Photos

 

The photos presented here represent a sampling of imagery from the life and times of the First Yale Unit. Pictured are prominent leaders who peopled their world and those less well known who played a significant role in their story. The collection charts a journey from youthful idealism to the harsh reality of mechanized warfare that engulfed the world from 1914 to 1918.

 

 

 

 

LUMINARIES

Glen Curtiss
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-USZ62-36757
 

 

John Porte and Glen Curtiss
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-ggbain-15686
Aviation pioneer Glen Curtiss was a prolific designer of early aeroplanes and "flying boats." Curtiss aircraft were flown by the Unit from their earliest training through their service during the war. Curtiss was also a guest speaker at the Yale Aero Club.
 
Col. John Porte (pictured here with Glen Curtiss) Developed the massive 15 ton triplane named the "Porte Baby" at Felixtowe, England where Unit members Vorys and Sturtevant flew in the "Spider Web" patrols.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Edison
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-det-4a25922
 
 
Henry Davison
 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-hec-01992
Famed inventor Thomas A. Edison worked with Commander Erl Gould at Key West NAS to develop cloaking paint schemes and listening devices for naval aircraft.
 

Henry Pomeroy Davison standing in front of the J.P. Morgan offices in New York. Once Davison decided to support his son Trubee's efforts to form a coast patrol unit, resources were quickly put into place to fund it's operations.

 

H.P. Davison
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-hec-08514
  
H.P. Davison
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-25436
President Wilson called on H.P. Davison to chair the Red Cross War Council. In less than 18 months, Davison succeeded in raising over $400 million for the effort.

 

 
H.P. Davison participates in a New York City parade as part of the fundraising drive for the Red Cross.

 

 

 

J.P. Morgan Jr.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-hec-12248
 
 J.P. Morgan With Robert Bacon
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-00552
Following his father J.P. Morgan's death in 1913, John Pierpont "Jack" Morgan, Jr. took the reins of the famous banking firm. Unit members Albert Ditman and Wells-Laud Brown were employees of Morgan's firm prior to joining the Unit.
 
J.P. Morgan shown here walking with Robert Bacon. Bacon, an early supporter of the Lafayette Esqadrille, introduced Trubee Davison to the world of aviation when Trubee travelled to France to drive for The American Amublance service in 1915.
Red Cross Fundraising Event
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-hec-12505
  
Former President Theodore Roosevelt
 Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-G432-1561; 1916 Sept. 8
A Red Cross fundraising event was graced with the presence of former President Taft (center) and H.P. Davison (far right).
 
Former President Theodore Roosevelt visited Trubee Davison in the hospital following his crippling crash while testing for his Navy wings. Roosevelt's son, Quentin, considered joining the Unit and visited them during training at Port Washington.

 

President Woodrow Wilson
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division   
      LC-DIG-npcc-32835
  
Former President William Taft
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-DIG-hec-06752 
President Woodrow Wilson, pictured here, had been re-elected in 1916 with the slogan "He kept us out of war," but by April, 1917 the U.S. had joined "The War To End All Wars."
 
Former President William Howard Taft visited his son Charlie at Yale and watched him practice football with teammates John Vorys and Di Gates. Vorys’ father, A.I. Vorys had served as a campaign manager in Taft's successful election campaign of 1908.

YALE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Yale 8" Crew
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-USZ62-83686
  
John Vorys
Courtesy Vorys Archive
Future Unit members William A. Rockefeller (far left), Reg Coombe (second from right) and George Lawrence (far right), were on the freshman "Yale 8" crew in 1915. Click to enlarge.
 
John Vorys (on right) was a prize winning orator with the Yale debate team. Following a speech during a debate at Harvard, Vorys returned to his seat to find a telegram from Bob Lovett telling him to make haste to New London to join the United States Naval Reserve.
 
Former Unit Members
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-USZ62-95947
 

The Yale Varsity crew of 1915 led by captain Albert D. Sturtevant (fifth from left). This crew beat hated rival Harvard in "the race"  by 5 boat lengths that year. Click to enlarge.
 

 

 

 

Yale Vs. Harvard
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
LC-USZ62-123503

A panoramic shot of the Yale vs. Harvard crew race circa 1905. Yachts line the Thames as a spectator packed train slowly follows the race on the far bank. It was at the Yale crew boat house where Trubee Davison was serving as manager that he first approached his friends about forming an aviation unit.

WASHINGTON D.C.

Josephus Daniels

Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org

  
Josephus Daniels
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-hec-03880
Secretary of The Navy, Josephus Daniels sits at his desk. Initial offers of service by Trubee Davison and the Unit were rebuffed by Daniels.
 
Josephus Daniels walking in Washington, D.C.
 
John Towers
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-28719
  
Naval Aviator No. 3, John H. Towers recommended to Trubee Davison that the Unit join the Naval Reserve and helped pave the way for the Unit's integration into the Navy.
 

 

PEACOCK POINT / PORT WASHINGTON

 
Erl Gould, Trubee Davison & John Farwell
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-22296

 

 

From left to right, Alphy Ames, John Vorys, Bob Lovett, Trubee Davison, Di Gates, Erl Gould.
Courtesy Daniel Davison
At the Port Washington hanger in 1916  pictured in foreground from left to right, Erl Gould, Trubee Davison and John Farwell.
 
From left to right, Alphy Ames, John Vorys, Bob Lovett, Trubee Davison, Di Gates, Erl Gould. Click to enlarge.
 
Telegram
Courtesy Vorys Archive
 
airfield at Mineola, New York
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-25521
The telegram sent to John Vorys from Trubee Davison suggesting he join the coast patrol unit. Vorys was recovering from a tonsilectomy at Grant Hospital in Columbus at the time.
 
The airfield at Mineola which was investigated and rejected by Bob Lovett as a possible early training location for the Unit. Months later, the Unit challenged Army Aviators, stationed here, to a game of baseball that was put on as a charity event for the Red Cross.
 
floating hanger of the Trans-Oceanic Company
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-22297
 
Albert D. Sturtevant
Courtesy Phillips Academy Archive
The small floating hanger of the Trans-Oceanic Company served as the first training base for the Unit in the summer of 1916.
 
Many Unit members attended elite prep schools prior to entering Yale. Albert D. Sturtevant attended the Phillips Academy at Andover.
 
Group Of Swimmers
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  
Original Unit Members
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-22298
A group of swimmers including Harry Davison (far left), John Farwell (second from left) and Di Gates (second from right) relax on the lawn at Peacock Point.
 

The original First Yale Unit members pictured at Port Washington in 1916. Back row left to right; Bob Lovett, Instructor Dave McCullogh, Al Sturtevant. Front row, left to right; Di Gates, Erl Gould, Trubee Davison, John Vorys, John Farwell, Allan Ames. Not pictured from the original group of 12; Henry P. Davison, Jr., Albert Ditman, Jr., Wellesly Laud-Brown and Charles Wiman. Click to enlarge.

 

NEW YORK CITY

 
J.P. Morgan's Firm in NY
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-17721
  
The marble edifice of the J. P. Morgan office building.
  
PALM BEACH
 
Original Yale Unit Group
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  
Dining Room At Breakers
Courtesy The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida

Original Yale Unit goup of 1916 pictured at Palm Beach. Top row left to right, John Vorys, Di Gates, Albert Ditman, Alphy Ames, Instructor David McCullogh, Trubee Davison, Bob Lovett, Erl Gould. Bottom row, left to right; Wells-Laud Brown, Ella, Harry Davison. Click to enlarge.

 

 
The dining room at The Breakers in Palm Beach, the first residence of "The Millionaires' Unit," as they were dubbed by the press, upon arrival in Florida.
 
David McCullogh
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  
Reg Coombe
Courtesy Vorys Archive
Instructor David McCullogh insisted that the young aviators master all aspects of their aircraft. Here Unit members work on an  engine on the test stand.
 
Reg Coombe (standing on boardwalk) and an unidentified Unit member at Palm Beach.
Crew on Seawall
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  
Crew Under Tree
Courtesy Vorys Archive
Unit members take a pipe smoking break, sitting on a sea wall just north of the Trans-Oceanic air base at Palm Beach.
 
Wider view of Unit members resting on the bank of Lake Worth in Palm Beach.

 

Crew under wing
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  
Erl Gould
Courtesy Vorys Archive
From left to right; Kenney MacLeish, George Lawrence, two unidentified persons and Trubee Davison in white cap. Click to enlarge.
 
Erl Gould cranks the motor of a Curtiss OXX-3 On an F-Boat at Palm Beach
 
Di Gate's Crew at Palm Beach
Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org
  
Gate's Crew
Courtesy Vorys Archive
Di Gates' crew at Palm Beach
 
Gates's crew (left to right) included, Curt Reed, Ken Smith, Liv Ireland, Gates, Chip McIlwaine and Freddy Beach. Click to enlarge.
 
Harry, Turbee, Bob
Courtesy Vorys Archive
 
Lotta Lawrence
Courtesy David Lawrence
Harry Davison, Trubee Davison and Bob Lovett cool off at Palm Beach.
 

George "Lotta" Lawrence looks up from his work on a seaplane during Unit training at Palm Beach.

 

 
Group Photo In Palm Beach
Courtesy Daniel Davison
  
Launch Ramps
Courtesy Vorys Archive
The First Yale Unit and their support staff were mustered for this group photo in Palm Beach. Click to enlarge.
 

Looking north to the launch ramps into the waters of Lake Worth at Palm Beach.

 

 
Reg Coombe at Palm Beach
Courtesy Vorys Archive
 
Salt Air Hotel
Courtesy The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida
Reg Coombe pictured at Palm Beach
 
After a brief stay at The Breakers, Col. Thompson moved the Unit to the Salt Air Hotel in West Palm Beach where they remained for the rest of their training period in Florida.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Breakers
Courtesy The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, University of South Florida
 
 Lewis Thompson
Courtesy Vorys Archive
The posh environs of The Breakers cushioned the arrival of "The Millionaires' Unit" in Palm Beach - but they soon moved to the Salt Air Hotel which was much closer in proximity to the Trans-Oceanic seaplane facility in West Palm Beach.
 
Colonel Lewis S. Thompson was the organizational force behind the Unit during it's training in Palm Beach and Huntington.

 
Red Bugs
Courtesy Vorys Archive
  

At Palm Beach, a favorite mode of transportation were the electric powered "Red Bugs." Seated next to Trubee Davison is Unit mascot Ella. Click to enlarge.

 

 

 

HUNTINGTON

 
Cincinnati Enquirer
Courtesy Vorys Archive
 
 Aviator ID
Courtesy Erl. G. Purnell
The press kept track of the Unit's progress. Pictured here at Huntington are John Vorys, Harry Davison and Reg Coombe.
 
Once they had passed the test for their Navy wings at Huntington, Unit members were assigned and aviator number and issued their official ID, such as the one pictured here for Erl Gould.
 
Erl Gould's Gold Wings
Courtesy Erl. G. Purnell
 

 
Trubee Davison
Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org
Erl Gould's gold wings from WWI.
 
Trubee Davison pictured here in uniform prior to his flying accident stands next to his sister, Alice Davison who served with the "Girls Radio Unit" and married Di Gates following the war.
     
 
Trubee Davison
Courtesy Vorys Archive
 

George F. "Lotta" Lawarence
Courtesy David Lawrence 

 

 

Trubee Davison pictured in uniform prior to his flying accident.
 

George F. "Lotta" Lawrence.

 

Kenneth MacLeish
Courtesy Roger I. Sheeley & Lawrence D. Sheely

 
Archibald "Chip" McIlwaine
Courtesy Ken Spooner

Kenneth MacLeish.

 

Archibald "Chip" McIlwaine.

WAR FRONT - EUROPE

 
David Hanrahan
Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org
 
 
DH-4 Aircraft
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
Captain David C. Hanrahan, Commander of the Northern Bombing Group oversaw the work of Bob Lovett and Eddie McDonnell who formulated the development of the NBG.
 
Kenny MacLeish and Frank Lynch flew DH-4 aircraft from Eastleigh, England (pictured here) for combat on the continent.
 
Base at Eastleigh
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Bombing
Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org
The base at Eastleigh, England where Kenney MacLeish served as First Flight Officer.
 

The result of German bombing and artillery fire on a French village.

 

 
Seaplane Crash
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 Lewis Gun
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
Seaplane crash at Killingholme, England.
 
An enlisted man takes aim with a Lewis gun at Killingholme, England.
 
Killingholme NAS, England
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Le Crosic NAS, France
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

Officers and men at Killingholme NAS, England. Unit members Lawrence, Rockefeller and Lynch all served at Killingholme.

 

 
Unit members Smith, Landon, Coombe and Walker all served at Le Crosic NAS, France.
 
Barracks at Moutchic
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Flying Boat
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
The barracks at Moutchic. Unit members MacLeish, McIlwaine, Beach, Landon, Curt & Bartow Reed all served here.
 

Donnet-Denhaut Flying Boat prepared for flight at Moutchic, France.

 

 
The mess hall at Moutchic, France.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Moutchic Officers Quarters. Bob Lovett served at Moutchic, where he became Chief Pilot.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
The mess hall at Moutchic, France.
 

Moutchic Officers Quarters. Bob Lovett served at Moutchic, where he became Chief Pilot.

 

 
Officers of the Northern Bombing Group.
Courtesy of the New York Public Library www.nypl.org
 
 
 
NAS Pauillac, France. Bartow Reed, Kenny MacLeish and Freddy Beach all served here.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

Officers of the Northern Bombing Group.

 

 
NAS Pauillac, France. Bartow Reed, Kenny MacLeish and Freddy Beach all served here.
 
General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expiditionary Force (AEF) in WWI.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-hec-07393
 

Bartow Reed served at NAS Porto Corsini, Italy flying the Italian Macchi 5 seaplane.

National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

General John J. Pershing, Commander of the American Expiditionary Force (AEF) in WWI.

 

 
Bartow Reed served as Chief Pilot at NAS Porto Corsini, Italy flying the Italian Macchi 5 seaplane.
This photo of a shredded Hanriot-Dupont seaplane at Dunkirk shows the results of a German attack on the air station
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
John Vorys preparing for the "War Flight." Scrawled on the back of the photo was the inscription "This picture shows the enabling and unsparing effect of the upper regions on our birdmen."
Courtesy Vorys Archive
This photo of a shredded Hanriot-Dupont seaplane at Dunkirk shows the results of a German attack on the air station.
 

John Vorys preparing for the "War Flight." Scrawled on the back of the photo was the inscription "This picture shows the enobling and unsparing effect of the upper regions on our birdmen.

 

WAR FRONT - STATE SIDE

 
Curtiss H-16
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Engines, wing units and fuselage await assembly at the Naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
Curtiss H-16 aircraft under construction at the Naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia.
 

Engines, wing units and fuselage await assembly at the Naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia.

 

 
Erl Gould sent this postcard home to his mother from Cuba where he had recently arrived after completing the first flight from the mainland to the Caribbean isle.
Courtesy Erl G. Purnell
 
 
Erl Gould pictured in full uniform.
Courtesy Erl G. Purnell

Erl Gould sent this postcard home to his mother from Cuba where he had recently arrived after completing the first flight from the mainland to the Caribbean isle.

 

 
Erl Gould pictured in full uniform.
 
Naval personnel prepare for experimental flight at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Several unit members served at "The Roads" during WWI.
 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
Officers at Hampton Roads including Unit members Liv Ireland (standing forth from left) and John Vorys (standing fifth from left). Seated in the front row second from left is Ganson Depew, leader of the Second Yale Unit and to his right P.N.L. Bellinger.
Courtesy Vorys Archive
Naval personnel prepare for experimental flight at Hampton Roads, Virginia. Several unit members served at "The Roads" during WWI.
 

Officers at Hampton Roads including Unit members Liv Ireland (standing forth from left) and John Vorys (standing fifth from left). Seated in the front row second from left is Ganson Depew, leader of the Second Yale Unit and to his right P.N.L. Bellinger. Click to enlarge.

 

 
F-Boat in test flight as an air ambulance from Key West NAS.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD
 
 
An H-12 at Pensacola, Florida. Rockefeller trained in night bombing here and John Farwell served as a squadron commander.
National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

F-Boat in test flight as an air ambulance from Key West NAS.

 

 
An H-12 at Pensacola, Florida. Rockefeller trained in night bombing here and John Farwell served as a squadron commander.
The British designed Handley-Page bomber was used extensively in Europe during the war. Seen here is the first U.S. manufactured Handley-Page which was called "The Langley."

 National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD

 
 
John Vorys at Hampton Roads.
Courtesy Vorys Archive

The British designed Handley-Page bomber was used extensively in Europe during the war. Seen here is the first U.S. manufactured Handley-Page which was called "The Langley."

 

 
John Vorys at Hampton Roads.

POST WAR

 
David S. Ingalls seen seated at his desk in Washington D.C.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-npcc-17238
 
 Albert D. Sturtevant's sister, Mrs. Curtis R. Smith at the 1920 chistening of "Sturtevant" the U.S.N. torpedo boat destroyer named in her honor of her brother. Al was the first American naval aviator killed in action in WWI.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-31012
David S. Ingalls seen seated at his desk in Washington D.C.
 

Albert D. Sturtevant's sister, Mrs. Curtis R. Smith at the 1920 chistening of "Sturtevant" the U.S.N. torpedo boat destroyer named in honor of her brother. Al was the first American naval aviator killed in action in WWI.

 

 
In 1926, Trubee Davison was appointed to serve as Asst. Secretary of War for Aviation by President Calvin Coolidge. Secy Davison is seen here, prepared for flight, at Bolling Field.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-npcc-16080
 
 
The U.S. torpedo boat destroyer "Sturtevant," was named for Unit member Albert D. Sturtevant; seen here at it's launch in July, 1920 at the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division LC-DIG-ggbain-31011
In 1926, Trubee Davison was appointed to serve as Asst. Secretary of War for Aviation by President Calvin Coolidge. Secy Davison is seen here (standing), prepared for flight, at Bolling Field.
 
The U.S. torpedo boat destroyer "Sturtevant," was named for Unit member Albert D. Sturtevant; seen here at it's launch in July, 1920 at the New York Shipbuilding Co., Camden, NJ.
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