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Walcott Benjamin Stuart

Benjamin Stuart Walcott
First Lieutenant
Serial Number:
Attached French Air Service
Date of Death:
District of Columbia
Lafayette Escadrille Memorial, Marnes la Coq
French Croix de Guerre

Benjamin Stuart Walcott was born on June 2, 1896 in Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia. In the Spring of 1917 as part of the Class of 1917, Benjamin Stuart Walcott was anxious to contribute to the war effort and he departed Princeton University to join the U.S. Signal Corps. In April of that year he entered the U.S. Army and began flight training at Newport News, Virginia. He resigned from the Army in May and departed for France on the S.S. Chicago intending to join the Lafayette Flying Corps, the American volunteer pilots who served France before the USA entered the war. He joined France's Service Aeronautique on June 3, 1917.

Walcott underwent French aviation, aerobatic, and gunnery training at Avord, Pau, and the G.D.E. Because of his excellent piloting skills, he earned his brevet six weeks ahead of his classmates on September 6, 1917 and then graduated from the training pipeline on October 27, 1917. He was assigned to Escadrille SPA 84 to serve at the Front.

On December 12, 1917 Walcott flew his first combat patrol. Over the Champagne sector, he engaged a German bi-place aircraft over enemy lines and succeeded in shooting it down. As he headed back for friendly territory, he was jumped by three enemy Albatross scouts and was shot down and killed near Saint Souplet. Initially buried by German troops at Leffincourt, his remains were moved to the Lafayette Flying corps Memorial just West of Paris in 1928. Having passed his entrance exams to transfer to American Aviation, his commission as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army arrived after his death. He was posthumously awarded the French Croix de Guerre with Palm as well as the Medaille Militaire.

Benjamin is now buried in the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial in France. He also has a cenotaph located in Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia.

Source of information: "The Lafayette Flying Corps: The American Volunteers in the French Air Service in World War One," by Dennis Gordon. Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA: 2000