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Russel William Muir

William Muir Russel
First Lieutenant
Serial Number:
95th Aero Squadron 1st Pursuit Group
Date of Death:
Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Michigan

Born 4 Dec 1893. Son of Henry and Helen M. Russel. Cornell graduate. Enlisted 26 April 1917. Shot down in aerial combat on 11 August 1918. From an AP News Article (Oct, 21, 2018):William Russel was assigned to the 95th Aero Squadron, First Pursuit Group of the American Air Service. According to “A Happy Warrior,” on the morning of Aug. 11, 1918, Russel was piloting a Spad XIII plane as a rear guard of a 13-plane patrol. It was a month after Quentin Roosevelt, son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, had been killed in aerial combat. Russel was cut off by a German patrol that “ came out of the sun upon him.” His companions rushed to his defense, but he got separated in the dogfight, “and they never saw him again.” Accounts describe how Russel had just performed a tricky double “renverse” maneuver but was hit, and “very soon the plane, as if without control, glided and crashed to the earth.” Locals pulled Russel’s body out of the wreckage, dug a grave and buried him in the Courville cemetery. They put up a cross, and someone wrote on it the particulars: Russel’s name and this distinction: “Aviateur Americain.” After the war, in 1920, Henry Russel left Detroit to get his son’s remains and bury them on American soil, near his mother and brother. But the elder Russel didn’t make it across the Atlantic. He died of pneumonia. In his will, he left something for the people of Courville: $10,000.