Oliver Colin "Boots" LeBoutillier - Royal Naval Air Service Royal Air Force

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, May 9, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Oliver “Boots” LeBoutillier was an American born May 24, 1894 at Montclair, NJ.

    Educated through Columbia University - he went to Canada in 1916 and enlisted with the RNAS. Upon completing flight training, he joined 9 Naval Squadron in France, with whom he flew the highly regarded Sopwith Triplane for several months, claiming four "out of control" aerial victories. (In WW2, these would have been called "probables," but in WW1 British service, they were counted as full kills.)

    The Sopwith Triplane briefly dominated the aerial front during the summer of 1917. Small, very fast, and a speedy climber, it terrorized the Germans and prompted them to counter with the Fokker Dr.1 triplane. Politics and intrigues hindered the career of the Sopwith Triplane; ultimately only 150 were built, and only the RNAS used it in combat.

    In early 1918, 9 Naval Squadron began flying the Sopwith Camel and became 209 Squadron when the RFC and RNAC merged into the Royal Air Force (RAF) in April. "Boots" scored his fifth victory (an Albatros 'C' reconnaissance plane) at the controls of a Camel, in the opening stages of the air battle in which his comrade from 209 Squadron, Capt. Roy Brown, shot down Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron. The following day, LeBoutillier downed a DFW two-seater, and with four more kills in May, brought his total to ten - he received the British Distinguished Flying Cross

    He finished the war with over 600 hours in his flight log. After the war, he became a barnstormer, a skywriter, a Hollywood stunt flier, and an instructor. He gave the famous aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, her first lessons in flying twin-engined planes. In 1937 he joined the Civil Aeronautics Administration and in WWII was Inspector in charge of Colorado and Wyoming. After a flying life during which he amassed an incredible 19,000 flying hours, he retired to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he died on 12 May 1983.


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