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Elusive grandfather in the RFC of WW1 then the US AAC of the 20ís


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#1 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:52 PM

Elusive grandfather in the RFC of WW1 then the US AAC of the 20’s

 

My 85 year old father recently remained after the death of my mother and I am trying to help my new step-mom learn about her absentee father that died when she was a young girl.  From what she has told me and the documents I have from her he was a very talented and amazing man though not the marrying settling down type.   He seems to have taken after his father, whom supposedly came from England and was part of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Rough Riders” all be it he was a cook or something like that and deserted after 3 days taking the family, including my then new born step-grandfather, back to England.  

 

Anyway I am looking for some members in the UK that may be able to find something out on my new Grandfather and clear up some of the possible “stories” as fact rather then fiction.   And of course help my step-mom fill in the large gaps in her family tree.

 

I have seen postal covers of one of his historic flights opening new international air mail routes on Ebay but they were too expensive for me at the time.  He was a member of the Honor Guard for President Harding and held various patents, a friend of Eddie Rickenbacker (Step-mom has a tea set given by Rickenbacker as a wedding gift to her parents.)   He just really seems like an interesting guy.   But when I seen his claim to awards I have to wonder if he was one that liked to exaggerate.

 

His name is: Harry Burton-Lewis (The hyphenated last name was used off and on during his life. We don't know why.)

I will post some snippets of documents I have to start with.   As I have recently moved across country and all my fun stuff is in boxes this is giving me something to obsess over other then restoring my new old house.

 

Thanks,
Mark D



#2 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:55 PM

1

Attached Images

  • Lewis, Harry Burton RAF sml.jpg
  • HB Lewis resemee history sml.jpg
  • HB Lewis ressume sml.jpg


#3 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:56 PM

2

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  • HB Lewis reserve sml.jpg
  • Pres. Harding Honor Guard sml.jpg
  • Lewis, Harry Burton P38 sml.jpg


#4 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 12:56 PM

3

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  • Lewis, Harry Burton Discharge USA 2 sml.jpg
  • Lewis, Harry Burton Discharge USA 2a sml.jpg


#5 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:00 PM

4

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  • HBL service record 1 Full sml.jpg


#6 LuftStalg1

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Posted 04 March 2016 - 01:02 PM

Step-mom says she had a photo of him in uniform with all his medals on that was sent to a sister years ago and never returned.   She says she can get it so I have urged her to at least get a high resolution copy sent.  If it shows up I will add it as well.



#7 LuftStalg1

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 03:02 AM

Oops, that photo with the P38 is an Uncle not Granddad.  Sorry!



#8 LuftStalg1

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Posted 07 September 2016 - 02:20 PM

Got a Xerox copy of the old photo of the real Harry Burton Lewis.   Circa 1923 he has the US wing, Lt bars and collar brass, wearing his French Croix De Guerre, British 1914-1915 Mons Star, British Victory Medal, and British General Service Medal (Per his RAF service documents).

 

Thank goodness my step-mom actually had a bunch of his original British Military paperwork.   He joined the Royal Army Medical Corp first and was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1918 and then the RAF later in 1918 as Pilot/Observer.  He enlist with the US Army in 1919, re-submitting his vow to the US and no longer with George of England, and he is sent over as to serve in the Army of Occupation of Germany until 1920 when he returns to NY.  He is also listed as having been wounded (Shot in knee and two fingers) as well as being gassed while serving with the Brits.

Attached Images

  • Harry Burton Lewis sml.jpg


#9 kbulow

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Posted 14 January 2017 - 02:11 PM

Hi Mark,

 

I found this very interesting, his British service has been hard to find, finally located his Medal Index Card for his 1914-15 Star, however the card states his name as H. H. B Lewis. The service numbers are correct, 55929 and 127877 Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Flying Corps cadet, I'm assuming his British War Medal and Victory Medals were issued by the RAF. It is interesting that his card has written in pencil "No MM or MSM card found" so I'm assuming he applied for a British Military Medal or British Meritorious Service Medal at some point.

 

I had a look at findmypast and it seems they have him listed as Henry Barton Lewis on his RAF service papers. He must have received his French Croix de Guerre while serving with the Americans as his not listed in the London Gazette for one (after saying that some where not Gazetted), the Distinguished Flying Cross mentioned must also be American has I couldn't locate a British DFC for him, also I doubt he would have seen much active service with the RFC/RAF. there is quite a lot on him on Ancestry including some of the documents you have attached, so I'm assuming one of these family trees is yours. Have you got his medals? his certainly very interesting

 

Kerry  



#10 paul kennedy

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 01:33 PM

It's possible that the French CDG was awarded to his entire (American) unit during the war, which could explain why he had it in 1919.



#11 LuftStalg1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 02:30 PM

The whole thing is just weird.  He actually did not transfer to the Army Air Service until he was discharged from the RAF in Apr 1919.  He was re-naturalized in July 1919.  



#12 LuftStalg1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 02:34 PM

Another doc

Attached Images

  • 1919, 3 Apr Discharge RAF sml trim.jpg


#13 LuftStalg1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 02:36 PM

His photo, or an old Xerox of his photo.  The original is in Japan with his sons family.

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  • 1923 AAS Lt Lewis sml trim.jpg


#14 LuftStalg1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 02:37 PM

Another tid bit.

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  • 1919, RAF sml trim.jpg


#15 LuftStalg1

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Posted 15 January 2017 - 02:39 PM

Heres another one listing awards.

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  • RAF Form 267 sml trim.jpg


#16 LuftStalg1

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 07:56 AM

Hi Mark,

 

I found this very interesting, his British service has been hard to find, finally located his Medal Index Card for his 1914-15 Star, however the card states his name as H. H. B Lewis. The service numbers are correct, 55929 and 127877 Royal Army Medical Corps and Royal Flying Corps cadet, I'm assuming his British War Medal and Victory Medals were issued by the RAF. It is interesting that his card has written in pencil "No MM or MSM card found" so I'm assuming he applied for a British Military Medal or British Meritorious Service Medal at some point.

 

I had a look at findmypast and it seems they have him listed as Henry Barton Lewis on his RAF service papers. He must have received his French Croix de Guerre while serving with the Americans as his not listed in the London Gazette for one (after saying that some where not Gazetted), the Distinguished Flying Cross mentioned must also be American has I couldn't locate a British DFC for him, also I doubt he would have seen much active service with the RFC/RAF. there is quite a lot on him on Ancestry including some of the documents you have attached, so I'm assuming one of these family trees is yours. Have you got his medals? his certainly very interesting

 

Kerry  

Just wanted to say THANK YOU Kerry for your help across the pond!

Mark



#17 kbulow

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 08:23 PM

No worries Mark,

 

I found the man very interesting to research.

 

Kerry




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