Lot 1063

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Good collection of relics, publications and photo albums, all related to the World War I service of the 89th Aero Squadron. The relics present include: identification disk, approx. 1 1/2" dia., bearing the inscription "James T. Boggs Sgt. 89th Aero Sqdn USA on one side", and "R.M.S.U.S. 1913-1917 Air Service 22201" on the reverse, with a second cancelled serial number "22128"; rectangular dark blue wool unit patch, depicting the embroidered numeral "89" over a four-bladed propeller in white thread; brown leather flying cap lined with woven taupe wool, bearing a cloth label within identifying the manufacturer as "The Destroopers Raincoat Co." of London, Brussels, Ostend and Antwerp, showing some damage to the end of the chinstrap and moderate wear overall; pair of 1" dia. screw-back U.S. Air Service buttons, each depicting a winged two-bladed propeller; and a shell style U.S. eagle hat badge with split-pin attachment. Also present with the group are two photo albums, together containing approx. 157 b/w photos, assembled by squadron member Charles M. Rost. The photos depict the squadron in training in the U.S., their deployment to France, and their demobilization at war''s end, with many additional shots of Rost''s post-war U.S. Army service in Hawaii and elsewhere. Several images show the squadron in transit aboard various ships, and approx. 30 photos depict combat aircraft of the period. These include an Italian Caproni bomber, a French Caudron, British Sopwith Camels (labeled "Capable of Anything"), British-operated Nieuport fighters, Avro fighters various American fighters and more. Another interesting scene shows a captured German A7V tank on display in Paris, while another, labeled "First attempt at Night Flying, shows a crumpled American biplane nose-down in a field. Both albums are disbound, else very good. The collection is rounded out by a period 89th Squadron commemorative publication, the "Zoomer" (Council Bluffs, Iowa: The Monarch Printing Co.), [1919], 100pp. oblong 4to., self-published by members of the squadron and featuring photos and short biographies of each officer and enlisted member of the unit. The book features numerous photographs, cartoons and written pieces submitted by squadron members, mostly humorous in nature, with much griping about the lack of action seen by the squadron in France. Much of the text block is loose from the binding, else very good. All of the above pieces are housed in an obviously period, handmade wooden chest, 14 1/2" x 10 3/4" x 4 1/2", painted green overall, with the lid bearing a painted American eagle with the squadron number "89" within a shield on its chest, and with its operational dates " August 17, 1917" to "April 3, 1919" below. The edges of the lid further bear the painted names of the squadron''s officers, while the inside of the lid shows the painted title "Zoomer" and lists fifteen notable locations visited during their service, including Kelly Field in Texas, Liverpool, Le Havre, St. Nazaire, the aerodrome at Colombey-les-Belles, and several transport ships. The sides of the chest are painted with the names of each member of the squadron in white. The lid is secured with a padlock, with rope handles on each side and an interior lining which appears to have been fashioned from a grey wool army blanket. The chest shows some scuffs and cracking to the paint, else very good. Although deployed to France in November of 1917, it was never sent to the front lines, and never saw action against Germany. Nevertheless, this comprehensive collection remains a thorough and detailed chronicle of the unit.

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April 18, 2018 10:00 AM EDT
Chesapeake City, MD, US

Alexander Historical Auctions LLC

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