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WW1 Lafayette Flying Corps Uniform/Document Group


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#1 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:13 AM

I believe that this is one of the most extensive and significant aviation groups of any era. It is one of the cornerstones of my museum.

I acquired this group from a forum member who was kind enough to let me be the next caretaker. To him, I cannot be more grateful. He had owned this group for 40 years after it was given to him by a Rheno family member when he was a young teen. They were neighbors.

This size and scope of this rare group is too large and too cumbersome to post at one time. If there is interest, I will add to this thread as time permits.

Walter Rheno's story is incredible. From a non-blueblood family of Martha's Vineyard, MA - to being rejected by our U.S. Air Service in 1915 - to pilot with the Lafayette Flying Corps of the Spa 80 Escadrille with three victories, (2 confirmed) - more rejected attempts for a commission in our U.S. Air Service while on leave in the States in 1917 - and his return to France in the fall of 1918 to once again fly for France only to become sick with the influenza and die on October 10, 1918. Ironically, he received his commission as an officer in the U.S. Air Service while returning to France in September 1918. He became an honored hero by the people of the Vineyard.

We'll start here:

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This is THE uniform worn by Rheno as a Corporal that he wore in combat.
He was buried in the Sgt's. uniform depicted in the studio photograph.

#2 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:14 AM

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#3 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:17 AM

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#4 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:22 AM

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His French ID documents

#5 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:23 AM

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#6 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:26 AM

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His engraved gold watch given to him in leave in 1917by the citizens of Vineyard Haven, MA

#7 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:30 AM

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Harmon Trophy Medal of Walter Rheno's

#8 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:34 AM

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Extremely rare diploma for the Harmon Award
Notice the signatures on the lower Lt. Hand corner of the document.

Very significant members of this unique group aviators

#9 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:38 AM

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This lower poster was signed and presented to Rheno by a magazine editor

#10 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:42 AM

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Close up of Rheno's Croix de Guerre Citation
Notice the N-80 notation as he was still flying
Neuports at the time he was cited - Later N-80
was given Spads and became SPA-80

#11 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:46 AM

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This marker was affixed to Walter Rheno's casket while in the Neuilly Cemetery in France.
It was remove and sent to his mother when he was returned to Martha's Vineyard in 1921

#12 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:48 AM

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Cross/Grave marker remover from the cross on his grave
and returned to his mother

#13 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:50 AM

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#14 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:54 AM

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A resting place for all the Lafayette Escadrille/Flying Corps Flyers
that died during the war.
Family members had the option to have their loved ones interred
in this memorial. - Many were.

#15 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:57 AM

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Rheno's side arm - A Spanish 7.65 Auto

#16 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:05 AM

All for now

hope it meets with some aproval

DJ

#17 bobgee

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:56 AM

Dennis! What a fantastic grouping! The exploits of these young Americans in the Lafayette squadrons inspired our country for decades!. I have been to the Lafayette Escadrille memorial outside of Paris and it is beautiful. Rheno's group could not be in better hands. Thanks for sharing it. :twothumbup: :twothumbup:
Besr.......Bob

#18 jeb137

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:56 AM

Fantastic Collection. Thanks for sharing this with us.

I'm very glad that it's in your hands now.

Jon B.
Newaygo MI

#19 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:13 AM

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Walter's Lafayette Escadrille Medal superimposed over a letter to his mother
and his bio in New England Aviators.
These medals have been seen with the "Lafayette Escadrille" as well as "Lafayette Flying Corps"
on the obverse of the planchet. They were used interchangeably.

#20 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:14 AM

LFE_Medal__002.jpg

#21 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:15 AM

LFE_Medal__003.jpg

#22 Belleauwood

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 06:17 AM

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OK........Really..........All for now!


DJ

#23 trenchbuff

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:29 AM

Unreal Man! Never saw a nicer, more complete group.

#24 hawk3370

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 08:24 AM

[quote name='Belleauwood' date='Jan 24 2010, 04:13 AM' post='476482']
I believe that this is one of the most extensive and significant aviation groups of any era. It is one of the cornerstones of my museum.

I acquired this group from a forum member who was kind enough to let me be the next caretaker. To him, I cannot be more grateful. He had owned this group for 40 years after it was given to him by a Rheno family member when he was a young teen. They were neighbors.

This size and scope of this rare group is too large and too cumbersome to post at one time. If there is interest, I will add to this thread as time permits.

Walter Rheno's story is incredible. From a non-blueblood family of Martha's Vineyard, MA - to being rejected by our U.S. Air Service in 1915 - to pilot with the Lafayette Flying Corps of the Spa 80 Escadrille with three victories, (2 confirmed) - more rejected attempts for a commission in our U.S. Air Service while on leave in the States in 1917 - and his return to France in the fall of 1918 to once again fly for France only to become sick with the influenza and die on October 10, 1918. Ironically, he received his commission as an officer in the U.S. Air Service while returning to France in September 1918. He became an honored hero by the people of the Vineyard.

We'll start here:

IMG_1022.jpg

IMG_1020.jpg

This is THE uniform worn by Rheno as a Corporal that he wore in combat.
He was buried in the Sgt's. uniform depicted in the studio photograph.
[/quote

Dennis,

Fantastice grouping. I am always pleased to see items such as this end up in the hands of someone that will preserve it as it should be. No question it is a magnificant piece of our aviation history. Congrads.

Terry

#25 pathfinder505

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Posted 24 January 2010 - 08:35 AM

I dont even collect WWI items and I really like this grouping.


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