The funeral of Douglas MacMonagle was at Senard on 25 September. MacMonagle alone attacked four Albatros fighters from the famed “Flying Circus” of Richthofen and was downed. His mother, a Red Cross nurse in Paris, attended the funeral.

“Soda” and “Whiskey” at Chaudun before they were sent to the zoo in Paris. Lufbery, who was Whiskey’s favorite, assumed the sad duty of taking the lion to Paris.


“Soda” and “Whiskey” surrounded by some of the pilots on the lions’ last day, 15 October 1917, with the squadron. Commandant Philippe Fequant ordered the lions removed after “Whiskey” playfully knocked him down and chewed his tunic and cap. The lions were sent to a zoo in Paris.

Following the relative quiet of St. Pol, the Escadrille saw intense action at Senard. Its primary mission was to fly patrols and escort allied bombers which were supporting the Verdun offensive.

The weather was perfect for flying and the squadron was flying three sorties a day and enduring German bombing raids at night. In all, the squadron fought 150 air battles over a six-week period.

The high activity took a heavy toll on the group. Douglas MacMonagle and Courtney Campbell were killed in action. Harold Willis was downed and taken prisoner of war, and Stephen Bigelow was seriously wounded and forced to leave the squadron. Willis Haviland and Thomas Hewitt also left the squadron.

At the end of September, the squadron was sent back to Chaudun where it had served during June and July. Its mission was to support the Malmaison offensive.

Lt. Thaw took command of the squadron when Captain Thenault took ill.

The offensive was launched on 10 October and on that day, Lufbery downed six German aircraft, a squadron record.
November was marked by foul weather which curtailed the squadron’s air activity.

During this time, Masson, Didier, Lovell, and Johnson left the squadron. The two lion mascots “Whiskey” and “Soda” were sent to a Paris zoo where they lived out their days.

James Hall returned to the group, and Christopher Ford joined it. Ford would be the last American volunteer.


The dashing Sergent Andrew Courtney Campbell was an Errol Flynn look-alike. One of the most daring of squadron pilots, he usually wore a set of ladies pink garters on his shirtsleeves, a memento of a past romance. On 1 October, over Chemin-des-Dames, he was shot down by a German reconnaissance plane; he had misplaced the garters and took off without his talismans.


The Escadrille’s SPADs in a Hangar at Senard. Note the swastika on the fuselage as a good luck sign. The “T” on the fuselage of the plane on the left indicates that it is Thaw’s SPAD. The pilots often painted their initials on the planes.


The Final Days
With the United States’ entry into the conflict in April 1917, the American military moved to absorb the Americans flying in the Service Aeronautique into the Army Air Service. At this time, over a hundred Americans were flying in various French squadrons beside the 14 in the Lafayette Escadrille.

In the summer of 1917, an invitation to join the American unit was sent to these airmen. However, bureaucratic confusion in the French War Ministry, and subsequent mismanagement by American officials seriously delayed the process. Around Christmas, the members of the Escadrille were formally discharged from French service, but their commissions in the American service had not arrived.

On 7 January 1918, the Americans entered American service and Lufbery was commissioned a major and made commander of the American 95th Pursuit Squadron. Bill Thaw also was made a major and given command of the 103 Pursuit Squadron.
Only one American, Ted Parsons, remained in French service and he flew with the famed SPA.3 of the Groupe des Cigognes, the most famous unit in the French Air Force.

On 18 February 1918, the Lafayette Escadrille was formally withdrawn from the French order of battle.

The pilots of the Escadrille went on to serve in various capacities in the American air service.

During its 22 months of duty with the Service Aeronautique, the Lafayette Escadrille could claim 39 confirmed, official victories because of the strict rules required to claim a victory. According to “unofficial” reports, the number of victories was at least twice as great. Nine pilots lost their lives; six were killed in combat, one was shot down by anti-aircraft fire and two died in flying accidents.