THREE MUSKETEERS IN THE RAF

 

In 1917 the British Royal Flying Corps, soon to be renamed the Royal Air Force, desperately needed pilots. Their losses had been staggering as World War I approached its fourth year.  

A number of Americans volunteered to become pilots after the United States, which as yet had no air force of its own, declared war in April 1917. Heeding the request of Britain, the U.S. Army picked a select few volunteer pilots to depart for England and fight with the allies. 

 

Elliott Springs of South Carolina, Mac Grider of Arkansas and Larry Callahan of Kentucky by way of Chicago, had zero experience flying but were ready and eager to learn.  Dubbed the “Three Musketeers”, they set off for England and the adventure of their lives in the fall of 1917. The high-spirited nature of the Three Musketeers and their reputation as superior pilots caught the attention of Billy Bishop, Britain's leading ace. Bishop picked them to join his new 85 squadron, which was to go after Manfred von Richtofen and his ”flying circus.”   Before leaving London the three friends, "because our lives are in jeopardy" had their picture taken "for posterity."

 

Bishop was fond of one and two-man patrols and two weeks after they reached the front, Springs and Grider decided to go over German lines hunting for prey.  

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY

 

 

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