Bob left his home in Michigan City, Indiana, at the age of 16 to enlist in the Army Air Service. His work for the Army was varied in nature involving much mechanical and basic engine work. In about 1921 he was admitted to flying school and emerged as an Army Flying Service pilot. This was in 1922, too late for combat in WWI; however, his flying career which began in Jennys extended to many different types of aircraft. Throughout this period he found time to carefully maintain the photo album on which these pages are based.
His love for flying continued into the years following his honorable discharge and, as WW II reared its head, he became very active in the developing Civil Air Patrol, gaining the rank of lieutenant. During those years he had part ownership in a Piper Cub for which his wife, a good seamstress, had the opportunity to sew up the re-covering materials, making good use of the livingroom floor. Bob died in Michigan City, Indiana, in 1982 at the age of 79.
Many of the photos which follow are originals taken by Bob or his friends. Others appear to be Army photographs; however, all are black and white prints many of which have turned sepia or yellowish with time. Some I have left unchanged and others I have changed to gray scale prints which appear in black and white. All annotations and identifications are by Bob and appear in the album pages. I contemplate selling this collection on disk; however, it is not in that stage yet.
Quite obviously many of the crashes involved fatalities but this is not always made clear. Even though parachutes came into use near the end of WW I they were still a very uncertain way of descending from a stricken airplane. Also obvious is the fact that many of the crashes occurred on or near the aerodrome and were probably related to takeoffs and landings as well as low altitude spins. These brave men who lost their lives in this fashion were the forerunners of the brave men of today who launch from carrier decks or hurtle off into space.
You may click on any of the following thumbnail photos to see larger ones. They do not all result in uniform size as I decided to show certain photos larger than others. Also, the software used (which was downloaded from a source in Sweden) only allows control of the thumbnail width.
Thumbnails on this page made with a freeware program.
Copyright © 2008 Arthur B. Wiggins