Scope and Contents
Henry Augustus Batchelor III, American from Saginaw, Michigan. Served briefly with the Lafayette Flying Corps in France from August 1917-March 1918. Was then transferred to the United States Air Service, serving as Chief Pilot and instructor at Moutchic-Lacanau from March 1918 to Armistice. He also served in the American Amublance Corps in France and, immediately after the war, in the service of the American Red Cross in the Balkans. Included in Batchelor's archive is correspondence to his mother (Mrs. Gertrude B. Batchelor), from Simone Lahovary (neice and lady-in-waiting to Marie, the Queen of Romania); flight logs, medals, enlistment documents, pilot's licenses, a clock from his Sopwith Camel, and over 600 snapshots and photographs documenting the time period between 1916-1920s.
Use and Copyright
This material is owned by the University of Tulsa, McFarlin Library, Department of Special Collections. Unpublished manuscripts are under copyright. Therefore, permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from both the repository and the copyright holder.
Biographical / Historical
Henry graduated from Elstow School of Officers Training Corps in August of 1914. He continued on to Brown University until October 1916, his is junior year, when he was accepted to the Section No. 2 of the American Ambulance Field Service in France. He became an ambulance driver and moved with the front to Macedonia, where the French were preparing a plan to clear the Austrians from their current position.
In July of 1917 he enlisted in the French Aviation School and joined the Groupe de Combat 12 at Dijon, also known as the famous “Cigogne” (“Stork”) squadron of the Lafayette Flying Corps, at Dijon. He was part of the Escadrille (Squadron) N103. He served in this squadron until January 20, 1918 when he was wounded in combat commanding the SPAD VII. He crashed into a stone wall when attempting to land and barely escaped death. He survived with a severe cut about his right eye and bruising. Surgery on his eye saved his sight, however, the French decided his eyes were no longer good enough to continue in their service. In November, he received a commemorative ribbon to recognize his service in the Lafayette Flying Corps.
In March of 1918, Henry enrolled and was accepted as a provisional rank of Ensign in the US Naval Reserve Flying Corp (USNRF), Class 5. He was ordered to a training station in Moutchic, France where he eventually made chief pilot. In November he was given provisional rank and grade of Lieutenant, Junior Grade. He received his release after the armistice from the USNRF in January of 1919.
He then traveled to Brest, France to join the American Red Cross Commission (ARCC) as an aide to assist in the post-war relief in the Balkans. He left in January and became the chief liaison officer between the Balkan government and the ARCC. He traveled from Bucharest, Roumania, to Belgrade, Serbia, and from there throughout Serbia, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, and Bulgaria. He was made “Chevalier of the Star of Romania” for his suggestion of an aeroplane courier system to reach dominant areas in the Balkans to assist with the continuous collapse of telegraphic and mail communications after the armistice. He remained in the Balkans until September of 1919.