Garage bill up, for I
very much appreciate the ones I have got not
At the moment I am doing what I have really
wanted to do all along which is finish up my
flying. I am at the last stage now, and should be
finished in about ten days, or so. We are doing
formation flying now, which is a revelation to you
after what we did back home. They will detail
two men to go on a reconnaissance, make a plan of
a camp fifty miles from here, or something like
that. Then they will detail another five men to go
along in patrol formation acting as escort and pro-
tection against Boche patrols. In formation you
fly rather the way geese do, in V shape, with the
second men just higher than the leader and so on.
At first its rather scary, for you have to stick close
together, but once you get over that it begins to be
amusing, for you have to watch your plane and
motor all the time without looking at them, a
rather Irish statement. What I mean is that you
have to be able to watch the other men so as to
keep your place in line, and at the same time
manage your plane. We get the most tremendous
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amount of flying in in a day, for I did three
hours and a half yesterday, and over four hours
I have been having a continual fight with the
doctors, tho, and incidentally with myself. The
trouble is that I have been getting in so much flying
lately that I am tired out most of the tune. The
net result was that I collected another cough, as
my lung wasn't quite fixed up. I had been feeling
rather poorly, but I was pretty anxious to get my
flying done, so I was keeping on. Then to day,
I dropped over to the main camp to see Ham, and
there was caught by Major Goldthwait. The
first thing he decided, after looking me over, was
that I had measles, because I had a cold, and a
temp, and there was a suspicious rash on me. I
finally persuaded him out of that, and then he
turned on the other tack, and said that my vitality
was low, and that I was very likely to get some-
thing if I didn't look out, and ended with orders
for me to go on light duty, and do no work for a
week. I don't know what I am going to do about
it, for I certainly can't quit flying for a week
right now, when I am finishing up. In the first
place, they are getting ready to send a couple of
squadrons up within a reasonably short time, and
I am going to have a hard enough time anyway
trying to get myself a place in one of them. I
think I shall wait and see how things turn out.
In the mean time I am going to bed at the noble
hour of eight thirty, which means that there won't
be very much more to this letter. I hope that by
now you are getting my letters regularly again,
after my lapse from virtue, I have posted them to
you in a variety of ways, by French mail, and
military mail, so I hope they have started to
I am enclosing some snow drops that I found
over at Romorantin. They reminded me so
much of Oyster Bay, and hunting for the first one
out in front of the porte-cochere. I suppose that
they will be out by the time you get this, if my
mail is any indication. At all events, they go
to show that, even if I have been very bad about
writing, there are places I would rather be, and
persons I would rather see, than the AEF provides.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
Give my love to all the family; I am writing father
to-morrow. Goodbye, and un bon baiser, from,
Fbruary S, 1918.
We all went over to the funeral of those two
fellows that were killed. I was flying above it
and so I couldn't tell so well. The coffins were
escorted by a platoon of American soldiers, and one
of French sent out from the French post. Then,
flying just above, were two of the French pilots,
in the larger machines. They are marvellous
pilots, and it was really beautiful to watch them
crossing and recrossing over the cortege in beauti-
ful smooth right-angled S turns. Then, just as
they were lowering the coffins, another Frenchman
dropped down in a long swoop, his motor almost
dead, dropped a wreath on them, and then swung
off. All the time we were up above, flying at about
five hundred meters, in formation. We had a ten
formation, two "V's" of five, circling round and
round till it was over. They say that from the
ground it was very impressive, for there, being
buried, were two fellows we had all known and
flown with a few days before, and round them
and over, the planes circling, paying a last tribute.
It takes away some of the bare horror that
the two little twisted heaps of wrecked planes and
twisted motors leaves. You realise that perhaps,
after all, we don't entirely, like the boche, "put
our trust in reeking tube or iron shard.*'
Soon after being detailed to Issodun Quentin
met the Normants who were living at Romorantin,
and instead of having one "marraine," he found
himself with a whole family, grandparents, par-
ents, and grandchildren to accept him. He al-
ways referred to the Normants as his "Family
in France," and was devoted to one and all. What
their friendship and unfailing hospitality meant
to Quentin and Ham can never be estimated.
Only those who have experienced the whole-
hearted generous kindliness with which French
families greeted the Americans who went over
to serve can begin to realize what it meant.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
Sunday, February 16, 1918.
Friday afternoon, we got orders over at our
field to have eighteen men ready to go out in a
squadron the next morning. Of course when I
heard that, I thought "at last, we've got our first
squadron going out." So I went hotfoot over to
the main camp to see the Colonel and get permis-
sion to go out with that squadron. He refused,
absolutely, and of course I put up a tremendous
kick. After I'd got all through kicking he said:
"I'll tell you why I do that. That squadron
that is going out is merely a political move,
sent so we can say we have a squadron at the
front. They haven't even got machines for them
yet, or any sort of an organisation to allow for
breakage and spare parts. What will happen to
them is that they will move out into a camp that
is not yet finished, up in the zone of the advance,
and then sit there for a month, until our or-
ganisation can take care of them, when they will
probably form not the first squadron, but the
finishing school staff of the zone of the advance.
I am going to keep you back here for that reason,
but I will do this. I'll send you out to the front
as soon as Meyer gets back, and send you out in
a real squadron, either English or French."
So you can imagine how cheerful I am. Cord
ought to be back within two weeks, and then I
get sent out in his place in a real squadron, with
real machines, and men who know something
about the game. I rather think it will be a French
squadron, as I can talk French. At all events,
cheers ! in about two weeks I'll have stopped
being embusque Quentin.
Things are also rather amusing over at the
field now, for besides the eighteen, twenty more
were taken out, to be used as instructors, and to
learn bombing. Consequently, I have only seven
students now, so you can imagine how much
flying I am arranging for them. It is the first
time that I've really had enough planes to do
what I wanted, so I am giving them all sorts of
stunt flying and formation work the others didn't
have. I'll bet they're better pilots than any of the
others when I get thru with them. And all the
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
time, I am working on my flying, and watching
the calendar till Cord comes back.
I took Ham over here with me this Sunday.
We have been intending to do it for a long time,
and now that he is plane tester over at my field,
I can take him out, on expeditions, as I am in
charge of all the planes over there. We had any
amount of fun doing it it's lots more amusement
touring the country in a plane if you can look over
your shoulder and see some one else sitting up
in his machine just over your wing-tip. I knew
Ham would love it over here, and he is having a
bully time. We have a great big room, with a
bathroom to ourselves, and altogether, it's civili-
zation again. Its now 10:30 A. M. and we've just
finished breakfast, so I hear Ham making a tre-
mendous rumpus in his bath next door, and occa-
sionally hurling some insult at me.
February 17, 1918.
SAME OLD CAMP
Its been quite a long time since my last letter,
and all sorts of water has flowed under the bridge
since then, but I am up against the discouraging
fact that I am not sure when my last letter was, so
please excuse if I repeat. In the first place, I
got your letter, together with ones from father
and Ethel, and was particularly glad to get them,
especially yours, for it hasn't been pleasant being
under the ban, however well deserved it may have
been. We haven't had exactly a mild winter
ourselves over here, though it hasn't been as bad
as it must have been on L. I. After one frightfully
cold snap, when we had snow all the time, and
flying was most unpleasant, we had nearly a month
of delightful weather, almost like spring, but now
the weather man seems to have had another re-
lapse, and all the winter clothes and fur lined boots
have come out again.
Its rather of a bore, because with the work I
am doing now I have to get in a lot of flying of
the most uninteresting sort, where I merely take
out a patrol of men and try to lose them, or get
them so mixed up that they can't show on the
map where they have been when they come down
again. It means about two hours of straight-
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
away flying, with nothing in the world to relieve
the monotony of it except twisting about, and
trying to find some part of the country within
a radius of seventy five or eighty miles that I
have not already investigated. Its not so bad
when the weather is warm, for you sit back in your
plane, and let the controls loose, and think of
when the war will end, or what Long Island would
look like now, or some other pleasing fiction. But
now, there is always some part of you that gets
cold. Either its your forehead, or one finger tip,
or your feet; but whatever it is, it serves to keep
your mind off any more amusing thought. You
try your hardest to project yourself out into the
fields of speculation, and always after a few seconds
you find yourself back up against the one dis-
gusting truth that that particular finger or what-
ever it is is cold.
February 21, 1918.
Letter No. 1.
I'm at the moment indulging in the not over
satisfactory feeling of knowing that I've done
what I ought to have done, even tho' it wasn't
what was pleasantest. I was given the chance of
being permanently that is for the next three
months stationed at Paris, to deliver planes to
the various depots. You see, the heart of the
aeroplane industry is Paris, for all the big fac-
tories are there. Consequently, we have American
testers, who receive the planes, test them, and
then accept or reject them. If they are accepted
they have to be flown to their various destinations.
I was to be in charge of that particular branch,
and to arrange for the deliveries. It would be
wonderful fun, of course, for I'd be flying all over
France out to the front as well as to the various
schools behind the lines. There would be a cer-
tain amount of good experience in it, too, but the
trouble is, it's a job for a man back from the front
for a rest, or one who's had a bad crash and lost
his nerve. It's no occupation for me who have
never been to the front. And so I turned it down,
and I've been thinking, rather regretfully, of the
good times I might have had in Paris. I would like
to get a job testing, tho', for I think that is valuable
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
work. I don't think there's much chance of that.
A tester is never an embusque, for after all, you
can't call a man a slacker whose job is testing
planes to see if they're strong enough, and well
built enough to stand service. Besides, a tester
gets wonderful flying experience, for he flies all
kinds of machines, and, in case he gets a machine,
that is what the French call " malregl6," he has a
slight sample of what flying at the front may be
like with part of your controlling surfaces shot
So, I am still in my old work here, and having a
rather amusing time, for I am not exactly sure
what I am. I feel a little like the song, " Am I the
Governor General, or a hobo," for no one, least
of all headquarters, can make out just what my
status is. I am hanging on like grim death, until
I can get sent out to the front. Once I have had
my three weeks or so with the French or English,
I will have some sort of a foundation to base on,
but till then, I'll probably remain an official mys-
In the meantime, I am getting in all kinds of fly-
ing, and I think, accomplishing a certain amount
in the line of training the new men at the same
time. Yesterday I took a group of ten off for
a reconnaisance. They all had their maps, and
the object was to make them keep formation
and at the same time make out from the map where
they are going. It's good practice for them, but
by way of being dull for me, so I thought I'd
liven it up by doing a couple of virrages a la verti-
cale, and generally fooling round the sky. I did
that for about five minutes, always keeping the
general direction I was going, but more or less
wagging my tail en route, and then looked around
for the formation, which should have been follow-
ing above in two nice "V's" of five. Instead, they
were scattered all over the landscape like flies. I
stopped doing everything at that, and flew in a
straight line, so that gradually they formed up
again. Then when I got back I asked what was
the matter, and found that they had tried to fol-
low my movements. Of course, it's absolutely im-
possible, in formation, to do anything like that,
and I told them so. I've also been polishing up
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
my acrobacy a good bit lately, so that I can do it
February 23, 1918.
Not much news this time, except one rather
sad bit. Al Sturtevant has been shot down. I
heard it from Bob Lovett. He was patrolling,
doing seaplane work, when he had the bad luck to
run into a squadron of Bosche planes, out on some
sort of reconnaisance. Of course he didn't have
a chance. They shot him down, so thoro'ly that
even the plane was totally destroyed, and sank.
Poor Al, he's the first of that bunch whom we
knew and played round with, that is gone. Still,
there's no better way, if one has got to die.
It solves things so easily, for you've nothing to
worry about it, and even the people whom you
leave have the great comfort of knowing how you
died. Its really very fine, the way he went,
fighting hopelessly, against enormous odds, and
then thirty seconds of horror and its all over,
for they say that on the average it's all over in
that length of time, after a plane's been hit.
PABT II TRAINING FOR COMBAT
I am down at Cazaux, it's where they teach
the Chasse pilots machine gun work, it is interest-
ing and very valuable. From what I can gather
about half the game in "chasse" is good machine
It has been really a kind of vacation to come
down here, for although we work pretty hard, it's
nice and warm and we are right on the ocean
living in a big summer resort hotel. The Colonel
was awfully nice about it too, for he said I would
still keep my status on the flying staff and be
eligible to go out next in line with a French or
Our own affairs are going along about the same.
They train pilots and send them up to depots at
the front and then leave them there with no planes
to fly. You will get all of that from General Wood.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
One thing that is making trouble is the fact that
we seem to be a door mat for G. H. Q. and the
Line. The first they got us on was cutting flying
pay when every other army in the world pays
their flyers extra. Then the new service stripe
regulations came out, and we got it in the neck
again. In the aviation section one has to be six
months in actual combat at the front to get a
stripe; that means that a mechanic working near
the front and bombarded every night has nothing
to distinguish him from the Washington embusque.
A pilot has to last six months and they hardly ever
keep a chasse pilot up more than three. Also,
some one like Ham Coolidge for instance, who is
testing planes back at the school and doing dan-
gerous work gets no credit and yet we kill on an
average of one a week at the school.
There, my wail is done !
March 7, 1918.
Letter No. 6
General Wood was out here yesterday, and
as he is leaving very shortly, is going to take these
back with him. So, as this will get to you prob-
ably a good deal before my last few, I'm going
to repeat myself. To begin with, I'm at Cazaux,
at the French Ecole de Tir Aerien. They teach
you the machine gun side of chasse work. I was
very strongly advised to do it by Colonel Kilner,
as he considers it very valuable training. He
also promised to keep me on my training staff
status, so that when I get back I can be sent out
with either in British or French escadrilles. In
the meantime I'm having a most interesting time
back here. They start out with explanations of
the mechanism and jams in the various types
of machine guns. Then after some work on
the ground, shooting at targets, shooting from
boat at targets, and shooting at little balloons,
you start in on air work. First there are no guns
on the planes and you have to go up a couple of
thousand metres, drop over a paper parachute, and
then chase it, manoevring round it. After that you
start, beginning on fixed balloons and ending with a
sleeve towed by another plane. In all that work
they keep record of your shots, and count the hits
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
afterward. It's a three weeks' course, and I do
not get finished until the eighteenth, and then,
after two days in Paris, I'll go back to Issoudun
again. From there, if things work as I hope, I
go out with the French or British very shortly.
However, I've given up prophesying as to when
I'll be anywhere. I went to Cazaux on ten hour's
The only unpleasant part is that the machines
here are the most awful old crocks. They have
been in service for ages, and have old motors and
fuselages and wings that are all warped and bent
out of shape. Consequently, the French warn you
when you go up, to be very careful to do no sort
of acrobacy at all, and not even try any steep
dives with them to vertical virages. That's all
very well, but they also expect you to follow the
parachutes all the time, and make good scores
when you are shooting at the machines.
You get up in the air, and get excited over
trying to follow up the parachute, or whatever
it is you are trying to shoot at, and you forget all
about your machine except as a means of keeping
your sights on the target. As a matter of fact
one of our fellows was killed just last week, in a ma-
chine that was supposed to be perfectly all right.
He was doing combat work at about fifteen hun-
dred, when for some reason or other, just as he was
straightening out of a dive, his wings folded up on
him. Of course he didn't have a chance. He was
a Cornell boy, named Hagedorn.
Quentin made an excellent record at Cazaux;
his score card was afterward sent to his family,
and the note on the bottom reads: "Tres bon
pilote. Atterrissages tres reguliers. Tres bon
tireur. Esprit tr&s militaire, Beaucoup d'allant."
As we are all living at Arcachon, incidentally,
I've actually got a room and bath at a hotel, I
dine with four or five officers every night, and have
a most delightful time. Last night we gave a little
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
dinner, to a couple of French aces, back for a
month's rest. One had nine, and the other eleven
Boche, so you can see they were pretty good.
Things went well, and they were most interest-
ing, telling about various times they had had.
One of them started as observer, was captured,
kept in a reprisal camp for five weeks, and finally
escaped, via the lines, and across No Man's Land
to the French again. After that, he became a
chasse pilot ! Finally one of them got up, and
proposed a toast to America, with the best
speech I've heard in a long time. He has a
wonderful gift for the dramatic, and he finished
with, "and gentlemen, when we dine together
again, and the war is over, may there be no
empty places." That's only a bald attempt at
conveying the sense, for it was beautifully done.
Cazaux, March 12th.
Down here things are very pleasant. We have
been having the most glorious weather, warm and
spring-like. The result is that they have in-
creased our hours of work, so that we have to be
upon the field from seven in the morning to seven
in the evening, with only lunch time out. It
makes a pretty long day of it and bed looks very
pleasant by 9 :30.
Sunday was a half holiday so we went off for
an expedition, the Major, Lou Bredin, myself
and an English Captain named Ainsley. You
would have loved it. We went away across the
bay on a little nondescript sort of sloop, which
her owner called a canot. The bay is closed up at
the mouth with a sort of strait with high dunes on
each side that go all the way along the ocean up
into the pine forests. It's curious country-
nothing but sand and pine trees, planted by Na-
poleon's orders (not the sand). I have flown for
miles over it and except for occasional bare patches
of sand it's deserted no clearings, no houses
nothing. Only along the coast there are little
fishing villages. We went out to one of them on
our sail and stopped to look at a grove of mimosa
in bloom. You have seen it of course and know
how lovely it is. The whole thing was like an
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
artist's sketch book. The men wear blue and
brown shirts and red baggy trousers, all toned and
softened by salt water, so that there are no sharp
edges to the colors. The women too, when they
are working at the oyster farms wear the same red
trousers. We explored it all there were fully
fifteen houses and then sailed back and so, like
Samuel Pepys, "to bed."
I leave in five days, although what I shall do,
or where I shall go, heavens knows !
Its been quite a long time since I last wrote
home, and all sorts of things have happened.
In the first place; I have finished up my work at
Cazaux, and am back again at the same old camp.
I finished up there on the twenty-second and went
up for a forty eight hour pass in Paris, hoping to
be able to get out to see Arch. I found when I
got up there that it was impossible, as he is still
in an evacuation hospital in the zone of the ad-
vance, and I was not able to get passes to go out
there. However I did see Eleanor, who was up
in Paris, and having a horrid time, because she
too had been unable to get out to see Arch. She
had tried pulling every string she could, and the
general opinion was that it would be impossible
to do it, and that if she did do it this time, it
would be the last chance she would have. She
talked it over with Doctor Lambert, and also
with several people who had just seen Archie, and
they all agreed that his wounds were not serious
enough to warrant that. As she said, it is a good
deal better, if she is only going to be able to do
it once, to wait until a time when one of us is
very seriously wounded and needs her more. Also,
they are expecting to move Arch into Paris very
shortly, and so she will see him and be able to
look after him as soon as he gets up there. She
has gone down to Aix again, leaving word that as
soon as it is definitely known when Arch is to be
moved, she is to be telegraphed so that she can
come up to him.
As a matter of fact I was rather glad to get
away from Paris, for the offensive was starting,
and it wasn't much of a time for playing around,
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
or doing anything at all but getting back to one's
job. There's no use talking about the offensive
because it will be all past history by the time you
get this, and also because we don't know anything
about it down here. The one thing we do know is
that our chasse planes are being held up now by
a new shortage machine guns. They have so
far got only enough for the first squadron. The
other squadron is doing decoy work a most
profitless occupation to my mind. They are sent
out over the lines escorted by two French planes
with machine guns. The object is to get the
German to attack them. Then they leave for
home in a hurry and let the Frenchmen look after
the Boche. It seems foolish to have to work that
way, but we can't choose. They've done one
rather delightful thing though. As you know,
each squadron on the front has some special
insignia. Guynemer's, for instance, was the Stork,
there are the Leopards, the Indians, and lots of
others. The poor souls who have to go across
without machine guns have adopted a decoy
duck, with one leg stuck out stiffly in front as if it
were doing a goose step. They have got it painted
on all their planes.
I am at the moment in charge of training at
the finishing field here, and expecting my orders
any day. There is no vacancy at the present, as
we have no planes, but I am to be sent up as soon
as there is any. All schemes of going up in French
squadrons and such have been disarranged by the
offensive, and I rather doubt if they will start
working smoothly again until the offensive is
finished. In the meantime, Ham and I are sitting
here, doing our work from day to day with an eye
on the mail each morning, and a hope that it will
have orders. In a way I'm not so sorry, for it
has given me the chance to get out of a streak
of bad flying that I had gotten into. I think it
was the result of the landing field at Cazaux,
complicated with not feeling awfully well. When
I got back to this part of the world again I started
in with a very heavy cold, and had to turn in for
a day or two, as the doctor thought I was going to
get another attack of pneumonia. Then when I
started to fly I found that, either as a result of
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
that or as a result of a landing field at Cazaux that
is as smooth as a billiard table, my landings had
all gone to the bad. I smashed one plane up
beautifully when I started out. It was really a
very neat job, for I landed with a drift, touched one
wing, and then, as there was a high wind, did three
complete summersaults (spelling?) ending up on
my back. I crawled out of it with nothing more
than a couple of scratches. So now I'm flying
most of the time, getting into practise. I've
got to go now, as there is a plane out en panne
that I have got to locate. Lots of love to all the
family, from QUENT
March 30, 1918.
I've flown a certain amount because, being in
charge of training, I've had to decide whether it
was fit for flying. It's quite amusing to fly in
very windy weather. Yesterday when I cut my
motor to come down, I found I was making al-
most no headway against the wind. So I came
down turning over about a thousand, and feeling
as if I were in a delivery cart on a cobble stone
road. She slapped and thumped on the gusts of
wind like a flat bottomed boat in a sea. Alto-
gether, flying for me has been amusing. Yester-
day before coming over here it rained until five in
the afternoon. Ham and I had almost given up
the idea, when we noticed the clouds beginning to
separate. I said try it anyhow, and so we started.
It was funny flying weather. We went thru the
first set of clouds at about three hundred metres.
Then there was clear air for about a thousand
metres, with only occasional banks, and finally a
solid ceiling at about thirteen hundred. So we
took the middle flying fairly high and watching for
the ground between clouds to see where we were.
I had a most unpleasant time of it just at the
end, for I was really scared, and its the only time
I have been, in the air. We were just about five
miles from here, and I was getting ready to nose
her down and come thru the clouds to land when
for some unknown reason I began to feel faint
and dizzy. I'm free to confess that I was scared,
good and scared. However there was nothing to
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
do except trust to luck, so I nosed her down, and
went for the landing. As luck would have it, I
happened to have just hit it rightly, and I came
in on that glide with only a couple of S's to slow
me up. I was mighty glad, tho, when I got on to
good, solid ground again."
Sunday, April 6, 1918.
Ham and I are planning a big party very shortly.
We are both going to take the seven day leave
which the army gives us every four months,
only we are going to take it by plane. We'll
probably cruise all over the map, drop in and see
Eleanor at Aix les Bains, and generally have a
marvellous time. Don't you think it sounds like
good fun? The one draw back is that my plane
looks like a Liberty Bond ad. The mechanics in
the hangar said that they were going to arrange
a little surprise for me during the four rainy days
that we've had, and they lived up to their word.
They've got a huge American shield with white
wings stretching across the top plane. Then
running round the fuselage they have two spiral
red and blue stripes ending in a little circle with
the American insignia right back of the cockpit.
Even the wheel covers are painted up. The net
result is that wherever I land the plane collects a
large crowd instantly. I'm getting some pictures
taken of it, and if they're any good I'll send them
to you. Its v. sporty.
April 15, 1918.
Please excuse this very spurious paper, for I
have been too busy to get away from camp during
the last week to get any more respectable variety.
Things are beginning to hum here at the school.
For one thing, we hear that they are not going to
send any more pilots over from the states for the
present, which is about the first sensible decision
that they have made as regards the Air Service.
As it is they must have about two thousand pilots
over here, and Heaven knows it will be ages before
we have enough machines for even half that num-
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
her. Not one of the bunch that were at Cazaux
with me have got out to the front yet, and there
doesn't seem to be much chance of their doing so
in the immediate future. It seems an awful pity,
too, for with the way things are going on the front
now, I can't help but think that all the pilots that
can be handled ought to be sent up there in French
and English squadrons if we can't provide the
machines for them ourselves. Still, the Major
says that he is certain that they will not let anyone
go up with the French, as the last pilot that we
sent up there only got as far as Paris and was
then held up on account of the offensive.
I wonder if they are hearing all the news about
the offensive back in the states, and if they realize
how serious it is. I'm rather afraid of talking
about it, first because I am a little leary of the
censor, and next because, being in the rear as we
are, I doubt if we know as much even as you do
in the U. S. A. All we do know is that its a
mighty serious business, and that its our business
to get into it as soon as possible. In the mean-
time I am working my hardest trying to get the
students that go thru here as well trained as pos-
sible, and incidentally flying myself a lot.
I am getting my air work down pretty well now,
for I don't think there's any sort of a stunt that I
haven't tried. Ham who is here testing, goes up
with me every day for combat work, which is
most interesting. The other day he came over in
a new type of plane, that they are just putting
in on the front, and we had a bully time with it.
I went up in mine, which is of course specially
taken care of by the mechanics and we chased
each other around for about a half an hour.
I just got a note from Arch to say that he was
doing finely, and also hear from the papers that
he has been moved to Mrs. Reid's hospital in
Paris. I am going to fly up there next Saturday,
if its decent weather, and spend Sunday with him.
Its about a hundred and fifty miles, and I can
make it in about an hour and a quarter. Eleanor
is already up there with him, as I just got her
telegram asking when I could get up there to see
I have just gotten one piece of news that is
very bad, if true. It is that Cord is reported
missing. I have been over in the Major's office
all day trying to get official confirmation of the
rumor, and as yet have succeeded in hearing noth-
ing about it. I don't see how it can be possible, for
he was as good a pilot as any I have seen here,
which means as any in the TJ. S. A. S. So I'm
Do you remember when you sent me this
poem ? * It was two years ago, in a clipping in one
of your letters. I remember loving it then, and
its rather curious to run across it again, so I am
sending it on to you, as I have a copy I made of
the other. This seems a rather short letter, but
we are all so full of the offensive over here that it
doesn't leave much room for anything else except
"shop" in our heads. I'm so glad father is
getting all right again. Lots of love to Ethel and
Co. and to you especially, from your loving,
May 4, 1918.
Its been perfect ages since I last wrote to you,
and I've got a variety of reasons for not having
* " Christ in Flanders."
done so. The one real one is that I had one hand
laid up in an accident and aside from that haven't
been feeling decently for quite a while now. It
started a little while after I got back from Cazaux.
I had been feeling all overish for quite a while,
and then one day when I was off on a voyage my
motor blew up on me, and I had to come down for
a forced landing. As luck would have it, some
fool people got in my way, just as I was coming in
to land, and as between hitting them or crashing,
I took the latter, and hung myself up nicely in
some trees. I reduced the plane to kindling wood,
and got out of it myself whole but rather battered.
Among other odds and ends, I had a bad wrist
which reduced my epistolary efficiency. That
in itself wasn't anything particular, but it was
part of a vague general uncomfortableness. Ham
and I talked things over, and found that we both
were about in the same fix. It boiled down to
this, that we both were heartily sick of the work
we were doing, and that we wanted to get out to
the front, or anywhere away from this mud ridden
hole. I had got to the point where even the sight
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
of a flying student filled me with loathing. It is
rather hard to teach men to fly, and send them on
thru the school, when you can see no future in
sight for them. I knew that the men we were
sending thru would just be sent to a gunnery
school, and then have to hang around goodness
only knows how long until there were any planes
for them to fly. And knowing that it was awfully
hard to get up any enthusiasm for a job, which I
hated anyway. The long and the short of it was
that Ham and I both decided, independent of the
other, that we were stale. So I went to the Major
and asked him if he could not arrange to have
Ham take a leave. He said that on account of
the offensive, leaves were being discontinued, but
that he would allow Ham to take a plane on a
cross country to Paris. So he sent for Ham and
told him this, whereupon Ham told him some long
song and dance about me, resulting in our both
being sent off with our planes for a six days* rest
in Paris. Don't you think that was pretty nice
of him ? It made the most tremendous difference
to me, for now I am back here again, and tho I
don't like the work, yet I do see how useless it is
to kick about it and not do it, when there is no
chance to go out to the front anyway. The Major
has promised us anyway that as soon as any bunch
goes out to the front he will see that our names
are on the list.
Eleanor is up in Paris now looking after Archie
so I stayed with her and naturally had a bully
time. She really has been a perfect trump about
the way she has taken care of all of us. As a
matter of fact, neither she nor I think Arch is very
well. He is very thin, and is in the horrid posi-
tion now of not knowing what is going to happen
to him. It will be about five months, so the Major
at the hospital says, before he will be fit for active
service again, and the question is what to do.
Myself, I can't see why he wasn't sent back to the
states as soon as they evacuated him from the
Z of A. As it is, he is in the hospital, getting
better slowly. I think he would have been much
better off if he had been sent back to the states to
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
May 4, 1918.
There are some nice things about aviation,
really. It seems to be the one part of the war in
which brother Boche has the instincts of a sports-
man and a gentleman. Of course the service is as
full of wild stories as a boarding school, and this
one I'm not sure about, tho I think its so. After
Guynemer was brought down a Boche flew over his
squadron's airdrome and dropped a letter saying
that his funeral would be on a certain date and
that four Frenchmen would be given safe conduct
to land on the German field and attend it. They
accepted it, and flew over, landed on the German
field, were received by the Germans, attended the
funeral and then went back. It's rather a fine
thing if true, and I do know for certain that they
know where Guynemer's grave is, so it may be
true. Then just shortly ago, Baron von Richt-
hofen the German ace, was brought down by the
English. They buried him with full military
honors, three French aces and three English aces
for his pall bearers. It must have been most im-
pressive, the French and English soldiers standing
to attention as they lowered him into his grave
while the English chaplain read the burial service
over him. All those are the little things that will
make up the traditions of the service after the
war's over. And it is a nice thing to know that
the things that you are to some extent a part of
will be the traditions of the service. That and
the certainty that there will be plenty of war
left even when I get up there, helps to make
Issoudun a little more bearable.
May 12, 1918.
Its been perfect ages since I wrote to you, and
again I'm ashamed of myself, but I am also
ashamed of my mail from the states, for I haven't
gotten a single letter from there of more recent
date than the third of April. I don't know what
has been happening to them, for most of the other
people here have gotten them as recently as the
eighteenth. I hope they weren't sunk.
I've got uncommonly little news that's worth
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
the repeating. To begin with, I am still back at
the same old place, and with no more definite
prospect of getting out. Thank goodness, from
what we can get in the papers, General Wood
seems to have tried to give the people some idea
of just what their wonderful aircraft production
board has accomplished for them with its six
hundred and twenty five millions and its glorious
prospectuses. I only hope that it isn't too late
to get things rolling over there. This certainly
does look as if we were in for a good long run of
it, doesn't it? Arch and I were discussing it, in
the cheerfully ignorant fashion in which every-
one does who is over here, and we don't think
there's a chance of their being beaten for a year
and a half more. Or rather, we don't think it
will last thru more than one more winter. But
of course, I'd have said the same thing last fall.
They can certainly put over an offensive when
they make up their mind to, in spite of "insuf-
ficient man-power" and all the rest of that line.
The one thing that we've heard that has pleased
us in the aviation is that their new monoplane
Albatross was a wash out and that they have
gone back to the old D3 which was so successful.
If we have the D3 we know what we're up against.
I've loved all your letters, for they say what's
going on really, not what ought to be going on,
I've just been up in Paris again and so natur-
ally I'm full of news. Just last week the Major
called me in and said that he knew I knew a good
many French aviation officers, consequently if I
could persuade one of their squadron commanders
to apply by name for me and Ham (!) he would see
that the request was O. K'd. by our headquarters
and that we were transferred up there. You can
imagine how Ham and I felt ! Its just what we've
been trying to do for ages. So with the help of
Capt. Pelissin, who composed the letter, I wrote
to Capt de V - who commands a group of 4
Spad squadrons. We asked him to apply for
Ham and me at once. Then the Major, as he
knew of this, sent me up to Paris on Sunday to
deliver some important papers that had to go
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
by hand. His idea was that while in Paris I
could go to the French aviation H q to arrange
about it which I did.
I put in one whole busy day chasing from one
office to another soft soaping all sorts of French
officers, with "Oui mon Capitain," and "parfaite-
ment, mon commandant" until I began to feel
rather like a phonograph with only one record.
However, I think I got something out of it, for
at least two of them have agreed to inform me the
instant any action is taken.
Arch is getting along splendidly. For a while
I was quite worried about him, but now he seems
to be in very much better spirits, and his wounds
are improving right along. I had all kinds of fun
with him, for we lunched together both days
that I was up there.
Paris is wonderful fun now. Everyone who
had left when the bombardment started has
returned, and the boulevards are crowded. The
gun shoots still at intervals but its a most dis-
couragingly anti-clim (It isn't what you
think it is !)
PART III THE FLIGHT
Paris June 8th.
MRS THEODORE ROOSEVELT
Moving out at last with Ham very glad love
to all ^
June 8, 1918.
I've had so much happening to me, tho, in
the last ten days, that I have not had time to
think even, which is just as well. Ham and I had
almost begun to think we were permanently stuck
in Issoudun, when with no warning, we were or-
dered up to Orly, which is just outside of Paris.
No one knew anything about the orders, and Ham
and I felt sure that it meant our first step out to
the front. Once the orders came, tho, we only had
twelve hours time to settle everything up and
leave. You can imagine how we hurried, with all
the goodbyes to be said and packing, and paying
bills. I thought we never would get away, but
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
finally it was thru, and we got in the truck and
started to leave for the main camp to get our
clearance papers. Then they did one of the nicest
things I've ever had happen. Our truck driver
instead of going out the regular way, took us down
the line of hangars and as we went past all the
mechanics were lined up in front and cheered us
goodbye. As we passed the last hangar one of
the sergeants yelled, after us, "Let us know if
you're captured and we'll come after you." So I
left with a big lump in my throat, for its nice to
know that your men have liked you.
June 18, 1918.
At last, almost eleven months after I left the
states, I'm doing what I came over here for, out at
the front. Its all different from what I thought,
too, for I am not with the French at all. You see,
while we were down at Chartres telegraphic or-
ders came in for us to report at once to the First
Pursuit Group. That is an entirely American
outfit, except for the planes of course, Ham and I
have been chased about so much that we didn't
really believe we'd be put in a squadron when we
got here, but there were no two ways about it, and
so we started out via Paris to comply with our
I had a fairly eventful run out here, chiefly
because the motorcycle developed a passion for
punctures. After my third in ten miles, I said
just exactly what I thought of the motorcycle as I
got to work repairing it. Just as I stopped talk-
ing I had no idea there was a soul within miles,
I heard a voice behind me say "Priceless old
motor-bike, what ! " I looked up and saw one of
those long, angular Englishmen, with that thoroly
blank expression which they use to camoufler a
sense of humor. He had appeared out of a path
behind me and had apparently absorbed my com-
ments, anent motorcycles as I talked to it. I
had a pleasant discussion on things in general with
him, the net result being that I dropped round to
his quarters and had a drink of Scotch before mov-
ing on. He was a very good sort.
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
Late in the afternoon I arrived here, to find
myself assigned to the 95th Aero Squadron. The
one drawback is that Ham is assigned to the 94th.
However, we work together and have adjoining
barracks, so things aren't as bad as they might
be. Otherwise everything is fine. I took a half
hour ride yesterday to get used to my plane, and
somewhat to the sector. Then later on I went
out on a patrol just up along the lines, to, as they
put it, get used to being (loathly split infinitive)
shot at by the Archies. It is really exciting at
first when you see the stuff bursting in great black
puffs round you, but you get used to it after fif-
teen minutes. To-morrow I'll be working in Ger-
many as my flight is on for reglage planes' protec-
tion. So far there are very few Bosche in the
air, but as the B. infantry staged quite an ex-
tensive little hate yesterday (The French for
hate is a coup de main, by the way) we think they
may liven things up. There are lots of Amer-
icans up here, and we think they may want to
smash them up.
I'll write to-morrow, when I've been over and
turn in an official report of my first visit to Ger-
Its been five weeks since I've heard from any
of the family, so I feel sure I must have com-
mitted some horrible crime and be in deep dis-
grace. From my thoroly black conscience I can
find any number of explanations but the one I
feel guiltiest about is that this is the first letter
I've written in three weeks. There is some ex-
cuse tho' for I have moved all over France in that
length of time.
I wish some one who did know something about
flying at the front would go back, just to talk
for a while with the designers and builders of
the Liberty Motor and plane. Its going to be
a long time before that thing gets to the front,
and tho' I'm not crazy about the bus I'm flying
I'd be much more comfortable in it than I would
in a Liberty if I had to go across the lines. They
have no right to send the things over here, tell
the people in the states how wonderful they are,
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
and then to expect us over here to work with
them when each flight shows some new defect
to be remedied. Of course they're all minor
defects, but still they've been flying the planes
over here for a month and yet she's not ready
for the front yet.
My last letter to you was written from the
French concentration camp at Chartres, but as
I know that mail forwarded to me there never
reached me I don't trust the out going mails either.
At all events after being ordered from Issoudun
to go up with the French, and having put in a
week at their concentration camp I was ordered
back to the Americans again, this time to go up
with the first pursuit group. Of course I was
tremendously pleased, for I know all the bunch
up here, and anyway its much nicer to be with
I am now a member of the 95th Aero Squadron,
1st Pursuit Group. I've been having a most
interesting time, too. I've been up on the front
now for about two weeks. Its such a change
after Issoudun to be out and really doing some-
thing. Where we first were it was rather a quiet
sector and we generally had to go across the lines
before we picked up any Boche, but just yester-
day we were moved down into a hot sector quite
near Paris, and from all we can gather there are
Boche here all the time. I've had about six or
seven hours over the lines so far, and I'm just
beginning to get an idea of what goes on around;
at first you don't see the Boche at all but gradu-
ally you begin to get on to them. I can see a cer-
tain amount now of what's going on. I've not got
any combats as yet and the best I can show for
myself is a hole where an archie went thru my
wing. The real thing is that I'm on the front-
cheers, oh cheers and I'm very happy.
I'll write again day after tomorrow, after our
first patrol of this sector, and tell you what its
like. Lots of love to all the family, and a sepa-
rate special kind to you.
July 2nd, 1918.
Even tho this is an active sector I haven't had
much excitement as yet. Yesterday they kept
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
us pretty busy, tho'. In the morning we went
out for a patrol along the ceiling and spent two
hours of cruising up and down the line without
seeing anything. Then in the afternoon the in-
fantry had a show arranged, in the shape of a
2x2 kilometre push on a seven kilometre front.
That means of course a great deal of reglage and
photography work, so there was a lot of chasse
work to be done, what with protecting our own
biplanes and keeping off the Boche. We were
scheduled to fly on the low level, at twenty-five
hundred metres, to intercept any enemy photog-
raphers or reglage planes. There were two more
patrols above us, one around four thousand and
one up along the ceiling, keeping off their chasse
planes. We didn't run into any of their planes,
but there was enough doing down below to make
up for it. We were too high to make out any
infantry but everywhere the artillery were work-
ing. The seven kilometres of attack ran from
a wood on past a couple of small villages and ended
up in a fair sized town. They were shelling hard
all along it and one of the villages was in flames.
You could see the white puffs where the shells
landed and then when the smoke cleared away,
the round crater that they dug in the ground.
Altogether there was lots doing, and I was
glad I was comfortably above it all, with no worries
but two cold fingers and a bad magneto. When
we got in we found that tho we hadn't seen any
Boche the top flight had and then some. There
were ten of them, and they got into a free for
all with nine Fokker biplanes. They had bad
luck with machine gun jams, and the Boche made
it pretty hot for them. Two of them aren't back
tho they may have landed inside our lines,
and they accounted for two and maybe three
Boche. One man got back here with his plane
so shot up that it was nothing short of a miracle
that he escaped. He had one centre section
shot away, and to hit it the bullet must have
gone within an inch of his head. The whole
fuselage, and one gas tank are riddled with bul-
lets, and as the Boche use explosive bullets, that
fellow can thank his stars. I'm writing this in
the hangars as I'm on alerte, but so far no Boche
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
have been reported. I go on again from six to nine
to-night, and as that's their pet time I have hopes.
There's nothing in the world duller than waiting
in the hangar for an alerte that doesn't come.
July 6, 1918.
Yesterday our flight officer was sent out to
patrol at thirty-five hundred metres over about a
ten kilometre sector where some sort of straight-
ening the line action was going on. Our orders
were not to cross the line, or fight unless forced
to. For about fifteen minutes we chased up and
down, up and down, with no more excitement
than scaring a few reglage planes back into Ger-
many. I was busy watching below us I was
flying right when I saw our leader give the alert
signal. I hadn't seen anything below, so I looked
ahead and there up about a thousand metres, on
the German side I saw a patrol of six Boche. We
started climbing at once, and I was having a hor-
rid time, for while the rest of the formation closed
in I dragged farther and farther behind. I have
a bad motor, so that when the rest hurry up they
leave me. There I was, with only the slim con-
solation that the leader was probably keeping
his eye on me. We climbed on, and I did my
darndest to keep up and at the same time keep
an eye on the Boche who remained comfortably
on top. The next thing I knew, a shadow came
across my plane, and there, about two hundred
metres above me, and looking as big as all out-
doors was a Boche. He was so near I could make
out the red stripes around his fuselage. I'm
free to confess that I was scared blue. I was
behind the rest of the formation, and he had all
the altitude. So I pushed on the stick, prayed
for motor, and watched out of the corner of my
eye to see his elevators go down, and have his
tracers shooting by me. However, for some
reason he didn't attack, instead he took a few
general shots at the lot and then swung back to
his formation. Our only explanation is that he
didn't want to fight in our lines, he had every
kind of advantage over us. Lord, but I was
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
glad when he left. When I got back they decided
to pull my motor, so I was given another plane
for this morning, which belongs to a fellow who's
We went out on patrol again, this time at five
thousand and started over across, hunting for
trouble. A couple of kilometres inside the line
we spotted six of them about a thousand metres
below us. We circled and came back between
them and the sun, and dove on them. They
never saw us until we started shooting so we had
them cold. I had miserable luck I had my man
just where I wanted, was piquing down on him,
(he was a monoplane) and after getting good and
close, set my sight on him and pulled the trigger.
My gun shot twice and then jammed. It was
really awfully hard luck, for I couldn't fix it. The
feed box had slipped, so she only fired one shot
at a time, and then quit. I did everything I
could, but finally had to give up and come home,
as we were about fifteen kilometres their side of
the line. As the papers put it, tho', "a success-
ful evening was had by all." We got three of
them They weren't the circus of course. We
lost one man, tho', and we aren't sure how. We
rather think his motor must have gone dead on
him, and forced him to land in Germany. So
things are looking more interesting around here,
and I've had my first real fight. I was doubtful
before, for I thought I might get cold feet, or
something, but you don't. You get so excited
that you forget everything except getting the
other fellow, and trying to dodge the tracers,
when they start streaking past you.
July 11, 1918.
There's lots doing in this sector. We lost an-
other fellow from our squadron three days ago.
However, you get lots of excitement to make up
for it, and nearly every patrol we run into some
of them. We've moved again, this time only
ten kilometres. It's a much smaller field than
the other, but it's nearer the front by those ten
kilometres, and the other was really too big for
us. Also, I like my quarters much better. I'm
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
billeted in a little French town near the field. I
room with Ed Thomas, our transportation officer,
in a delightful room. It's in one of those white,
plaster houses with tile roofs that sag in between
the rafters, and an impossible weather cock on
the chimney that doesn't work as there's a spar-
row's nest in between its legs. The room is on
the ground floor, with a window on each side,
one where you can watch everything that's going
on in the street, and the other looking out on a
garden that's all in bloom. Its spotlessly clean,
with red tiled floor, and a huge grandfather's
clock ticking solemnly in the corner.
The old lady who owns the house is equally
delightful. She's a little bit of a dried up person,
at least as old as the hills, with gold rimmed spec-
tacles, the red cheeks that all these country folk
have, and a beard that even might be proud
of. At first she regarded me with deep suspicion,
but I've now succeeded in winning her over. She
thawed a little when she found I talked French
but the thing that won her over completely
was her dog. When I first came in I was greeted
with furious barkings and growlings. By a strong
mental effort I succeeded in showing no outward
and visible signs of my inward and spiritual doubt,
and walked on past him. That night, as I was
sitting reading the old lady appeared and with
her the dog, who solemnly advanced, wagged his
tail, and then put his head on my knee to be
patted. After that the old lady and I became
fast friends and now I am Monsieur Quentin
and a privileged person. Among other things
she told me that she had had German officers
quartered in her house in 1870 and then again
in 1914. Think of it.
I got my first real excitement on the front for
I think I got a Boche. The Operations Officer
is trying for confirmation on it now. I was out
on high patrol with the rest of my squadron when
we got broken up, due to a mistake in formation.
I dropped into a turn of a vrille these planes
have so little surface that at five thousand you
can't do much with them. When I got straight-
ened out I couldn't spot my crowd any where, so,
as I had only been up an hour, I decided to fool
THE WAY OF THE EAGLE
around a little before going home, as I was just
over the lines. I turned and circled for five min-
utes or so, and then suddenly, the way planes
do come into focus in the air, I saw three planes
in formation. At first I thought they were
Boche, but as they paid no attention to me I
finally decided to chase them, thinking they were
part of my crowd, so I started after them full
speed. I thought at the time it was a little strange,
with the wind blowing the way it was, that they
should be going almost straight into Germany,
but I had plenty of gas so I kept on.
They had been going absolutely straight and I
was nearly in formation when the leader did a
turn, and I saw to my horror that they had white
tails with black crosses on them. Still I was so
near by them that I thought I might pull up a
little and take a crack at them. I had altitude
on them, and what was more they hadn't seen
me, so I pulled up, put my sights on the end man,
and let go. I saw my tracers going all around
him, but for some reason he never even turned,
until all of a sudden his tail came up and he went
down in a vrille. I wanted to follow him but the
other two had started around after me, so I had
to cut and run. However, I could half watch
him looking back, and he was still spinning when
he hit the clouds three thousand meters below.
Of course he may have just been scared, but I
think he must have been hit, or he would have
come out before he struck the clouds. Three
thousand meters is an awfully long spin.
I had a long chase of it for they followed me
all the way back to our side of the lines, but our
speed was about equal so I got away. The trouble
is that it was about twenty kilometers inside their
lines, and I am afraid, too far to get confirmation.
At the moment every one is very much pleased
in our Squadron for we are getting new planes.
We have been using Nieuports, which have the
disadvantage of not being particularly reliable
and being inclined to catch fire.
The victory recounted in this letter was after-
ward verified by the French, and duly credited;
but the verification was not recorded until after
Quentin had fallen.
THE LAST PATROL
Oyster Bay, July 17, 1918.
" Quentin 9 s mother and I are glad that he got to
the front and had the chance to render some service
to his country, and to show the stuff that was in him
before his fate befell him."
"On July fourteenth the French were to cele-
brate and asked us to contribute a number in a
theatre in a nearby town, so I appointed Quentin
Roosevelt to get up the entertainment. He
raked up all the musical talent, the French are
very fond of American ragtime and banjos and
the night before he came into my room and sat
on my bed, telling, with a great deal of humor,
of what he had done. The next day at noon I
called up to arrange about getting his party into
town when I heard he was reported missing."
When Quentin failed to turn up, Hamilton
Coolidge, who was serving in the 94th Squadron,
and Philip Roosevelt, who was Operations Officer
of the First Pursuit Group, left no stone unturned
to learn his fate. The inevitable crust that
hardens one who is daily meeting death was but
small protection to them against the blow.
DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT
In this awful period of suspense when we don't
know whether Quentin is dead or alive I feel that
the best thing I can do is to tell you in detail the
circumstances of his disappearance. On the morn-
ing of the Fourteenth a report came in to Quen-
tin's squadron, which was the one on duty at
that time, that Boches were crossing the lines in
the north eastern part of our sector. Accord-
ingly a patrol of nine men, Q among them, set
off to find the Huns. Just over the lines they
encountered a Boche patrol of seven. The wind
was blowing into their territory and the air was
hazy even above the "ceiling" (a solid layer of
clouds) which lay at about two thousand meters
altitude. The Boches at once started retreating
THE LAST PATROL
and a running fight began. This soon developed
into a series of individual combats during which
the patrols became broken up. The combats did
not take place at very close range as the Huns
had no desire to fight. They succeeded however
in drawing our men further and further into their
territory. The combats finally ceased and the
men all made for home individually, groping th^ir
way through the clouds and mist largely by aid
of their compasses. No one remembers having
seen Quentin after the shooting began, but this
is entirely natural. Several of the men lost their
way or were forced to come down for gasoline
soon after recrossing the lines; it is quite likely
that one of these things happened to Quentin.
Capt. Philip Roosevelt yesterday interviewed an
observer who distinctly saw an allied plane de-
scend "piquing sharply, but not in flames and
apparently under control." The place and time
he gave corresponded exactly to those of Quen-
tin's combat, so it is safe to assume that it was he.
The fact that his plane was neither spinning nor
in flames as it came down makes me believe that
he landed safely. There are many good reasons
why he should have been "piquing sharply "-
perhaps to escape from pursuers in superior force,
perhaps again, because he was wounded and
wished to land before becoming faint. I have
talked to the men on his patrol and almost all
seem to think that he is a prisoner and was not
Everything possible is being done to find out
news of Quentin, but at this critical time re-
ports do not come through or receive confirmation
very rapidly. Of course you will hear through
the Associated Press any news that may develop,
much more quickly than I could cable it, but
you may be sure that I shall forward to you
immediately any information which may have
escaped the notice of the Associated Press corre-
spondents. I have packed all Quent's things
and sent them by truck to Mrs. Ted Roosevelt,
39 Rue Villejust, Paris, where, God grant he may
find them again before long.
Affectionate regards to you and Mr. Roosevelt
THE LAST PATROL
Months later, shortly before his own fate over-
took him, he wrote:
"Death is certainly not a black unmentionable
thing, and I feel that dead people should be talked
of just as though they were alive. At mess and
sitting around in our quarters the boys that have
been killed are spoken of all the time when any
little thing reminds some one of them. To me
Quentin is just away somewhere. I know we
shall see each again and have a grand old 'hoosh*
talking over everything together. I miss him
the way I miss mother or the family, for his per-
sonality or spirit are just as real and vivid as they
Lieutenant Edward Buford, Jr., was also re-
ported missing, but landed safely on a French
aerodrome. He had seen Quentin's last fight,
and described it in a letter to his family, written
several months later:
FATHER DEAR:- *# sth ' 1918 '
You asked me if I knew Quentin Roosevelt.
Yes, I knew him very well indeed, and had been
associated with him ever since I carne to France
and he was one of the finest and most courageous
boys I ever knew. I was in the fight when he
was shot down and saw the whole thing.
Four of us were out on an early patrol and we
had just crossed the lines looking for Boche ob-
servation machines, when we ran into seven Fok-
ker Chasse planes. They had the altitude and
the advantage of the Sun on us. It was very
cloudy and there was a strong wind blowing us
farther across the lines all the time. The leader
of our formation turned and tried to get back
out, but they attacked before we reached the
lines, and in a few seconds had completely broken
up our formation and the fight developed in a
general free-for-all. I tried to keep an eye on
all of our fellows but we were hopelessly separated
and out-numbered nearly two to one. About a
half a mile away I saw one of our planes with
three Boche on him, and he seemed to be having
a pretty hard time with them, so I shook the two
I was maneuvering with and tried to get over to
him, but before I could reach them, our machine
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turned over on its back and plunged down out of
control. I realized it was too late to be of any as-
sistance and as none of our other machines were
in ^sight, I made for a bank of clouds to try
and gain altitude on the Huns, and when I came
back out, they had reformed, but there were
only six of them, so I believe we must have
I waited around about ten minutes to see if I
could pick up any of our fellows, but they had
disappeared, so I came on home, dodging from
one cloud to another for fear of running into an-
other Boche formation. Of course, at the time
of the fight I did not know who the pilot was I
had seen go down, but as Quentin did not come
back, it must have been him. His loss was one
of the severest blows we have ever had in the
Squadron, but he certainly died fighting, for any
one of us could have gotten away as soon as the
scrap started with the clouds as they were that
morning. I have tried several times to write to
Col. Roosevelt but it is practically impossible
for me to write a letter of condolence, but if I
am lucky enough to get back to the States, I ex-
pect to go to see him.
Two days after Quentin fell the following Ger-
man communique was intercepted by our wireless:
"On July fourteen seven of our chasing planes
were attacked by a superior number of American
planes north of Dormans. After a stubborn fight,
one of the pilots Lieutenant Roosevelt, who
had shown conspicuous bravery during the fight
by attacking again and again without regard to
danger, was shot in the head by his more experi-
enced opponent and fell at Chamery."
Not long afterward a German official bulletin
was found on a prisoner:
Group "Jeporen" (name of the general?)
General Command Headquarters.
Ic? The Intelligence officer, in the name of the General.
Army Corps Headquarters,
the 24th of July, 1918.
Edition including even the Companies, except those
which are just now on the first lines, and which
will be only mentioned after their relief.
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Sheet of Information, No. 10.
from the 21st of July to the 23rd of July, 1918.
THE SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT OF
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
ROOSEVELT, FOUND DEATH IN AN
AERIAL FIGHT ON THE MARNE
At the time of a struggle between a German
pursuit squadron of seven machines and twelve
American pursuit aviators above the Marne, a
fight took place between the German pursuit pilot
non-commissioned officer Greper and an American
pilot. After a long fight, the German flyer suc-
ceeded in bringing down his gallant antagonist.
The hostile airman had been killed by two
bullets in the head. He was identified by his
papers as Lieutenant Roosevelt, of the U. S. A.
A clipping from the Kolnische Zeitung obtained
through the Spanish Embassy gave this account
of the fight:
"The aviator of the American Squadron, Quen-
tin Roosevelt, in trying to break through the air
zone over the Marne, met the death of a hero.
A formation of seven German aeroplanes, while
crossing the Marne, saw in the neighborhood of
Dormans a group of twelve American fighting
aeroplanes and attacked them. A lively air bat-
tle began, in which one American in particular
persisted in attacking. The principal feature of
the battle consisted in an air duel between the
American and a German fighting pilot, named
Sergeant Greper. After a short struggle Greper
succeeded in bringing the brave American just
before his gun-sights. After a few shots the plane
apparently got out of his control; the American
began to fall and struck the ground near the vil-
lage of Chamery, about ten kilometres north of
the Marne. The American flyer was killed by
two shots through the head. Papers in his pocket
showed him to be Quentin Roosevelt, of the United
States army. His effects are being taken care of
in order to be sent to his relatives. He was buried
by German aviators with military honors."
The German pilot who shot down Quentin
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Roosevelt told of counting twenty bullet-holes
in his machine, when he landed after the fight.
He survived the war but was killed in an accident
while engaged in delivering German airplanes to
the American Forces under the terms of the
The funeral services held by the Germans were
witnessed on July fifteen by Captain James E.
Gee of the 110th Infantry, who had been captured,
and was being evacuated to the rear. Captain
Gee passed through Chamery, the little village
near which the plane crashed to earth. He thus
describes the scene:
"In a hollow square about the open grave were
assembled approximately one thousand German
soldiers, standing stiffly in regular lines. They
were dressed in field gray uniforms, wore steel
helmets, and carried rifles. Officers stood at at-
tention before the ranks. Near the grave was
the smashed plane, and beside it was a small group
of officers, one of whom was speaking to the men.
"I did not pass close enough to hear what he
was saying; we were prisoners and did not have
the privilege of lingering, even for such an occa-
sion as this. At the time I did not know who
was being buried, but the guards informed me
later. The funeral certainly was elaborate. I
was told afterward by Germans that they paid
Lieut. Roosevelt such honor not only because
he was a gallant aviator, who died fighting bravely
against odds, but because he was the son of Colonel
Roosevelt, whom they esteemed as one of the
On July 18, in the great allied counter-attack,
the village where Quentin fell was retaken from
the Germans, and his grave was found by some
American soldiers. At its head was a wooden
cross, on which was printed:
Buried by the Germans.
Following the custom that sprang up in the
heroic soil of the air-service, the broken propeller-
blades and bent and scarred wheels of the plane
were marking his resting-place.
Near by lay the shattered remains of the air-
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plane, with the seventy-six "wound stripes" which
Quentin had painted on it, still to be seen.
The engineer regiment of the division that
had retaken Chamery marked the spot where the
airplane fell, and raised a cross at the grave with
Here rests on the field of honor
Air Service U. S. A.
Killed in action July 1918.
The French placed an oaken enclosure with a
En combat aerien
Le 14 Juillet 1918
Pour le droit
Et la liberte.
A young American officer in a letter to his
family thus described the arrival of the tribute
from the French:
"Oh yes, one little episode of the other day
might be of interest. I was back of the lines on
a truck, in search of kitchen utensils and other
things for the men, when down the road came a
big open truck loaded with something which
looked like a gigantic wooden bed perhaps twelve
feet long and eight feet wide. At the head of it
there was a large shield, and above this a carved
wooden cross. Did I not know the French idea of
homage to the dead, I would not have recognized
what it was. As we went by, I looked at the
shield in large carved letters I saw the words
'Quentin Roosevelt.' You see he is buried not
far to our rear. It was a bit of French tribute,
for, to these people, there is no man like Roose-
velt. They still talk about him, and their eyes
snap whenever his name is mentioned. He com-
mands their profound respect: they consider him
their friend; this was the only way they could
Many very beautiful letters were written to
Quentin's father and mother by those who visited
the grave; from them three have been selected.
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The first is from Bishop Brent, the second from
a lifelong friend of the family, Doctor Alexander
Lambert, and the third from the Reverend C. A.
White of Chicago:
Chamery 14th Aug. 1918.
I am standing by Quentin's resting place where
he lies on the Field of Honor. I came up on duty
near Fismes and learned quite by accident that
we would pass by the grave. It is at the bottom
of a shell scarred slope. The cross is supported
by the shaft of his plane, and the twisted wheels
are against the brick fence. There is a reversed
rifle at the foot, at the head behind the cross a
trench knife. There are some little tributes on
the grave one from Evangeline Booth. It is a
month today since Quentin flew to his fate. Dr.
Macfarland is with me and we said some prayers
for him and for all of you. There are two sol-
diers of the - - Division here who fought over
this very ground and drove the Germans across
the river. We are still in the zone of action and
the storm of battle is raging, though all is peace-
ful at this spot. Tonight I am to be with some
of our chaplains at a dressing station.
C. H. B.
"I do not know if any one has told you of the
kind of country around Chamery, the little vil-
lage four hundred yards from which he is. It is
seven to eight miles North of the Marne directly
north of Jaulgonne on the river just above a swing-
ing curve of the road above Cierge. The country
is a rolling grassy open hilly place, with only here
and there small patches of woods. Last Tuesday
I found some one had planted some pansies on
the grave and there were other flowers. Evi-
dently some one is looking after the place care-
fully, because no faded flowers collect there.
" Two months ago I went there to find the place
and took with me Colonel Elliot of the British
Service. We were still fighting in Fismes a few
miles north. A Field Hospital stood on a ridge
a mile away and troops were going steadily north
along the road through Chamery to Fismes. I
walked through a harvested oat field with little
THE LAST PATROL
purple flowers scattered through it. I gathered
handfuls and so did Elliot, and as we stood by
the stone which marks the place where the ma-
chine struck, some fifty feet from the grave, we
saw coming up the side road a staff officer on
horse back, and along a path worn out across
the field from the main road, trudged a line of
American soldiers from the battalion halted in
the village on their way to Fismes. The boys
picked flowers on the way and stood in a group
around Quentin's grave, and laid their flowers
where we had lain ours. Elliot exclaimed: 'That
is the real American spirit, an unconscious and
loyal tribute to what both the boy and his Father
have stood for.'
"It must be some comfort to realize for how
great a cause Quentin laid down his splendid
personality." * y
Chicago Oct 30 1918
I am not sure that I do either of you a kind-
ness in sending you this letter. If it is a mistake
on my part charge it to the feelings of a father
who has a son "somewhere in France." A few
weeks ago I motored some miles from the then
Vesle battle front to the grave of your son Quen-
tin. I believe it would be a comfort to you both
if you could see his noble resting place in the soil
of France as I saw it. The day was beautiful.
Sunshine everywhere. A company of boys in
khaki march past, eager, active, on their way to
the front. There are no other marked graves
near. The very isolation and the immediate
calmness of the scene seemed to me splendid.
Yet the roar of the guns along the Vesle front
could be heard. Captive balloons both Boche
and Allied floated lazily along the battle line a
few miles away. Air planes whirred overhead
and now and then one with the sinister black
Iron Cross of the Hun on it shot across the sky.
A noble burial place it seemed to me for a brave
American like your son. The grave is in the midst
of a broad rolling country, at the foot of a gentle
slope which beyond the grave drops rather sharply
to a more level field. The view in every direction
is practically unobstructed for several miles ex-
THE LAST PATROL
cept by the near sloping hill side. As of course
you know a simple fence incloses the grave, some
simple plants, I think a few faded flowers, all
indicative of the loving thoughtfulness of some
one. Here where he fell doing his whole duty
your son sleeps in the bosom of France. It is a
brave place to rest after one's work is done, peace-
ful now that the battle front has rolled back to
the Aisne. Nature is busy making this great
battle field beautiful again. She is growing
grasses around the edges of shell holes, and scat-
tering some blood red poppies here and there.
Your hearts would find a great peace I am sure
if you could just see where your boy sleeps.
C. A. W.
Don Martin thus described the scene in a
"Word that the grave of the young lieutenant
had been found spread rapidly. An American
division was encamped near by at the time. It
would be difficult to estimate the number of Amer-
icans who have made the pilgrimage to the grave
since it was located. It is about five hundred
feet off a small, slightly used road, on a little ledge
of earth overlooking a gorgeous panorama. Paths
have been worn to the grave from a half dozen
different points worn by American soldiers, who
are still walking sometimes five and six miles
just to see the spot and pay reverence to the young
American who to serve his country entered the
most dangerous branch of the service."
Quentin's death called forth many editorials
that flamed forth genuine feeling. Three have
been chosen, two American and one French. The
first is from the Boston Transcript :
LIEUTENANT QUENTIN ROOSEVELT
"Not with evil intention, but doubtless in ac-
cordance with what they regard as chivalrous,
the Germans have dropped upon our advance
lines in France what is nevertheless a poisoned
dart, for it is the news that Lieutenant Quentin
Roosevelt is indeed dead. This word will bring
poignant sorrow to millions of Americans. And
the sorrow will not be merely sympathy for the
THE LAST PATROL
distinguished family now bereaved of its youngest
son, its Joseph and its Absalom; it is sorrow of
the people's own, who find in this brave youth
the type and representative of their own dearest
attachments. It is the fortune of Theodore
Roosevelt to dramatize many sentiments and
qualities dear to the people the home spirit
and the home treasure; service and sacrifice for
country; and the hopes and aspirations that are
common to us all. The people therefore feel the
death of young Roosevelt, typical boy of all our
boys, in a manner tenser than if they were mourn-
ing merely with another.
"Just a boy, for he was not yet twenty-one
years of age, following or side by side with his
brothers, all of them, young Quentin Roosevelt
went, seeking the most daring service; and first
of them all he has fallen to his death. The coun-
try simply stands shoulder to shoulder with the
heroic father, who says, 'A great fight and a good
death; trust him, he would not fail.' Pride,
but a tender pride; a kind of high rejoicing, but
with tears in it, especially tear* for the devoted
mother; for a thousand bereavements exactly like
it march hand in hand with this bereavement,
and it is the forerunner of many more thousands
yet to come. All our boyhoods are in Quentin's
today; he is the volunteer of all our volunteers:
* * He leapt to arms unbidden,
His face by earth is hidden,
His heart in earth is cold.
Curse on the reckless daring
That could not wait the call,
The proud fantastic bearing
That would be first to fall !
O tears of human passion,
Blur not the image true;
This was not folly's fashion,
This was the man we knew.' "
The second is from Reedy's Mirror St. Louis:
"How everybody's heart goes out to Colonel
and Mrs. Roosevelt in sympathy over the death
of their son Quentin ! The outburst of aff ec<-
THE LAST PATROL
tionate expression has been finely spontaneous.
And the way the Colonel takes the blow only
intensifies the popular admiration for him. Noth-
ing is in it of theatricality. The parents bow
to inexorable fate in a gracious simplicity of proud
sorrow or sorrowful pride. The Colonel stands
out, in the affliction that has befallen him, with
a finer glory than ever. He's an American a
man. How cheap and mean the aspersions upon
him for criticising the conduct of the war ! Well
it became General Pershing to send him a special
cable about Quentin, and the President to wire
his condolences. The Colonel would be the last
man to say his boy, as such, deserves any more
honor than another for doing his duty. Quentin
lived and died his father's creed of sacrificing
service. He died fighting with seven enemy
planes, fell in the enemy lines as we all knew
a Roosevelt would. And two other sons are
among the wounded. What argument such lives
and such a death lend to the creed of the true
American ! The boys justify their father's gos-
pel and career before all the world. And we
think of gallant, modest Quentin as typical of
all Americans, as the flower and fruit of the patri-
otism a lax generation first awoke to at his father's
call, before war had come and death begun its
revel. He stands for all the fallen upon whom
no public glory falls. And the Colonel and Mrs.
Roosevelt seem to gather and give off our pity
to fathers and mothers all unknown who have
made the same sacrifice. They take the blow
standing. They say it is well their dear one dies
that liberty may live, that force and fraud may
be destroyed in world-affairs. Colonel Roose-
velt has been given much by the people in a score
of years, but now they give him their tears, their
heart of heart; they are drawn into oneness mak-
ing these parents' grief and pride their own. In
these gloom-glory hours the Roosevelts serve
their country and their kind in high fashion. And
when they prayed, thousands who never prayed
before said 'Amen* to their resignation to the
Divine Will. Again the Roosevelts bound their
people in oneness of spirit about the altar where
bled their ewe-lamb. And Quentin rests in Ger-
THE LAST PATROL
many by his people's orders, lives in death * pos-
sessed of fame that never shall grow old.' '
The last is from Le Temps, Paris:
TEL, PERE, TELS FILS
"La mort heroi'que du capitaine aviateur Quen-
tin Roosevelt, fils de 1'ancien president des Etats-
Unis, ajoute une nouvelle page de gloire et de
deuil a 1'histoire de 1'amitie plus que seculaire
qui unit FAmerique et la France, dans une magni-
fique confraternite d'armes, pour la defense du
droit eternel et des libertes du monde.
"Le president Roosevelt, dont la vie publique
et privee fut toujours un admirable exemple de
courage liberalement prodigue au service des plus
nobles causes, est un des hommes d'Etat qui ont
le plus efficacement contribue au rapprochement
de toutes les forces morales de I'humanite sur le
champ de bataille ou va se decider 1'avenir de la
conscience humaine. Tout de suite il a proteste
contre 1'agression qui a dechaine la guerre et qui,
par la violation de la neutralite de la Belgique, a
donne, de prime abord, la mesure de I'inimoralite
"Si 1'ancien combattant de Cuba n'est pas venu
Iui-m6me, comme il le desirait, prendre sa place
au milieu du combat et, selon sa coutume, au
plus fort du peril, c'est que des obstacles plus
puissants que sa volonte 1'ont retenu aux Etats-
Unis ou d'ailleurs il ne cesse de servir, par tous
les moyens en son pouvoir, la cause a laquelle il
a sacrifie de tout coeur ses plus cheres affections.
II nous a donne ses quatre fils, tous engages volon-
taires, tous animes de la plus belle emulation
d'heroisme et inspires des hautes pensees dont
la tradition paternelle a illustre leur foyer natal.
L'un d'eux, le plus jeune, deja cite a 1'ordre pour
une serie d'incomparables prouesses, vient de
tomber au champ d'honneur. Un autre est
blesse. . . .
"Puisse la grande ame du president Roosevelt
trouver dans cette epreuve la consolation et le
reconfort que voudrait lui apporter notre amitie
fraternelle! II sait, il a souvent dit, mieux que
personne, combien la beaute du sacrifice libre-
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ment consent! est feconde en bienfaits pour les
generations qui viendront, apres nous, recueillir
les fruits de nos efforts et de nos souff ranees. Ceux
qui furent les heros d'une juste cause et les mar-
tyrs d'un ideal ne cessent pas d'etre presents a
la memoire des siecles et d'agir par une incessante
resurrection qui multiplie a Tinfini la vertu de
leurs actes. Ainsi vivra parmi nous le capitaine
Quentin Roosevelt, aime des freres d'armes qui
furent les temoins de ses exploits, honore des hom-
mages doux et tendres de sa patrie qui le pleure
avec fierte, entoure de 1'amour de la France qui
a recueilli ses reliques sacrees et qui veillera pieu-
sement sur sa tombe glorieuse. G. D."
It is fitting to close this chapter with these
four personal letters:
Paris July 23rd, 1918
MY DEAR COLONEL ROOSEVELT:
Perhaps you will like to know of a tribute paid
you and your son Quentin.
Beside my other work here, I have been going
to the Neuilly hospital every morning for two
hours to distribute American newspapers to the
wounded just arrived from the front. It is a ter-
rible and touching sight. The wards are already
so full that all the halls are lined with men on
stretchers waiting to have their wounds dressed.
They are splendidly brave and uncomplaining
and pathetically eager for home news. Yester-
day morning I had given away all my New York
papers and had only the Paris edition of the New
York Herald left. At the end of a long hall I
found a man apparently asleep. His head was
hanging over the edge of the stretcher and I put
a pillow under it to ease his position. When he
opened his eyes I asked him "where he had gotten
it" as the question is put among them. "Oh ! it
ain't much I have, lady he replied "just
through me hips and somewhere in the back."
Then he saw the paper and his eyes lit up. I
gave it to him and lighted a cigarette. He said
"Gee! but that's swell" and then as his eyes fol-
lowed the head lines of the paper "Hell ! they
got the President's son ! " There was no question
between us of who was or had been President, no
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need to question his or my patriotism. War, I
find, strips the unessential from our lives and
Very sincerely yours,
LAURA KELTON OWENS.
A deeply appreciated personal letter came from
MY DEAR COLONEL AND MRS. ROOSEVELT:
This is a very old lady writing you, but I feel
sure I have that which will be of interest, as it is
an incident relating to the dear boy who sleeps
on Flanders Field.
We were in a camp up hi the White Mountain
region, had just been celebrating a reported vic-
tory, and as a veteran of the sixties it fell to me to
tell some of my experiences, as a northern woman,
in the south. We had had a great camp celebra-
tion and just finished the national anthem, when
some one stepped up on the platform and told us
Quentin Roosevelt had made the "supreme sac-
rifice." There was an instant hush, as though
every heart there was lifted in prayer, when out
from the back of the hall stepped a young woman
bearing a big flag, singing "My Country 'Tis of
Thee." All joined in singing it through, then
silently with bowed heads passed out into the
night, each to his own quarters.
Words cannot convey to you the solemnity of
the tribute to the brave young soldier. There
were some of us who recalled him as a little laddie
in the streets of Washington. There were none
who failed in the tribute, or forgot the sad hearts
at Oyster Bay.
Most loyally, sympathetically and lovingly,
MRS. L. B. LAIR.
A letter from Captain Philip Roosevelt, Opera-
tions Officer of the First Pursuit Group, closed
". . . and manner of his death, I would rather
have died as Quentin did than any other way.
It was a critical day in the war. Quentin was
taking part in a military mission of an importance
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which could not be exaggerated, protecting a
photographic airplane fifteen kilometers in the
enemy lines. This mission was successful and the
photographs established beyond a doubt that the
enemy must attack within twenty-four hours for
one could see the seventy sevens being placed in
position in open fields and far back of the lines the
reinforcements already marching up to fill the
holes which were to be made in the enemy ranks.
Quentin lost his life, and it makes his personal
loss no less hard to bear to know that he died at
a supreme moment, but it does leave behind a
tremendous inspiration for the rest of us."
The Reverend John B. Stoudt of Northampton,
"My brother Lieut. Frederick M. Stoudt served
abroad during the war in the Motor Transport
Corps, and was stationed most of the time at
Verneil, France, at the Reconstruction Park 772,
where he had charge of a department in the Sheet
Metal and Welding Shop. Towards the end of
the war he had upwards of two hundred German
prisoners working in his department. He tells of
a young German officer, quite intelligent, who
delighted in discussing the war, and who would
ask many questions about America and our enter-
ing into the war.
"This young officer told my brother the follow-
ing in substance, concerning the effect upon the
Germans at the falling of your son Quentin. That
when he fell the fact was heralded throughout
the German army, and throughout the Central
powers. That photos of his grave and his wrecked
plane were published and exhibited profusedly far
and wide. That the German authorities believed
it to be good propaganda, with which to hearten
both the soldiers and the people at home. But
that it had the opposite effect and produced as
far as they were concerned a negative effect or
result. That no sooner had Quentin fallen but
that it was whispered from ear to ear, from trench
to trench. That in it one could see how in free
America everybody was fighting. That though
America was in the war only for a short time, the
son of an American President, engaged in one of
the most dangerous lines of service, was lying
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back of the German lines, while their country
had been at war three years and that neither the
Kaiser, nor any of his sons were ever so much as
scratched. That it gave the soldiers a vision of
the democracy of America, and helped to deepen
the feeling that they, the common soldiers, were
only cannon fodder for the Kaiser. That it made
real to them the difference between autocracy and
democracy, of which they had heard so much.
That this feeling spread like wild fire, not only
throughout the army, but also among the people
at home. That those elements in Germany that
were opposed to the war seized upon it and en-
larged the suggestion. This young officer de-
clared that in the judgment of many this was
the largest single factor in the breaking of the
morale of the German Army."
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF
France, July 27th, 1918.
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt,
Oyster Bay, Long Island,
MY DEAR COLONEL:
Since my cablegram of July 17th, I have de-
layed writing you in the hope that we might still
learn that, through some good fortune, your son
Quentin had managed to land safely inside the
German lines. Now the telegram from the In-
ternational Red Cross at Berne, stating that the
German Red Cross confirms the newspaper re-
ports of his death, has taken even this hope away.
Quentin died as he had lived and served, nobly
and unselfishly; in the full strength and vigor
of his youth, fighting the enemy in clean combat.
You may well be proud of your gift to the nation
in his supreme sacrifice.
I realize that time alone can heal the wound,
yet I know that at such a time the stumbling
words of understanding from one's friends help,
and I want to express to you and to Quentin's
mother my deepest sympathy and friendship.
Perhaps I can come as near to realizing what
such a loss means as anyone.
Enclosed is a copy of his official record in the
Air Service. The brevity and curtness of the
official words paint clearly the picture of his ser-
vice, which was an honor to all of us.
JOHN J. PBBSHING.
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
July 26, 1918.
MEMORANDUM FOR: The Adjutant Gen-
eral, A. E. F.
SUBJECT: Official Record of 1st Lieutenant
Quentin Roosevelt, Air Service.
1. Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt landed Liver-
pool August 8th 1917, assigned Issoudun August
17th, assigned School Aerial Gunnery Cazaux
March 1st 1918, to duty Officer in charge Train-
ing Field seven Issoudun March 24th, to duty
Orly May 31st Chartres June llth Toul June
13th Colombey-les-Belles June 21st, assigned to
95th Aero Squadron Toul June 24th, duty Char-
tres June 25th Toul July 6th Touquin July 13th,
reported missing July 17th, confirmation by Ger-
man Red Cross of death in aerial combat July
22nd. Confirmed by International Red Cross
from Berne, Switzerland, July 24, 1918 as fol-
"International Red Cross wires that German
Red Cross confirms newspaper reports Quentin
Roosevelt's death in aerial combat further details
lacking King Godson."
2. Lt. Quentin Roosevelt during his whole
career in the Air Service both as a cadet and as
a flying officer was a model of the best type of
young American manhood. He was most cour-
teous in his conduct, clean in his private life and
devoted in his duty. As an Officer he had the
best interests of the service always at heart, per-
formed his duty no matter what it was, whether
agreeable or not, always to the best of his ability
and without question or remark.
3. After completion of his training as a pilot
he was selected on account of his efficiency as
an instructor and had charge of one of the most
important flying instruction fields. His great
desire and hope was to be allowed to get to the
front. This opportunity was not practicable
for a comparatively long time on account of
his expert services being more needed as an in-
4. When the order assigning him to duty with
a squadron finally came on June 24th he lost no
time in reporting and arrived just in time to take
part in the last great enemy offensive where the
combat work by his squadron was most stren-
uous and aided materially in the success of the
5. Lieutenant Roosevelt had already brought
down one enemy plane and had aided the squad-
ron in a number of fights against large enemy air
formations where the American units dispersed
the enemy and brought down a number of their
aircraft. His work during these combats was
exceptionally good, his endeavor being the suc-
cess of the squadron rather than to get individual
airplanes to his personnel credit.
6. His loss was deeply felt by his flying com-
rades in the squadron as well as by all officers
and soldiers with whom he had ever come into
contact ' R. O. VAN HORN,
Colonel, Air Service,
Asst. Chief of Air Service.
AMERICAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCES
OFFICE OF THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF.
France, August 23rd, 1918.
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt,
Oyster Bay, L. I.
MY DEAR COLONEL ROOSEVELT:
Believing that you and Mrs. Roosevelt would
want complete information as to where your son
rests, I requested that there be prepared an official
report, accompanied by photographs. These have
just reached me and I am enclosing them to you.
The manner in which Quentin's comrades have
marked and sheltered his grave shows how much
they loved him, and this must offer you and Mrs.
Roosevelt some consolation in the great sacrifice
you have made.
Again expressing my regret over the loss of
this splendid young soldier, and my sympathy
with you, Mrs. Roosevelt and the family, I am,
my dear Colonel Roosevelt,
JOHN J. PEBSHING.
Washington, le Sept. 21, 1918.
De La Republique Frangaise
MY DEAR COLONEL:
All those among us, in whatever walk of life,
who have lost a son in the present war, receive
as a memorial to be preserved in the family, an
engraved statement, testifying to the fact that
their child gave his life for the great cause.
The President of the French Republic hopes
you will permit him to consider that a similar
loss has brought you even nearer to our hearts
than ever before, and he has instructed me to
transmit to you and to Mrs. Roosevelt the same
token as is received by the bereft fathers and
mothers of France.
In accordance with the directions of President
Poincare, I forward you at the same time as this
note, a case containing that document, and I en-
close herewith a letter to you from President
As for me, I need not say what I feel in fulfilling
this duty; I knew Quentin as a child, and one
could easily discover in the child the man that
he would be. Millions of long lives will have
been forgotten when his memory will still be fresh
among us as in his own country.
Believe me, my dear Colonel,
Most sincerely yours,
Paris 3rd Sept. 1918.
MY DEAR PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT:
Do you kindly allow me to send you, in memory
of your gallant son Quentin, the same diploma
as to the parents of the French officers and sol-
diers who died for freedom ? I charge our friend,
Mr. Jusserand, to deliver you, with this letter,
that token of admiration.
Believe me, sincerely yours,
Q. G. A., le 5 Septembre 1918
le General DEGOUTTE
Commandant la VI Armee Frangaise
a Monsieur le President ROOSEVELT
MONSIEUR LE PRESIDENT,
Sur le territoire reconquis par la VI Armee
entre la Marne et 1'Aisne, avec 1'aide des vaillantes
troupes des Etats-TJnis, nous avons voulu donner
aux braves, morts glorieusement pour la defense
des Droits de FHumanite, une sepulture qui per-
mettra aux families qui les pleurent de reconnaitre
le lieu de leur dernier repos, et a ceux qui recueil-
leront le fruit de leur heroi'sme, de venir, dans les
annees qui suivront la paix victorieuse, leur ap-
porter le tribut de leur reconnaissance profonde-
Parmi les plus glorieuses tombes, ou se feront
ces pieux pelerinages, sera celle de votre fils, le
Lieutenant Aviateur Quentin Roosevelt, heroi-
quement frappe en plein vol, en effectuant une
patrouille de protection au-dessus de la Foret
de Ris, le 14 Juillet, le jour meme ou la France
celebrait 1'anniversaire de la conqute de ses
Elle se trouve pres de la Ferme de Reddy, de-
pendant de la Commune de Coulonges Je vous
envoie la photographic qui en a etc prise.
J'ai tenu a y deposer personnellement une
couronne pour rendre hommage a la memoire du
En vous adressant ce pieux souvenir, permettez-
moi, Monsieur le President, de vous exprimer de
tout coeur la part que je prends au deuil cruel qui
Le Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt est heroi-
quement tombe en terre frangaise pour le triomphe
de 1'ideal commun de nos deux Pays, dont la vieille
amitie devient de jour en jour plus etroite en se
scellant du sang si noblement verse, cote a cote,
sur les champs de bataille. DEGOUTTE.
LE GfcNfcRAL PfiTAIN
MONSIEUR LE PRESIDENT, 18 Juillet 1918
J'apprends la mort glorieuse de votre fils, le
capitaine aviateur Roosevelt, tombe au front de
France en combattant pour la cause de la li-
Si votre douleur peut avoir quelque adoucisse-
ment, vous le trouverez certainement dans ce fait
que votre fils a trouve une mort heroique en com-
battant sous les plis du drapeau Americain que la
France entiere salue comme le symbole de la
Veuillez agreer, Monsieur le President, avec
les sinceres et vives condoleances de 1'Armee
Frangaise, 1'assurance de toute ma sympathie.
GRAND QUARTIER GENERAL
ARMEES FRANCAISES DE L'EST
Bureau Du Personnel
ORDRE No 12,027 "D." (EXTRAIT)
Apres approbation du General Commandant en
Chef les Forces exp6ditionnaires Americaines en
France, le Marechal de France, Commandant en
Chef les Armees Frangaises de 1'Est, cite a 1'Ordre
Lieutenant Pilote Quentin Roosevelt, a PEsca-
drille Americaine 95 :
"Excellent pilote de chasse, possedant les plus
belles qualites de courage et de devouement, Le
10 Juillet 1918, apres un combat contre 5 avions
ennemis, a abattu un de ses adversaires. A etc
tue-glorieusement au cours d'un combat aerien.
le 14 Juillet 1918."
Au Quartier General, le 29 Novembre 1918
Le Marechal De France,
Commandant en Chef les Armees Franchises de L'Est,
POUR EXTRAIT CONFORME:
CHEF DU BUREAU DU PERSONNEL
(Signature iUegible) PETAIN.
From the Naval Institute of July, 1919:
"The only French war craft named after a
citizen other than of France, is the torpedo-boat
destroyer Quentin Roosevelt, named recently as a
mark of respect to the late ex-president and his
son. The destroyer is the former Russian Buiki,
which has been taken over by French naval au-
thorities and renamed. She was rechristened last
September. The Quentin Roosevelt was turned
over by the Russians to the French because their
navy was at that time short of men and they were
unable to man her." Institute.
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
HDQRS. FIRST PURSUIT GROUP
AIR SERVICE AMERICAN E. F.
December 21, 1918.
DEAR COLONEL ROOSEVELT:
On going through our files preparatory to de-
mobilization of the First Pursuit Group Head-
quarters, the enclosure (a report locating Quen-
tin's grave) was discovered, having been caught
with some other papers and filed away by mis-
take. As the information requested was later
given officially in another letter, it is not neces-
sary for us to forward the enclosed indorsement,
and I thought that perhaps you might be in-
terested in having it, as it is signed by one of
Quentin's great friends, Lieut. Hamilton Coolidge,
who, as you know, was subsequently killed in
the Verdun Sector on October 27th.
It is needless for me to say that Quentin's loss
was mourned by everybody in the Group. He
was one of the most popular officers in the organi-
zation, being liked by everyone, officers and men.
I know of no one who really enjoyed life more
than he did. He always entered into the spirit
of everything, whether it was work or pleasure.
The day he was killed, he was in charge of an
entertainment we were giving to assist in cele-
brating the French National Holiday, July 14th,
and at the rehearsal given the night before, was
the life of the party, inspiring everybody with
his enthusiasm. That night he came to my room,
and I shall always remember his sitting on my
bed and describing to me in his inimitable manner,
the programme that he had laid out.
He and Captain Coolidge reported to the First
Pursuit Group when we were in the Toul Sector,
and both explained that they had been boyhood
friends for the past eight years and wished to
get into the same Squadron. There was a vacancy
in two Squadrons so the Commanding Officer
assigned Quentin to the 95th and Lt. Coolidge,
as he was then, to the 94th. Both became Flight
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
Commanders in their respective Squadrons. Capt.
Coolidge felt his loss very deeply, and often spoke
to me about him. The day Capt. Coolidge was
killed, October 27th, he stopped in my office just
as he was leaving on his last patrol, and spoke
then of Quentin. I recall now his saying that he
wished Quentin could have survived to have been
with him at St Mihiel-Verdun offensive, in which
this Group had been so successful. Coolidge, as
you know, had become an Ace, and had eight
official enemy airplanes to his credit. Killed, al-
most under the shadow of the Armistice as it
were, his loss was deeply felt by everyone.
Very sincerely yours,
HENRY L. LYSTER
Captain, Air Service U. S. A.
DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT: 3 ^ 30 ' 1918
It seems almost incomprehensible that Quen-
tin is really gone. At every turn something re-
minds me of him. This afternoon I walked in a
quiet wood where Q. and I walked and chatted
together only a few days before his death. I
could almost hear his voice but still there is an
awful empty feeling inside. Quent was such a
complete person not a mere friend who is in-
teresting in some particular way he was in-
teresting and lovable in every way. No one I
ever knew had so many friends from so many
different types and conditions of people.
I am trying to write a little sketch of Quentin
since his coming to France, in the hope that I
may be able to tell you some things about him
which you would never have learned from his
letters. This will not be finished for a while yet,
as it is necessary to write in between times and
in the midst of distractions. Also, my ability
to express what I feel makes it hopelessly inade-
quate; still I shall do my best, as I do so want
you to know about some of the things that boy
has done here.
Quentin's daring has left a profound impression
on all of us. I remember once at Issoudun, when
after making a bad landing and narrowly missing
a ditch, he told me that he had a "horrible sink-
ing feeling," but when it came to facing live Boches
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
in superior number far inside their lines, and
each armed with two deadly machine guns, the
"sinking feeling" did not figure at all. Too many
pilots find a "miss firing motor" or "leaking water
connection" an excuse for avoiding proximity
to Boche planes. Quentin, however, found the
presence of enemy planes an excuse for temporarily
overlooking the inferiority of his own apparatus.
His aggressive spirit has made a deep impression
throughout our Air Service, and I find in Quen-
tin's death, I won't say a vindication of Mr. Roose-
velt's attitude towards our War programme, but
a factor which gives his words redoubled force.
One heard occasionally, about a year ago, these
words, "Yes, the Roosevelt boys are all going
across, but you can be sure they'll be given staff
jobs." Strangely enough several of the people
who made similar remarks have found that they
are temperamentally better suited to be instruc-
tors at the Aviation Schools, rather than mere
pilots at the front.
I am enclosing a letter from one of Quentin's
former mechanics. It arrived a few days after
his death and is typical of the way every one of
those boys felt toward him.
I feel that I share with you and Mr. Roose-
velt the thrill of pride that was given us by the
circumstances of Quentin's splendid victory, and
of his even more splendid death, and I ask you
to accept my deepest sympathy at so sacred a
HAMILTON COOLIDGE'S SKETCH
On the trip across Quentin busied himself most
of the time in becoming better acquainted with
the officers of his detachment, many of whom he
previously knew but slightly. He was thoroughly
enthusiastic about the job ahead; his enthusiasm
was fundamental, and seemed to me distinct from
that of many of his comrades who apparently
acquired theirs in the much talking and specula-
tion that accompanied the after dinner smoke.
Even his worst spells of homesickness did not
dent it, though his natural cheerfulness changed
to black gloom on that tedious trip.
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
Often we walked together in the evenings on
the unlighted decks, and always the conversation
developed into reminiscences of the events so
fresh in our minds. . . . Never was he sorry for
himself. Almost never did he speak of the dan-
gers ahead of him, and then only in a most casual
way. Once in a great while he wondered "Shall
I ever come back?" but far more often it was "I
wonder how long it will be before we come back."
His attitude seemed to be fatalistic. He went on
the principle that he was on an adventure in
which a definite object was to be obtained. When
that object was obtained he was coming back. If
some accident befel him in the course of it, that
was something he could not foresee then why
worry? Quentin did not begrudge the fact that
war was going to demand his best efforts, that it
would place him in great personal danger. The
only thing he begrudged was the inordinate
amount of precious time that it would occupy. . . .
Upon arriving in France on August 14th, Quen-
tin was sent directly to Issoudun to take charge
of transportation, and for a while supplies also.
The camp then consisted of little more than a
half dozen army tents, and Cord Meyer was
about the only one of his old friends then with
him. All I knew of Quentin during the next two
months came from his comrades who occasionally
had business in Paris. Somehow Transportation
and supplies didn't seem to be within the field of
Quentin's previous experiences, but everyone spoke
of how well he was doing. He successfully con-
ducted several trench trains of supplies from a
sea-port town and some of the supplies he obtained
occasioned considerable comment because the
other men had been unsuccessful in obtaining
them. I later learned that Quentin never needed
previous experience to handle a job successfully.
His versatility was unlimited. Probably no officer
in the air service has had more different jobs than
Quentin in the same length of time, and made a
real success of each. Yet all the time he was
doing these jobs, not because he liked them but
because he saw that they were inevitable before
flying could really begin. Flying was what he
cared about. One day a Frenchman landed at
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
the field in a Caudion. After lunch Quentin was
looking over the machine. He had never driven
a Caudion before, in fact for over two months he
Lad not flown at all. Neither of those facts dis-
turbed him in the least; he wanted to fly. Two
mechanics cranked the engine and a minute later
Quentin was circling the field in a machine new to
him and controlled in a different manner than
any plane he had hitherto been in !
It was during this period that Quentin and
Cord Meyer became such good friends. They
frequently took motor cycle trips together. Both
had some bad smashes, but that seemed only the
rather amusing accompaniment of their good
times together. It was then, too, that they be-
came acquainted with the delightful Normant
family at Romorantin.
On October 15th, when the school opened a
new administration took hold. From then on
the plan of things and even the personnel, was
constantly changing for a while. Quentin always
had some job on his hands. One week he went
away in charge of a trucking detail. The next
saw him in command of a Squadron. Often he
was called to Paris on questions of accountabilities
for supplies. His duties were so many and varied
that for a while he had little chance to fly. It
really seemed as if his superiors used him for any
hard job which required tactful handling. I think
of one case in particular in this connection. The
cadets at the school in its early days had under-
gone some very trying disappointments in regard
to their commissions and their pay; they were a
demoralized crowd of boys. Quentin was put in
charge of them. For several weeks he devoted
his entire time to straightening out their difficul-
ties. He had no chance to fly with this work on
his shoulders and the strain began to tell. Com-
ing back from a cross country trip I found him
sick and strongly urged him to go to bed. He
said that he couldn't leave his work and went
right ahead. That is when he really became sick.
There were several of us down with grippe at the
same time, while Quentin had pneumonia. Under
Miss Givenwilson's personal care most of us had
soon recovered, but Quentin's sickness had reached
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
a stage where nothing but a complete rest and
change could do him good. It was to Bordeaux
that he went, if I remember correctly. At any
rate he stayed there but two days, after which he
returned to Paris. He said it was because during
those two days it had snowed and if there was
going to be bad weather in Southern France he
might as well stay in Paris. I know, however,
that what really brought him back to Paris was
the persistent devotion to family which was always
so marked in him.
Field Seven is where formation flying is taught
at Issoudun. It is where Quentin really made his
mark at the School. He was sent there after rush-
ing through his acrobatic flying upon returning
from Paris, to be the Officer in charge of flying.
It was the one job he had a chance to hold long
enough to organize thoroughly. While anxious to
go to the front Quentin realized the futility of that
desire for some time to come and therefore settled
down to make the best he could out of his work
there. He was happy to be there with Cord
Meyer for a while, before Cord left. In thinking
over those days I always think of Quentin at
Field Seven. That is when I knew him best. It
is when he had his most permanent job and when
he did his best work. It is when he won the
devotion of all the mechanics in a way that gave
a fine lesson to the "over military" type of officer
who tries to impress his authority by an abrupt-
ness of manner and speech assumed for the occa-
Every morning prompt at seven o'clock a
gaudily painted plane could be seen circling the
camp, sometimes ducking in and out of low hang-
ing clouds, at others diving, twisting and rolling
in an extravagant demonstration of nice handling.
It was Quentin in his beloved "Dock Yack" plane
trying out the weather before sending his pupils
off on patrol. In addition to the star cockades
and the shield and wing insignia upon the top
wing, Quentin had employed a jack-of-all-trades
mechanic to paint upon both sides of the fuselage
a representation of "Doc Yack" in his auto, as
depicted in the Goldberg cartoons. Quentin was
extremely pleased with this plane, both as to
appearance and flying qualities.
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
All the time during flying hours he was out
upon the field wearing a grimy long leather cost
and the traditional silk stocking "porte bonheur''*
as his only head gear. He seemed to be always
moving about. Patrols took off and returned
with more and more precision as time went on.
Planes were ready on time; they were lined care-
fully to white chalk lines, and the accumulated
oil and dust seemed to disappear from their sides
and undercarriages. Often I happened to be
near when Quentin was criticizing a student flyer.
"What were you doing a quarter of a mile behind
the formation when it passed over Vatan?", or
perhaps "Yes Williams I realize that the Cha-
teauroux hospital possesses a peculiar fascination
for you (the nurses) but you know that acrobatics
two hundred feet from the ground is poor busi-
ness, and incidentally weren't you supposed to be
in the formation a thousand metres above ? " In-
variably a puzzled, usually sheepish expression
appeared on the face of the victim as he first won-
dered how his instructor knew of all these things,
and then realized that he was not the type of in-
structor who watches proceedings from a chair on
the ground. Had any of the men on patrol looked
carefully above at times they might have seen a
small Nieuport circling inquisitively overhead.
Indeed the ubiquitousness of their instructor al-
ways puzzled the students, for was he not on the
ground when they left and then also when they
returned, and yet was there any incident of their
flight around the country which he did not know
about? An instructor who flew himself, who fre-
quently took a student's place in formation, must
be a man who took an interest in his work, they
figured and the quality of the flying and hence
the reputation of the field gradually but surely
adjusted itself accordingly.
At Field Seven there was a supply Officer whose
duty it was to secure the many spare parts that
are essential in the maintenance of airplanes.
There was a construction officer who supervised
the building of barracks, the driving of wells,
the installation of electric light plants and machine
tools in the shop. Sometimes in spite of all their
efforts the spare parts were unavailable, the build-
ing material could not be had for love or money.
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
"Requisitions had been in for two weeks, but
nothing had happened." At supper someone
would ask "Where is Quentin?" and another
would answer "Oh he has gone over to the main
camp on his motorcycle," and the subject would
be dismissed. Next morning, however, the needed
parts or material would suddenly and mysteriously
appear upon a truck. Once in particular I re-
member when a long awaited dynamo arrived at
the camp. The old one had become inadequate
as the demands upon it increased. The new one
after being carefully cleaned and assembled by
willing mechanics stood ready to supply the much
needed current as soon as a suitable foundation
should be built for it to rest upon. "But there's
not a bit of cement in the supply room; we'll
have to wait until they send it from Paris," com-
plained the construction officer. That night it
was dark and drizzly so nobody noticed when
Quentin disappeared about nine o'clock with
two of his men in a truck. About an hour later
the truck returned with twenty bags of cement
inside. " Where did you get the cement ? " some-
one asked. "Stole it," was Quentin's laconic
reply. And let it be remembered that Quentin's
official title was "Officer in charge of Flying at
Then there were many rainy days when we
couldn't work. We used the room in which Quen-
tin, the Doctor and the Captain (C. 0. of the field)
lived as a sitting room; usually the four of us
but occasionally several more would wander in.
The Captain was a Southerner and enjoyed crap
games so dice it was. We sat on Quentin's
bed rolling the dice and exchanging francs. Pri-
vately we all took our cue from the Captain but
after about two games you couldn't tell whether
it was he or Quentin who was the veteran "crap-
shooter." He put his whole heart into every-
thing he did whether it was rolling dice or develop-
ing pilots for war. When he did not play in the
current game he was sitting in the box wood arm
chair reading or writing letters with a concen-
tration that was always a source of wonder to
me. No matter how much noise the phonograph
and the gamblers made he never " batted an eye."
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
It seemed to make not the slightest difference to
him. He always managed to keep up his read-
ing, but I could never discover whether or not
he had a system about it. One minute I would
find him reading the "Rhymes of Ironquill," or
Dunsany the next it would be Boswell's Life
of Johnson. He nearly always carried a book
in his pocket, which reminds me of Archie at
Groton. I think Quentin always kept several
books going at the same time and read whichever
one happened to be handy. He seemed to like
queer and obscure things, but probably they were
"queer and obscure" only to me! Anyway if he
spent time reading them it was only because he had
already read every standard and known author.
After an idle day a dinner in town at the "cafe
de 1'Aviation" usually followed sometimes with
the "Gappy" (he hated the name but wouldn't
admit it) and Doc often with some Frenchmen
or other friend at the main camp.
The following are extracts from Lieutenant
Coolidge's letters to his family:
"Q. seems to figure in almost everything amus-
ing that happens to me. Last Tuesday I got
permission to try the little monoplane again.
Thinking to make a big impression (because this
monoplane commands attention wherever it goes)
I headed straight for here, our outlying field.
As I drew near I spotted Q. in his gaudily deco-
rated plane, circling around a toy balloon up
over the field, so of course I sailed up to say hello.
Just as I got close, however, he turned his at-
tention from the toy balloon flipped over on his
back and came diving down on me in attack.
That possibility hadn't occurred to me, but one
must never refuse a combat, so I hastened to
manoeuvre for position. Well it is commonly
known that the mono is far superior here to all
the other planes in speed, climb and manoeuvre
ability, but as it was only my second trip in the
little devil and as it is a very sensitive appareil,
demanding skilful handling, I didn't dare to whisk
it around in the slap-dash manner that would
have saved the situation, and consequently I
was ignominiously defeated in the fight. Now
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
my chances of revenge are poor because another
pilot has since wrecked the little plane. It is
"Yesterday Q. and I once more attacked the
Major on the subject of getting out to the front.
Well, a rather discouraging circumstance renders
it useless just now, so there's obviously nothing
to do but wait in patience."
July 11, 1918
Quentin and I were not assigned to the same
squadron. We are in the same group, conse-
quently operate from the same base and see each
other frequently. Let me tell you of the splen-
did coup de main he sprang today. While on
patrol with some eight or nine of his comrades
over the lines, the formation became broken up
in some quick manoeuvering. Q. suddenly found
himself alone. After circling around a few min-
utes he saw three planes in formation not far away
and hastened to rejoin them, falling into place
behind them. It seemed a little queer that his
leader should be going so far within the enemy
lines, but he thought no more about it until the
leader made a sudden turn exposing to full view
upon his rudder a large black cross! "Wrong
again" said Q. to himself, but his brain kept right
on working. Sneaking close up behind the rear
man who either did not see him or supposed him
to be one of his friends, Q. took careful aim and
let him have a stream of bullets from his ma-
chine gun. The plane wavered a second, then
toppled over and fell spinning in a spiral like a
winged stone. Q. reversed and headed for home
at full speed pursued by two bewildered Huns
whom he gradually left further behind as his
little Nieuport roared along. A quick backward
glance revealed his victim still spinning after a
fall of some nine or ten thousand feet; he then
disappeared in a cloud bank. Isn't that one of
the most remarkable true tales you have ever
heard? It's doubtful if this Boche is confirmed
too far inside their lines.
Captain Coolidge became one of America's
leading aces; he was killed on October 27, 1918,
by a direct hit from an anti-aircraft gun whilst
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
diving through a terrific barrage to the rescue of
two observation planes which were being at-
tacked by six German machines.
The following is the letter Coolidge mentions as
having arrived a few days after Quentin's last
On Active Service
DEAR LIEUT. ROOSEVELT: July " 1918>
I've just read about your victorious tangle
with the Huns and my only regret is that I
can not, or rather could not be there to wit-
Nevertheless I want to congratulate you and
wish you all sorts of luck. Everyone of the fel-
lows in the 37th are tickled to death.
There's no use telling you that we miss you,
cause we do. Everything is going on the same.
No doubt you already know that Lieut. Davis
has gone to the front.
I've got a new flivver (exciting news this, no
doubt). And this is about all. So again allow
me to offer you my heartiest congratulations.
Hoping that you'll get 'steen more, I remain as
ever, c . ,
bmcerely yours "DAGO "
Priv. 1st Cl. D. A. Di Fiore 37tk Aero
Squadron Amer. Forces France
O. K. Censored by: A. K. Lowell, Lt. U. S. A.
A. S. S. C. Yes the boys are all for you and
Lt. Coolidge back here. Best of luck. A. K. L.
Mr. W. H. Crawford, President of Allegheny
College, gave this account of a meeting with
"Our truck broke down, and I was too late for
the mess, but Lieut. Roosevelt came to see me
in the hut, and we had a most interesting inter-
view. It was a wretchedly sloppy night, the lieu-
tenant's rain coat was pretty well spattered with
mud, but he was bright, eager and full of life.
"As we went out into the rain to his sidecar I
said to him: 'Lieutenant there are large numbers
of Americans who are very proud of the way the
four sons of Theodore Roosevelt are acquitting
themselves in this war.' I never shall forget how
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
his face lighted up as he made reply: 'Well you
know it's rather up to us to practice what father
"On all sides I heard only good things about
Lieut. Quentin Roosevelt and the devotion of
his men to him. I was told that often during the
winter months the men would remain out in the
storm and train under him, and do it cheerfully,
as they did not under any other officer."
The following are extracts from letters written
to their relatives or friends by members of
the A. E. F. who had come in contact with
From A. J. Whaley:
"Young Roosevelt is as modest as a schoolgirl,
but as game as they make them in aviation. Keep
tabs on this game young chap."
From Lieutenant John F. Wheelock:
"As you know by this time, our hopes that
Quentin Roosevelt was only a prisoner were
blasted and it is quite certain he is gone. Too
bad, because he was a peach. He died in a great
scrap it appears, and was buried in German soil
with full military honors."
From Banner Shull:
"Quentin Roosevelt is in charge on these trips.
We boys would do anything for him. He always
sees that his men are taken care of before he
thinks of himself."
From Sergeant C. A. Gardiner, Jr.:
"All those bum deals that I spoke of are plum
gone now. We have a real man commanding us
now, one of Colonel Roosevelt's sons. We have
only had him a short while but would do more for
him than all the time we knew the other man.
You get me don't you the minute stuff ? "
From Corporal Aleck Barlow:
"It hit me pretty hard as I knew him well and
used to look after his plane for him quite a little
when he was our instructor. He was one of the
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
best and finest men I ever knew. Just a young
fellow and full of life. I wonder if his dad is any-
thing like him. If he is I would vote for him if
he ever ran for office again. All the boys in the
37th thought a great deal of him and hated to see
him go to the front. He was sure a prince."
From a member of Quentin's first "outfit,"
writing to some one whose son was "missing":
"I guess you feel about the same way we all
did when we heard of Lieut. Roosevelt's death.
He came over with this squadron, that is the old
29th now the 400th and everybody thought there
was nobody like him, and last winter in Issoudun
I helped him get his motor cycle started many
times when it was so cold. He was a wonderful
fellow and afraid of nothing."
From Mr. R. M. Washburn:
"Yesterday, while an Italian was cutting my
hair in a barber shop, he told me that he had
served overseas with him, saying, in his own
words: 'He was afraid of nothing with his aero-
plane; a great operator; was one of us, and could
fight, play, box, do anything; the goodest kid
I ever saw.' '
From Lieutenant Geo. B. Bailey:
"I had a great week, this last one, flying in
formation. Formation flying is in charge of
Lieut. Quentin Roosevelt, the son of our famous
T. R., and he is a chip off the old block, and a
mighty fine and popular fellow."
From Arthur Weirich Air Service:
"Look at Quentin Roosevelt, one of the finest,
cleanest, bravest boys in France a good flyer;
and yet he is one of the first men to get it. Every-
thing in the world waiting for him back in the
From an aviator in the A. E. F. to his parents:
"I am with a fine bunch of boys; one especially
Quentin Roosevelt is a wonderfully fine chap,
and he keeps his father's picture up in his tent at
all times told us it gives him great courage to
look at his father's face."
From Guy Bonney, 1st Battalion, 1st Gas Regi-
ment, September 30, 1918:
"Lt. Quentin Roosevelt, the aviator who was
killed in the Chateau Thierry and the son of the
former President, was I believe their most talked
about and worshiped aviator. It being because
he received all of his instruction on this field.
They had his old aeroplane, 'Doc Yak,' which he
had painted to his fancy with this famous cari-
cature, in a hangar by itself and it was an object
of admiration by all. They told us to crawl in
and be seated in it so we would have something
to remember him by, which we did. Then, when I
made the remark that I had been camped for a
length of time up there within a quarter of a mile
of his grave, they certainly did crowd around and
commence to ask questions about it. I saw his
burial place when the Germans had a cross of
theirs and inscribed in German placed over it.
They called Roosevelt 'the enlisted man's friend.' "
From an officer of the A. E. F.:
"A young Lieutenant in our Flying Corps who
is at present staying here, talked to me about
Quentin, and his work at the school. He said that
Quentin was a sort of chief among the instructors,
that he was a strict disciplinarian but was loved
by everybody, and that he was of the greatest
use to the fellows who were learning to fly. He
stopped for a moment reflecting, and then, half
to himself, he muttered * He was a prince ! ' '
From Miss I. M Given wilson of the Red Cross,
stationed at Issoudun:
"Though my heart aches at the loss of him I
cannot but feel a joy and pride at having known
such a boy. He has done such excellent work
since he has been over here. He showed just
what could be expected of him all through life.
He knew how to handle men, understood them,
and was beloved by them. He was so valuable
as the officer in charge of training at Field Seven,
that he was sent to the Front with great reluc-
tance by the commanding officer here."
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
This is part of a letter written by Mr. H. A.
Maxwell, of Maiden, Massachusetts, to Quentin's
"As a pioneer Y man for the camp, he was
one of the first officers with whom I became
acquainted, and his splendid co-operation as an
officer in charge of transportation enabled me to
make a record in building my first hut. He, with
a detail of men, went to Chattereaux, twenty-
seven kilometers distant, and got the first piano
that came to camp. He also assisted me in
organizing two debating clubs, and while he was
the Commanding Officer at the 36th Squadron his
personal influence with the men will be long
remembered. For a short time they were quar-
antined, and I recall his taking them on a hike
one afternoon. On his return he made a halt in
a large field, under a tree, and gave them a good
In handing him my letters to be censored, I
had opportunity for many little chats with him.
I recall his putting his hand on my shoulder one
day and saying, 'Y man, how could we get along
without you.' I replied, 'Ah, go on; you are
just like your daddy.' 'Yes, I know,' he said,
'but I've got a great daddy.' I appreciated this
frank and tender reference to his father, as I,
too, am one.
"One day he stopped me in front of the hut
prior to its completion, and said in his way, with
which you are familiar, 'Why do you call that a
hut? I call it a palace. What a great home for
the boys ! '
"His kind consideration for the interest of
others was very marked. I am glad to have
known your son, and I assure you that your splen-
did spirit and your sacrifice for this great strug-
gle to make the world better is a source of inspira-
tion to every true American citizen."
Quentin's family received several touching let-
ters from French parents:
BIzons par Cuzaguet Htes Pyrenees
MADAME: 20 Octobre 1918
Nous venons, moi et mon mari, d'avoir un sauf
conduit de 48 herues pour aller voir notre pay
reconqui, et c'est avec le coeur serree que nous
avons revue notre petit villages. Helas, de notre
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
interieure tout a etc enlev6; il ne nous reste que
les yeux pour pleure. La maison n'a pas trop
souffer, elle a ete un peut repaire, et Ton peut, je
croi, maintenant se metre a 1'abrie. Je me fait
done, Madame, le plaisir de venir vous offrire
notre maison, car je me suis fait un devoir de
porte un bouquet sur la tombe de votre cher
enfant, le capitaine Quentin, qui a ete enterre
a cote de notre villages. De chez moi il y a 10
minutes pour votre enfant. II lui a ete fait
comme il le meritait une jolie tombe, et de tous.
C'est pauvre soldats nous avons toujour represente
Aussitot qu'il arrive un regiment Americains
tous von sur la tombe de votre cher enfant. A
vous Madame je viens vous offrir notre maison le
jour ou vous pouvez venir car il faut espere que
cette maudite guerre finira bientot, esperons assez
de misere et de ruine. Nous restons a Coulonges
en Tardenois, Aisne, rue du Poinson N 1.
Agree, Madame, mon profond respect
refugiees a Bizons.
a Madame et Monsieur Roosevelt.
11 Quai de Conti
MADAME, Paris le 17 Juillet 1918
Permettez a la mere d'un obscur fantassin
Francais de vingt ans de venir vous dire qu'elle
partage votre douleur, mele ses larmes aux votres,
et vous remercie de toute son ame de votre sacrifice
en la personne de votre cher enfant Quentin.
The following letters from Quentin's comrades
need no introduction or explanation:
DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT:
A mother doesn't need to be told the kind of
a man that her boy is, and yet perhaps it would
make you just a bit happier should I tell you
what his friends thot of him, what a regular
lad he was. I'd have written sooner but was a
prisoner since July 5th and just arrived home a
Quentin and I roomed together at Toul when
he first came up to the front. One comes to know
ones room mate, down deep inside. There are
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
so many little things that show his measure. I
don't need to tell you of his flying, his bravery;
words seem inadequate, and others have already
tried that. I can only say that he was a brave
man and an excellent flyer, a man one liked to
have with him when the odds were on the other
side, and hope you'll understand what I say so
poorly. At night, if I were asleep or he thot
that I was, he'd tip toe to his cot, would be just
as quiet as possible, he did a thousand little Con-
siderate things that do not seem important, yet
which really mean much. If I were going out
with a partner, just the two, I know no one I'd
rather have had than he.
He lived and stepped over the little river as
a brave gallant soldier and gentleman, in the
way he'd have chosen. We all loved him, the
days we had at the front were among the hap-
piest we'll ever know. The lad's only regret was
for his family, that I know, and there is the con-
solation that when the present existence is fin-
ished, we all shall see him again on the other side
of the little divide.
If I may help in any way please do not hesitate
to call upon me.
On Active Service
MY DEAR MRS. ROOSEVELT:
Having lived in the same camp with your son
Quentin Roosevelt, I can not refrain from telling
you that I know he was especially loved by the
enlisted men. Of course, he had the respect of
his brother officers, but it may be gratifying to
you to be told by one who for four months was
an intimate observer of his life that he was gen-
uinely popular with the boys.
Only last night a cook in one of the squadrons
at this "field" told me of Lieut. Roosevelt drop-
ping in for breakfast. An earlier schedule was
in effect and as he had been "night flying," which
had kept him up rather late, he missed the regular
mess. He dropped in for a cup of coffee. Surely i
He got it and whatever else was available. Then
he sat down and as he ate he "visited" with the
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
whole kitchen force, "just like a regular fellow"
to quote my cook friend exactly.
This sort of thing was typical with him. Among
themselves the men called him "Teddy" and
many were the remarks that I overheard about
him, by the rank and file, full of honest admira-
tion. They knew he was courageous and an in-
telligent hard worker, but best of all they felt
that he had a real interest in them and they loved
him for it.
While not an intimate of his, he ivas in and
out of our little Hut quite a good deal and I came
to like his sturdy person and bright personality.
Believe me, Mrs. Roosevelt, I honor you as
the mother of such a son.
WM. H. FORBES
Censored by: Y. M. C. A. Sec.
Robert G. Fittnan
1st Lt. A. S. Sig. R. C.
AMERICAN AVIATION DETACHMENT G. D. E.
AVIATION FBANCAISE, PAR. B. C. AM. PARIS
DEAR COLONEL AND MRS. ROOSEVELT:
I wish to express my very sincere sympathy
in the death of your son, Quentin. I was at Is-
soudun with him for six months, and like every-
one liked him immensely. The last time I saw
him he was doing acrobatics against the moon
at night, a feat which requires more than ordinary
courage. I left the field before he landed, and
had no chance to congratulate him on his per-
formance, but I thought you would like to know
of it as it was typical of the young officer I knew
as light heartedly courageous as any man I
have ever known.
I know he died as he always flew gamely, for
he certainly was game in every way. He died
in the manner all of us in this game would want
to "get it," if it is our turn to go at the front
in contact with the enemy. This is the best way
of all to go.
Let me express once more my sympathy. The
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
Air Service lost a splendid officer in the death of
Very sincerely yours,
MERIAN C. COOPER.
HEADQUARTERS, 36TH AERO SQUADRON
CAZAUX, BASE SECTION NO. 2 A. E. F.
From : Enlisted Members of 36th Aero Squadron SC.
To: Hon. Theodore Roosevelt and Family.
We the members of the 36th Aero Squadron SC.
U. S. Army having served only recently under
your son, Lieut. Quentin Roosevelt, A. S. Sig. R. C.
who was in command of the squadron, wish to
extend our sympathy and love to his father and
mother and family, in the loss of their son and
brother. His example shall serve to inspire us in
all our trials, and our one ambition is to help
avenge his death, which we shall always strive
For and on behalf of the 36th Aero
JOSEPH H. GRAVES,
1st Lt. M. R. C.
400TH AERO SQUADRON, S. C.
AIR SERVICE PRODUCTION CENTER NO. 2, A. E. F. FRANCE
August 1, 1918.
Colonel Theodore Roosevelt,
Oyster Bay, L. L, N. Y.
DEAR COLONEL ROOSEVELT:
It is with mingled pride and sorrow that we,
the members of the 400th Aero Squadron (for-
merly the 29th Aero Squadron) write to you on
the subject of the sad but glorious death of your
son, Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt.
It was OUT great privilege to know him as a
man and a soldier, for a year past, since the time
when he joined our Squadron at Fort Wood, New
York, early in July, 1917. During the pioneer
days of the construction of our immense aviation
camp, here in France, he was continuously with
our Squadron, for a period of several months, dur-
ing which time he fulfilled the exacting duties of
Supply Officer and of Officer in Charge of Trans-
When he left us a few weeks ago to go to the
front, having completed his flying training, we
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
were certain that he would place himself where
the fighting was fiercest, for it was his nature to
do nothing by halves.
We do not exaggerate when we assure you that
he had endeared himself to every man in our
organization, by his manly qualities and his pre-
vailing amiability. He made us feel, to the last
man, that he was our friend.
Our admiration for his glorious end rises above
our great grief for his loss; and it is in this spirit
that we write this small but sincere tribute to his
From: THE ENLISTED MEN OP THE
400TH AERO SQUADRON
*" JACOB ANDERSON
1st Sgt. 400th Aero Squadron
Among the many accounts of Quentin's activi-
ties at Issoudun, the following appeared in the
Indianapolis Star :
"An incident in the short life of Lieut. Quentin
Roosevelt, the youngest son of former President
Theodore Roosevelt, that recalls the sturdy quali-
ties of manhood of his father and his insistent
demand and fearless fighting for right and justice,
is related by Lieut. Linton A. Cox of this city,
who lately returned from overseas, after serving
as an aviator in the 94th Combat Squadron under
Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker.
'"During the winter of 1918,' said Lieut. Cox,
*when, as flying cadets under the command of
Lieut. Quentin Roosevelt, we were receiving train-
ing at Issoudun in the art of standing guard in
three feet of mud and were serving as saw and
hatchet carpenters, building shelters for the 1,200
cadets who were waiting in vain for machines in
which to fly, affairs suddenly reached a crisis when
it was discovered that the quartermaster refused
to issue rubber boots to us, because the regular
printed army regulations contained no official
mention or recognition of flying cadets.
"Requisition after requisition for boots had
been refused by the captain in charge of the
quartermaster's depot, in spite of the fact that
the boys were wading around in worn-out shoes
in slush and mud knee deep. The supply of rub-
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
her boots was plentiful, but the captain was a
stickler for army red tape, and did not have the
courage to exercise common sense, if he had any/
"Lieut. Cox stated that so many cadets had
become sick because of this needless exposure that
Lieut. Roosevelt decided to take matters into his
own hands. Going over to the quartermaster's
depot and risking court-martial, he demanded of
the captain, who was of superior rank, that the
boots be issued at once. Again he was refused.
Upon being pressed for a satisfactory reason why
the requisitions were not honored, the captain
ordered Lieut. Roosevelt out of the office. He
refused to go.
"'Who do you think you are what is your
name?' asked the captain, who was unacquainted
with Quentin. 'I'll tell you my name after you
have honored this requisition, but not before,'
answered Lieut. Roosevelt. This led to a hot ex-
change of words. Suddenly Quentin, being un-
able longer to control his indignation, stepped up
and said, 'If you'll take off your Sam Brown belt
and insignia of rank I'll take off mine, and we'll
see if you can put me out of the office. I'm going
to have those boots for my men if I have to be
court-martialed for a breach of military discipline.'
"Two other officers who had been attracted to
the scene by the loud voices intervened, and the
men were separated, whereupon Quentin Roose-
velt went to the major in charge of the battalion
and refraining from any mention of his recent
controversy, related how cadets by the score were
being incapacitated for service and were suffering
from pneumonia and influenza because requisitions
for boots were not being honored. The major
agreed with Quentin that such a situation was
absurd and that immediate relief should be
"Lieut. Roosevelt had hardly left the major's
office when the quartermaster captain came in
and stated that there was a certain aviation lieu-
tenant in camp whom he wanted court-martialed.
"'Who is this lieutenant?' asked the major.
"'I don't know who he is,' replied the captain,
'but I can find out.'
"'I know who he is,' said the major. 'His
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
name is Quentin Roosevelt and there is no finer
gentleman nor more efficient officer in this camp
and from what I know, if any one deserves a
court-martial you are the man. From now on
you issue rubber boots to every cadet who applies
for them, army regulations be d d.*
"The boots were immediately issued and the
cadets were loud in their praise of Lieut. Roosevelt.
"'This is just one instance of many,' said Lieut.
Cox, 'that served to endear Quentin Roosevelt to
the men under his command."'
Quentin was billeted in the little town of Mau-
perthuis during the last few weeks of his life;
and inevitably struck up a friendship with the
townsfolk, old and young.
Lieutenant Donald Hudson wrote:
"In the little village where Roosevelt lived
with his fellow aviators they have renamed the
Public Square 'Place Roosevelt,' and written it
in big letters on the granite fountain. Quentin
Roosevelt was one of the most modest of young
men. The few French villagers knew him, and
honored him because of himself, because of his
Father, and because of his fighting brothers.
"Over his billet he had written the name of
Lieutenant Thomas, his roommate, then his own,
and then 'God bless our home." :
Lieutenant A. B. Sherry, another friend and
fellow aviator, tells how
"Q was a great favorite with the inhabitants
of Mauperthuis, for he was always chatting with
the old men about their affairs, and ever ready
to listen to the troubles of their wives, and of
the mothers of the boys away at the front."
An account, whose author we have been un-
able to ascertain, reads as follows:
"Quentin, you know, was very young I know
he wasn't twenty -one. He was just a kid, full of
life and good spirits. If he had been less peppy,
he might not have got killed.
"We were all billeted out in cottages in this
little village of Mauperthuis, the population of
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
which consisted of old ladies, the average age of
whom, judging from appearances, was ninety-
three maybe a little more. Well, Quentin was
a great favorite, not only among the members of
the squadron, but with the old ladies. He spoke
French very well indeed, and with this and his
cheery ways he got into their good books, or they
got into his, whichever way it was.
"They all called him the noble, or the honor-
able, or the distinguished, or even the great Mees-
tair Roussefel', and he received their greetings
very gracefully. Roosevelt was about the only
American name the French country people ever
had heard until President Wilson became a world
figure, and to have a real Roosevelt amongst
them was something for these old ladies to talk
"Young Roosevelt would go about from house
to house and gossip with all the old ladies. The
rest of us sometimes thought they were a bit of
a nuisance. If I were trying to write a letter,
for instance, and one of them rushed in with a
long story to tell in her rapid, colloquial, quite
incomprehensible French, I would feel like ask-
ing her to leave me alone for a while. But not
Roosevelt. He would lay down his pen, put his
paper aside, and chat about the weather or what-
ever the old lady wanted to chat about.
"It would be: 'Ah, Madame Labrosse, and
have you heard yet from the husband of your
daughter B lanche ? ' * B ut no, Meestair Roussef el ' ,
I have received no letter it is two weeks, and I
" 'On the contrary,' Roosevelt would say,
'one should not give up the hope. He will ar-
' 'Ah, Meestair Roussef el', I of it hope well.'
"The first thing that strikes your eye when
you go into one of these French cottages is the
framed photograph of the head of the family in
uniform. Usually it is the uniform of 1871, and
if you make inquiries you will be told all about
him. You will be told, too, all about the other
photographs in plush frames, and also the framed
medals and ribbons. They turn their walls into
photograph albums in rural France. A room
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
thus becomes a sort of family history in four big
wide-open pages for one who makes inquiries
but most of us didn't make inquiries, for the an-
swer would be only a flow of very rapid French
that nobody could understand except Quentin
Roosevelt. Where he learned to speak French I
don't know. And he would make the most polite
inquiries, and the old ladies would smile sweetly
and pour out their stories.
"What interested Quentin more than all the
photographs, however, was the dancing brevet
that hangs above nearly every French mantel-
piece. It seems that as soon as you become pro-
ficient in anything over there you get either a
medal or a brevet, which is a framed certificate.
One of the most prized possessions of each of the
old ladies of Mauperthuis is a dancing brevet
which informs the reader that her son Henri,
or Claude or Jean or Paul or Emile, in Anno
Domini 1883 or thereabouts has taken so many
lessons in dancing and is competent to lead a
cotillon anywhere from Versailles to Montpar-
nasse. Sometimes you find an old lady who has
preserved her own dancing brevet, qualifying her
to dance the minuet and the gavotte for these
faded documents date from the days when the
new-fangled waltz was not mentioned in polite
"'Ah, what is it that I see?' Quentin would
say. 'A dancing brevet, en effet. How it is gen-
til, hein ? '
"And Madame would cross her hands on her
lap and smile, and after a ' Je vous en prie' to ex-
press her own unworthiness of such exalted favor,
she would explain that her Henri, who is now on
the Verdun sector, was a dancer the most unique,
the most magnifique, the most charmant, and a
whole lot of adjectives that I don't know, having
no French-English dictionary about me.
"Roosevelt would go around thus from house
to house and the old ladies would beam upon
him and after he was gone would exchange gossip
about him. He had told them so-and-so, he
had done so-and-so, he had praised highly the
pictures of the baby of one's niece, had the son
of the most great Tedd-ee.
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
"I shall never forget how the news of Quen-
tin's death was received in that little village. Of
course, the old lady who kept his billet had con-
sidered herself much honored by the presence of
the gentil Meestair Roussefel' beneath her roof.
She was one of the oldest ladies in the village
her back was bent almost double, but she was
able to get around with a stick and she never
missed her round of gossip until the day Quentin
was killed. Then she shut herself up in her house
for a whole day. When she did come out, she
was in deep mourning and her face was very sad."
An editorial of which Quentin's family was
unable to learn the authorship was published in
the Hartford C our ant. The writer must have
known Quentin intimately.
YOUNG ROOSEVELT'S NATURE
"There was something very interesting about
Quentin Roosevelt. He was not one of the usual
run of boys. He was individual from those first
days when boys begin to do things for themselves.
Probably things looked to him different from what
they do to the ordinary boy.
"The ordinary boy sees the world very much
as his parents and the older members of the family
see it. The regular conventional view takes hold
of him early. The mind of no healthy boy is quite
standardized, but its customary processes are in
that direction. Little by little he absorbs or
accepts the views of the generation into which he
is born until these views are his own. It is thus
that the judgments and work of the world go for-
ward in an orderly way. One might almost call
it the natural way. It is not the business of the
usual mind, any more than it is of the usual plant,
to originate. The main business of both minds
and plants is to transmit, to maintain the good
that we have and carry it forward. Our civil and
religious usages have come to us from our ances-
tors, and the main duty of most of us is to keep
these usages alive and hand them forward to our
children. This is the ordinary and natural law.
It is so with the plants, and it is so with the
human mind. The seed of wheat is expected to
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
produce wheat and nothing else, and it habitually
does. The human mind is expected to carry for-
ward the ancient struggle against pauperism and
ignorance and sin, and it usually does. Most boys
are born to do this work, and they do it. They
are often a little frisky at times; they disclose ten-
dencies now and then toward new attitudes; but
in the end the mass of them are halter-broke and
settle down to the job of carrying things forward
about as they are. If most human minds did not
work in this methodical and orderly way we
would never get anywhere. The gains made in
one generation would be frittered away by the
next, and we would be continuously fussing with
the beginnings. The continuous accumulation of
worth-while improvement would be checked, and
the momentum of gains would be shattered into
"Quentin Roosevelt was not built on these
usual lines, and apparently he was not designed
for this usual duty. He began very early to see
for himself. He did not find much to see in
human kind, either. He would not have found
much in the ordinary man that was new, or espe-
cially interesting, if he had looked there. One
sample is so much like another that a study of
that sort soon exhausts itself. We can see this
in the writers of novels and the writers of plays,
who have to put strong social spices and sauces
into their standardized work to freshen it. This
younger Roosevelt turned to the primitive and
unadulterated and untrained things. It is related
of him that he once managed to get a hive of
honey bees into a Washington street car in order
to take them home with him to the White House.
The ordinary boy learns very early that a bee is
an uncertain companion. Without doubt this
Roosevelt youngster had received the same in-
struction and the same warning. The reason that
it did not take was not because he was a bad boy,
or a naughty boy, or a foolish boy. It did not
take because his own way of looking at things
made him sure that there was a method of getting
along on safe terms even with bees. The rule
about bees is a sound general rule. It fits the
ordinary human mind and human sense like a
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
glove. But Quentin Roosevelt's mind and sense
were larger than the rule, and he could walk
through the rule with a fair degree of safety. It
was the same with all the natural things that walk
or creep or crawl about the earth. These were
the curious and companionable things with him.
One wonders if they understood him as well as
he understood them. It is a fair assumption that
many of them did. Harm might easily have
come to him if^they had not. This boy's look at
them was different from the look of the usual boy,
and upon some mysterious foundation of a com-
mon understanding they also knew it. It was his
way with them, and his way was not the usual
way or the conventional way. It was his own
way original, self-confident, and as honest as
unclothed truth herself.
"That Quentin Roosevelt took to navigating
the clouds was nothing more than a normal un-
folding and growth of his singular nature. There
is nothing stranger or more unlikely in human
history than that man should be able to fly
through the air, and yet he is now doing this every
day. The originating mind takes to this sort of
thing naturally it is exactly in its line. Unfor-
tunately many of these minds are only hah* minds.
They carry so much of the usual conventional
crust that something goes wrong with them, and
sooner or later they fall smashing earthward.
We feel sure that Quentin Roosevelt was not of
this sort. It took the fierce shock of actual war
to knock him out. We do not believe that his
nerve broke or quivered for one instant. If his
body were hit, or if his machine broke, that would
be different. Smitten physically or mechanically,
he of course was helpless. The fates had it in
for him. But the mind of him went down intact,
unshaken, and, so far as was possible in that hur-
ried rush, with the calm outlook of the soul that
"It was a great waste, aside from all personal
considerations, because human minds that spon-
taneously and inevitably see things for themselves,
outside of the clamps of convention, and almost
in honest unconsciousness of such clamps, are too
infrequent not to be missed when the human life
"THE JUDGMENT OF HIS PEERS"
goes out of them. Bacon quotes one of the
fathers as saying that old men go to death, and
death comes to young men. It is so, and has
been so, all through this great war. Quentin
Roosevelt died in the bloom of his youth and
with untried powers. By nature he was made
for greater things than even the honorable death
of a righteous cause."
THERE were many verses written in memory of
Quentin, and this book would be incomplete
without a short selection from them.
A GROUP OF POEMS
(To Quentin Roosevelt}
SPRING ON LONG ISLAND
You used to think that some day you would hold
Some dear and splendid space
Of shining time to waste
Upon a spring-decked highway's beaten gold;
Hearing birds sing, and mute and marveling
Stoop to a harebell's grace
Free of wind-voices and their breathless urge,
To see a green vine fling
Its brave young sinews upward to the eaves;
Or watch brown brothers soar, and dip, and merge
Dun coats with madder nests among the leaves.
And there would be deep noons, and shares of bread,
And water from a brook
Where you could bend and look
Down, at gay clouds that shimmered overhead;
And from a pool would come the whispering
Of blue flags in a nook . . .
The stream would quaver like an ancient crone
(Hid in its bubbling spring)
Weaving her magic in the sparkling air
The feet of water-dancers on the stone
Or brook-nymphs laughing through their dripping
hair . . .
That road would wind like ribbon in the gleam
Of a white moon hung high
Out of your wing-won sky
And you a mote upon a silver seam
While hedgerow blossoms made a bordering
Of moon-lace frilling by.
And a bird's voice, like a violin,
Poignant, would lift and sing
Haunted by 'cello warblings of its mate;
There would be night scents, sweet and sharp and
Binding you wordless to that song elate . . .
"NEVER BEFORE HAVE THE VIOLETS BLOWN"
Never before have the violets blown
Purple as exquisite;
Seeing they borrow it
From a wide sky his pinions have torn;
Yet must they stand all mute, unquestioning
Where glad green Joy is writ
Knowing they fold a sleeper who forgets
Against warm pulses of dear violets
His part in vaunt and bacchanal of Spring.
Never before have the poppies flared
Scarlet as radiant;
A pomp as triumphant
Fire from the stars his wings have dared;
Nor may they glow with brave insouciance
And yet no Vision grant
Knowing their share in valor . . . they unfold
Their silken banners for heroic mold
Then* crimson badges for the breast of France.
Never before have the wind- voices breathed
In their dim whisperings
Echoes of wings. . . .
Faint from far zones where suns hang unsheathed;
Nor shall they tell but half; adventuresome
For further journeyings
Knowing him wind's-brother-earth defying,
Gaunt winged, they call him to the flying
Shouting of star-trails and a sapphire dome . > .
THE DARK LEAVES
Oh, Voyager, who swept the blazing golf*
Of wheeling planets in immensity:
Whose wing-beats cleft the silences that hold
Their echo yet, in stark serenity:
For you, oh Wreathed ! let an altar's light
Flame holily, above the largess heaped
New corn and grapes that sudden in a night
Were reaped. . . .
Glad one ! the shining gifts you offered up ...
Youth's corn in silk, and Youth's longevity:
The sparkling vintage of Youth's brimming cup
Youth's broken sword to spell divinity:
The hushing of Youth's laughter, peal on peal
The dreams of Youth that garlanded the days
The wings Youth clapped upon a sandal's heel
The cymbaled measure of Youth's choric ways.
Trailer of stars, a gleaner in the dusk
Lifts the Dark Leaves from red austerity:
Gathers your Arum lilies from the husk
Of trampled wrack; your lyric purity
The chaunts you sang to baffle cold and tire
(Reckon them priceless since Youth's pipe is mute)
The still warm ashes of your sacred fire
The glowing round of your scarce bitten fruit.
Strange, you should lie a sleeper in high noon . . .
Clothing yourself in wreathed dignity?
Your hablimental trappings folded: soon
Poppies will trumpt with scarlet clarity:
(Witness this plumage . . . these, his wings-
Reckon the giving by the dreamless eyes . . .
Are these not meet for altar-gifts these things?
Seeing the Dark Leaves speak him Heavenwise . . .)
There are no palm trees
Along the way
Their plumage against the blue.
The clean voices of the winds,
And the footsteps of Youth,
Call to him
In comradeship from the wide
Echo with crisp brittle resonance
Against the frozen rime
Of the sweep,
Where frosted bitter-sweet scatters
But at night
A slim young shallop moon sails
Upon his old courses.
Pushes a silver prow through
The lapping gauzes of morning.
Hailing the veiled houses
Of stars . . .
Nebulous, hushed, and unanswering.
Spring will come greenly,
With lush grasses,
And violets stand in little groups
By the wayside
Gazing up at you
Out of their deep eyes as if to say
"He is yonder
Where we are bluest ! "
Only in the spring time is one directed
By small pages in purple smocks.
The field armies in France
In serried ranks to
The colors !
Scarlet shoulder to scarlet shoulder.
The Avenue Quentin's poppy-guards
Blazon you on with
The answer of Youth
To Youth !-
(Glad youth with his laughter
And daring !)
Of one road to another
Of a slim shallop moon's far sailing.
May reckon the strange ports she touches?
Of her track through the cloud rifts
Through the lapping gauzes
Of morning. . . . Speaking shut houses
Of stars ...
For in July
The gleaming zeniths of space
Uncharted worlds to the colors !
Flaming planet to flaming planet,
An Avenue Quentin's meteor-hosts
Blazon you on
With chivalry !
LELIA MILLER PBABCE.
YOUNG ROOSEVELT IS DEAD
Young Roosevelt is dead and I, whose son
Is just a little boy, too young to go,
Read with bewildered eyes the tales recalled
Of pranks the little White House boy had played !
Just such things as my own does every day
With bugs and beetles, teasing with his snake,
Or startling all about him with his bees
Exasperating tricks that win our souls !
Just such things none could think of but a boy.
From blurring page I turn to touch my own,
For somehow he, too, died in that far fall
Of one who typed America's "small boy."
From blurring page I turn to touch my own
To lift his face unto the lustrous stars
That symbolize the glory of a world
And once more dedicate my country's son.
From blurring page a sterner nation turns
Because he typed the millions she has borne
Within her fertile womb since long ago
She mated with the freedom of the world.
From blurring page graybeards with palsied hands
May dream again of wondrous youth that flings
All life into a single burning flame
And lives its future in a moment's deed.
Men who, perhaps, have lost the zest for life
May find it in a boy's keen zest for death,
When young life found it sweet to fight and die
If only Liberty in peace might live.
ELEANOR COCHRAN REED, in The Times,
THE STAR OF GOLD
Quentin Roosevelt, France, July 14, 1918
With the American Army on the Vesle, Wednesday, August 7 (hv
A. P.). On a wooden cross at the head of a grave at the edge of a
wood at Chamery, east of Fere-en-Tardenois, is this inscription :
"Lieutenant Quentin Roosevelt, buried by the Germans."
A Viking of the air was he
Who sailed his fragile plane
Through vast uncharted spaces blue,
As Norsemen sailed the main.
He met the foeman and he fought
Unflinching in the sky,
And died as his brave sire would wish
A soldier-son to die.
The Prussian airmen wrought his grave
And laid him down to rest,
His shroud the leather tunic wrapped
About his gallant breast.
The guns a thunderous requiem
All day above him sound,
America in spirit mourns
Beside his lonely mound.
When twilight over No Man's Land
A veil of purple weaves,
An escadrille of stars appears
rom the original cartoon by John T. McCutoneon, presented to Colonel Roosevelt
Above the hangar's eaves
With one that speeds on wings of light
In ether fast and far;
The Allied aviators say
'Tis Quentin Roosevelt's star.
THE TOWN CALLED AFTER HIM
The town of Bismarck, Pa., has changed its name
to Quentin. Vide Newspapers.
Quentin, young Quentin Roosevelt
Has a town called after him !
Some way, as we read the word
It makes the eyes grow dim.
How brave they were, how young they were !
Our boys who went to die !
Children who played in field and street
So short a time gone by.
Now reach the stature of the stars !
Ah, none of us can say
How many Heavenly places
Are named for such as they.
But romping children here, through years
Secured from horrors grim,
Will speak the name of Quentin
In the town called after him.
MARY STEWART CUTTING.
TO QUENTIN ROOSEVELT
They sounded taps, young soldier of the free,
And heaped memorial flowers above your breast,
In France across the North Atlantic sea,
Where you are lying quietly at rest.
On soil in bondage to your mortal foe
You fell. Foes laid you in a soldier's grave !
Today above you Yankee bugles blow
French tears, French flowers, rain upon the brave.
We'd laughed at all your pranks and boyish wit
And scarce could think you grown to man's estate;
The shot that brought you down, the nation hit;
O'er all the land hearts leaped with grief and hate.
But you ! 'twas thus, brave heart, you'd choose to go ;
If come death must, you'd have him ride a cloud;
And when you went, 'twas gaily, that I know,
As well befits the gallant and the proud.
Above your breast the Yankee bugles blow;
French hands are twining wreaths across the sea;
And somewhere your brave heart is joyed to know
That all about your grave French soil is free.
HABRY D. THOMPSON.
A MONSIEUR LE PRESIDENT THEODORE
HOMMAGE DB RESPECTUEUSE ADMIRATION D'UNH
AL8ACIENNE DE FRANCE
Ne pleurez pas 1'oiseau qui s'est brise les ailes
Dans le rude combat des saintes libertes,
Dans 1'enthousiasme fier des amities fideles,
Des serments renoues de nos fraternites.
Notre sol que son sang a rougi dans sa chute
Nous en est plus sacre, plus cher peut-etre encore,
Et nous avons senti, mieux, a cette minute
Se resserrer nos liens par le don de sa mort.
Ne pleurez pas 1'oiseau fauche par la mitraille
Dans 1'essor radieux d'un rve eblouissant,
Qui, tout vibrant encore de Fardente bataille,
A pris vers Finfini libre son vol puissant.
Votre fils est tombe dans une juste guerre,
Gombattant vaillamment un inf&me oppresseur,
Dans 1'heroique elan du sacrifice austere,
De son pur ideal sublime defenseur.
II est des morts pour qui le regret est roffense,
Ne pleurez pas celui qui fit tout son devoir.
Que votre deuil soit fait de fierte, d'esperance,
Levez plus haut le front, les yeux pour mieux le voir.
Car c'est lui, maintenant, le vrai chef de famille,
Toute sa jeune gloire a rejailli sur vous;
Votre nom, c'est le sien qui sur vos tetes brille,
Etoile au clair eclat, resplendissant et doux.
A votre coeur, pourtant, la blessure est saignante,
Plus grand le vide, helas, laisse par le depart,
Obstinement, partout, une tombe vous haute,
Que par dessus la mer cherche votre regard.
Dans un sol envahi quelques jours prisonniere,
La voici libre enfin des ennemis chasses,
Et nos drapeaux, baignes dans sa sainte lumiere,
Comme un meme drapeau s'y tiendront enlaces.
Elle sera fleurie avec des fleurs de France,
Fleurs de notre pays meurtri, mais delivre,
Heureuses de Jeter, cri de reconnaissance,
Leur beaute, leurs parfums, sur ce terre sacre.
Et notre ame fervente y veille tout entiere,
Car nous gardons, au fond du coeur, fidelement,
Dans notre souvenir plein de recueillement,
Parmi nos plus chers morts, une place tres chere
Au mort que vous aimez, votre fils, notre frere.
CHARLOTTE SCHNEEGANS, 14 septembre 1918.
ON THE SCREEN
Within the darkened playhouse as I sat
Sunk in a mood of heavy discontent
Because existence was so difficult:
The things undone the money I had spent
And other little, petty, tiresome cares
Weighed on my mind, until I scarce would glance
At all the moving scenes before my eyes,
When suddenly I looked and there was France:
France ! With her scarred and desolated fields,
Sad wastes, yet piteous poppies blossomed there
And row on rows of the unnumbered dead
And crosses, crosses, crosses everywhere
And at the last, one solitary cross
Apart, aloof from earthly vanity
And on the cross stood Quentin Roosevelt's name:
Rare sacrifice to crass humanity !
Then did I count myself as nothing worth
And all my little cares so poor and mean
It must have been a Great Photographer
Who let me see myself upon the screen !
"Loose me from fear and make me see aright
How each has back what once he stayed to weep
Homer his sight, David his little lad."
He will not come, the gallant flying boy,
Back to his field. Somewhere he wings his way
Where the Immortals keep; where Homer now
Has back his sight, David his little lad;
Where all those are we dully call the dead,
Who have gone greatly on some shining quest,
He takes his way. That which he quested for,
That larger freedom of a larger birth,
Captains him, flying into fields of dawn.
He has gone on where now the soldier-slain
Arise in light. Somewhere he takes his place
And leads his comrades in untrodden fields.
For never can these rest until our earth
Has ceased from travail never can these take
Their fill of sleep until the Scourge is slain.
And so they keep them sometimes near old ways
In the accustomed fields now flying low,
Invisible, they cheer the gallant host,
Bidding them be, as they, invincible.
Still he leads on, the gallant flying boy !
Among the "great good Dead" he steers his boundless
Now where the soldier-poets pass in light
Where Brooke and Seeger and the others keep
The singing Slain, the peerless fighting Dead
He takes his brilliant way; or where those lately come
Our flying Great, Mitchel and all his men,
Wait him in large, warm-hearted welcoming.
He will come never back ! But we who watched
Him take the upper air and steer his boundless path
Firmly against the foe, we know that here
Death could not penetrate. Life only is
Where all is life, and so, before us, keeps
Always the vision of his faring on
To unpathed fields where his great comrades wait,
And, joyful, take him for their captaining
The brave Adventurer,
The gallant flying Boy !
[ 281 J
Lord Dunsany, in a letter, said: "I was told
once before, quite recently, that Captain Quen-
tin Roosevelt had one of my books with him,
even sometimes up in the air. It was a touching
thing for an author to hear. I don't know what
return I can make for that, but I would like to
offer the enclosed sonnet to you."
A DIRGE OF VICTORY
Lift not thy trumpet, Victory, to the sky,
Nor through battalions, nor by batteries blow,
But over hollows full of old wire go
Where among dregs of war the long-dead lie
With wasted iron that the guns passed by
When they went eastwards like a tide at flow:
There blow thy trumpet that the dead may know
Who waited for thy coming, Victory.
It is not we that have deserved thy wreath:
They waited there among the towering weeds:
The deep mud burned under the thermites' breath
And winter cracked the bones that no man heeds:
Hundreds of nights flamed by: the seasons passed.
And thou hast come to them at last, at last.
Captain Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
A 000 658 598 8
from which It wa borrowed
JUl 2 A 2001
2 WEEK LOA