Albert Dillon Sturtevant

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Albert Dillon Sturtevant was the first aviator in either the army or the navy to be brought down in action in the service of the United States.

    On the morning of February 15, 1918, the large British seaplane of which he was one of the pilots was ordered, together with another seaplane, to convoy a fleet of merchant vessels and destroyers from England to Holland. While waiting for their convoys, they were attacked by ten German machines. The other British plane escaped, but Sturtevant, as pilot, was obliged to carry on a running fight, in the course of which he brought down at least two of his opponents. Eventually, however, he was forced over towards the Belgian shore, from which German land planes came out to join in the battle. With sixteen Hun machines attacking him, Sturtevant had no hope; he, with his crew of another pilot and three men, was brought down, and no trace of either plane or bodies has ever been found. Ralph D. Paine, who describes the contest in his book, The Fighting Fleet says -

    "This was the finish of a whole year's training and preparation, at home in France, in England, to be shot down with never a chance in his first contact with the enemy. So blind and illogical and pitiless is war, and yet the life of this Yale athlete and gallant gentleman was not thrown away. He dared and paid the price, flashing out of life like a meteor, in all the glory of audacious youth."

    Born May 2, 1894, Sturtevant came to Phillips Academy from Washington, D. C, in 1910, graduating two years later. His record in scholarship was excellent, and he had a quick and tenacious mind. No one who knew him will soon forget his genial smile and his attractive personality. Later at Yale he was captain of the crew and one of the ablest men in his class.

    When America entered the war, Sturtevant was at Harvard Law School; but he at once volunteered, and, after being trained in the School of Aviation at Huntington, Long Island, received his Ensign's commission and was ordered overseas, sailing in September, 1917. After about two months in France in intensive training on seaplanes, he was detailed by Admiral Sims to the British Naval Flying Station at Felixstowe, England.

    "Al" Sturtevant was a young man who had grown steadily in strength and influence over others. He had most of the qualities which belong to the wise leader, and he had a reserve force which would have made him a forceful personality. Our sense of his loss belongs to those "thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

    President Wilson wrote personally to Ensign Sturtevant 's father, saying: "It was a death in the field of honor assuredly, and there must be great pride in your heart that such was the case, but that does not alter the fact that you have lost a beloved son and my heart goes out to you in genuine sympathy."
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

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  3. Dolphin

    Dolphin New Member

    Ens A D Sturtevant was the co-pilot of Curtiss H.12B 'Large America' (converted to Flexistowe F.2A) flying boat N4338, flown by Canadian T/Flt Lt Claude Chester Purdy (formerly Earl Grey's Own Rifles), with Boy Mechanic Arthur Hector Stephenson (F/31030) and AAMI Sidney James Hollidge (F/27033). While escorting a convoy with H.12B N4339 on 15 February 1918, they were attacked near North Hinder light vessel by 3 Zeebrugge-based fighters (probably Brandenburg W12s or W29s) and were shot down by Flugobermaat Urban and Ltn d R Ehrhard of 1.C Staffel of Seeflugstation Flanders 1. All the crew of N4338 were killed.

    There have been two destroyers named USS Sturtevant.


  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Theres also pictures of the two planes ( Alberts and the German plane ! ) on the web page Gareth .... did you see them ??

    Just as an aside ... on further perusal of the web pages I found Joseph Bevier Sturtevant ( Rocky Mountain Joe !! ) ..... I've heard of this guy !!!!!!!!!! - I came across him when I was researching Buffalo Bill and Red Shirt !!

    He was killed accidently in 1910 by a train traveling from Denver to Boulder - and I've seen his grave in Boulder's Columbia Cemetery (also known as Pioneer Cemetery)

    Rocky Mountain Joe - born Joseph Bevier Sturtevant

    Wonder if he really was a relative ?? ;)

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