Saturday, February 5, 2011


Young Airman From Langley Field
On Way To Wilson [in 1919]

A flying lieutenant from Langley Field, Va., whose name has not been learned, was forced to land in a corn field on the farm of Mr. W. B. Phillips, near Battleboro [Nash/Edgecombe Co., N. C.], Saturday afternoon, because of engine trouble. The airman and a fellow aviator in another plane were on their way from Langley Field to Wilson [Wilson Co., N. C.]. In making the landing the plane was slightly damaged, but the lieutenant escaped injury. The other airman proceeded to Wilson after ascertaining his comrade was not hurt, making the trip to the Wilson county capital safely.

Unknown airplane that crashed into a tree.

The two airmen followed the Norfolk division tracks from Langley Field to Rocky Mount. When they reached the city they took the wrong course, following the northbound tracks of the ACL [Atlantic Coast Line] instead of going south to Wilson. As the two flyers passed over the city headed north they created much excitement, large crowds watching them. When they had proceeded as far as Enfield [Halifax Co., N. C.] they realized they were going in the wrong direction and turned back. When they neared Battleboro engine trouble developed in one plant and the aviator was forced to make the landing. The other airman circled about until he got the signal that all was well, and then proceeded on to Wilson. He passed over the city late Saturday afternoon.

The damaged airplane was packed on a wagon this morning and taken to the station at Battleboro to be shipped to Norfolk and then to Langley Field. The aviator will probably accompany the plane back to the great U.S. army flying base.

Mule and wagon in downtown Battleboro. Date unknown.

Many people from the city went to Mr. Phillips' farm yesterday to see the plane, but because permission for trespassing was refused they were disappointed.

[Rocky Mount Evening Telegram, 7/14/1919. Published in The Connector, newsletter of the Tar River Connections Genealogical Society in the Fall 2006 issue.]

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