Sold – Archive of Frederic Ives Lord , World War I American Flying Ace

He flew in 7 wars and was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

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Lord enlisted in the U.S. Army before WWI, but was instantly discharged when it was learned that he was too young to serve, being only 17. He wanted so badly to enter the service that, with a falsified birth certificate, he traveled to Canada and joined the Royal Flying Corps, eventually ending...

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Sold – Archive of Frederic Ives Lord , World War I American Flying Ace

He flew in 7 wars and was featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not.

Lord enlisted in the U.S. Army before WWI, but was instantly discharged when it was learned that he was too young to serve, being only 17. He wanted so badly to enter the service that, with a falsified birth certificate, he traveled to Canada and joined the Royal Flying Corps, eventually ending up in England. He became an accomplished Ace during World War I, winning the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross. He was the youngest pilot ever to accomplish this greatest honor among Aces. Lord eventually served in 7 wars, for which he was written up in Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” These included World War I, the Russian Civil War (1919), the Mexican Revolution (1921), the Sino-Japanese War (1934), the Honduran Revolt (1936), the Spanish Civil War (1936-8), and World War II.

This is his entire, extensive archive containing some 300 pieces, including over 100 original photographs, wartime and otherwise (many with negatives included), personal and official letters, newspaper and magazine articles, flight logs, typed manuscripts of Lord’s diaries spanning 1917-1919 and his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, his graduation certificate from the Royal Flying Corps, the colorful caps he wore when flying for the Spanish Republic and the A.T.A., many of his service ribbons including the DFC, and much more.

Lord Officially Renounces his American Citizenship

In order for Lord to join the Royal Flying Corps, he had to renounce his American citizenship and proclaim his intention to become a British subject. This he did to get into the war. Document Signed by Lord and the Clerk of the Peace, May 25, 1917, Dominion of Canada, Province of Ontario, County of York, in which Lord, then only seventeen years old, renounced his U.S. citizenship.

“I was born in the town of Manitowoc in the state of Wisconsin, one of the United States of America … I have come to the city of Toronto from Houston, Texas, for the express purpose of enlisting and entering the Royal Flying Corps of the Canadian Army for service overseas. And I do hereby solemnly declare my purpose and intention to become a British subject and I do hereby renounce my citizenship as a Citizen of the United States of America…”

His Ace’s World War I Flight Log

The collection contains Lord’s original World War I pilot’s flight log, the first time we have had such a log. The first entry is dated in 1917 during his training and the last in 1919, while Lord was fighting in the Russian Civil War after the Great War. Here are some sample entries, which include brief accounts of his victories.

May 26, 1918: “Drove one Pfalz down out of control. Formation attacked by 30 scouts. Machine (plane) hit, 12 holes.”
May 29, 1918: “Engaged over Armentieres. I shot one down out of control.”
June 7, 1918: “4 E.H. attacked by patrol. I shot one down which was seen to crash.”
June 16, 1918: “I attacked Pfalz scout, drove it down to 2000 feet but was driven off by 3 more E.H.”
September 17, 1918: “Saw five Fokkers…I attacked. One went down in a spin. Fired a burst into another of 25 yds range. It crashed near Comines.”

May 28, 1918: “I attacked two balloons, brought one down in flames near Wervicq.”

Interestingly, we are able to match incidents recounted in his log with entries made in his diary. For this last date, he wrote: “The balloons were about 3000 feet up when we crossed the trenches…we were directly over them when our formation was broken up by Archie [the pilots’ name for anti-aircraft guns]. I pretended I was hit and coming down out of control…Then suddenly I opened wide my throttle, struck my nose down and made for the nearest balloon…I charged straight for it, both my Vickers machine guns spitting streams of tracer and explosive bullets. As I zoomed over it, I saw it burst into flames. All this time I was being fired on point blank range by Archie…The official communiqué tonight read ‘One balloon destroyed.’ Voila!”

Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar

For his services, Lord was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying in active operations against the enemy." His citation, which is included, states: "A gallant officer, bold in attack and skillful in manoeuvre…he, single-handed, attacked and destroyed a Fokker biplane. On his return journey he observed one of our formations engaged with a number of Pfalz scouts; joining in the combat he shot down one which crashed." Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1918.

A bar is added to the ribbon for holders of the DFC who received a second award, and Lord won this honor. Contained in this archive are Lord’s ribbons showing the DFC and Bar. Also present is the official letter in which the award is conferred upon him, complete with an account of the incident for which it was awarded. The action occurred while he was fighting in Russia during the Russian Civil War.

Typed Letter Signed by Major General Edmund Ironside, Commander in Chief, “General Headquarters, Allied Forces, Archangel, 15th July, 1919,” conferring upon Lord the Bar. “Captain Lord…was on June 27th, 1919, attached to H.Q. Pinega Force. At about 2300 hours on that date, patrols having reported the presence of the enemy on the left bank of the Pinega River…Lord went up to reconnoiter. Finding the enemy moving along the road with his transport, this Officer, from a height of two hundred feet, attacked them with M.G. fire and, although, the aeroplane had been hit a number of times and the oil tank shot away, by an explosive bullet, continued to fire at them until the transport had been stampeded and the spirit of the attacking force had been broken. It was entirely due to the courage and enterprise of this Officer and his observer that the enemy attack did not materialize and that we suffered no casualties.”

There are also over a hundred photographs taken during the 1917-1919 period, some showing Lord with his plane; and a typescript entitled The Pilot and the Farmer’s Daughter, which is an article about a love affair he had with a French woman while stationed in France during World War I.

Spanish Civil War manuscript, clothing and papers

Lord was keen to write and wrote several articles on his experiences during the many wars in which he participated. To our knowledge, none of these pieces were ever published. This manuscript, entitled So I’m a Military Prostitute, chronicles his experiences as a so-called soldier for hire (but actually a dedicated sympathizer) fighting alongside the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War. Later in his life, he also approached movie production companies in the hopes that his story would be turned into a feature film. Unfortunately, this never occurred.

Unpublished Typed Manuscript, 27 pages. Here is a brief excerpt: “I’ve had a wing fold up at a thousand feet while sitting on a dud parachute. I’ve been backed up against a wall looking down the rifle barrels of a firing squad. I’ve felt the automatic of my own commanding officer poked in my ribs. While being smuggled from Spain into France to visit my wife, I’ve had a speed boat pilot killed by Fascist bullets in the Bay of Biscay. I’ve fought half a dozen German pursuit planes in the air with an orchestra leader as a gunner. And of all places to be during a bomb raid I was there – locked up in jail – and with my wife. And these events have not been an accumulation of my war service in France, or Russia, or Mexico, but happened during the past few months while serving as a pilot with the Government forces in Spain…A Spanish pilot, Jose Galarza, bailed out from a crippled ship, during a fight, and landed safely in Franco’s line. But the next day a Junker bomber droned over our field and dropped a box. It contained the chopped up cadaver of Jose…Lafayette! Pulaski! Rochambeau! Who were they? Glorious foreign volunteers who aided us in time of need. We name bridges, boats, and towns after them now. Our kids read about them in our histories…And over in Spain foreign volunteers are fighting that a friendly democratic nation may survive. In most instances those volunteers came from the army of unemployed in their countries where they were without hope. In all cases they are highly skilled technical men. Their hope is a new lease on life; but the usual reward has been a nameless grave…”

The Spanish Republican caps he wore are present, along with contemporary broadsides and literature about the Spanish Civil War.

World War II mementos of the A.T.A.

In World War II Lord was a member of a British flying group called the A.T.A. (Air Transport Auxilury). It was the job of the A.T.A. to bring the airplanes to their squadrons during the Battle of Britain and throughout the war. Although the limelight did not shine on them, a great debt is owed to the men and women of the A.T.A. for the role they played in supplying the squadrons of the British Army. The flight cap that Lord wore while flying missions for the A.T.A. and the A.T.A. badge pin that attaches to that cap are both present in the collection.

There is also a retained copy of a Typed Letter, January 3, 1941, from Lord to his sister Lucia discussing his upcoming eye surgery for an injury sustained in the service. “…And in less than a week now, I get the eye sliced up. And I know it’ll be a success. Pray for me at 4pm on the tenth, will you. So here’s hoping that when they take the bandages off on about the 20th, my eye will function… Ah just ain’t got the dough for the hospital on the tenth. If can’t get it – well, then no operation as can’t ask the doctor to actually fork out money for me in addition. So, sister, please see what you can do in addition to the usual ten-spot, will you please? And let me have it by Wednesday.” Lord goes on to explain that he will soon be able to pay her back and will no longer be a financial burden to her, “A group of Chinese saw me today and want to take lessons from me and will even pay for a ship as soon as the eye is okay. Private flying, govt. jobs, city and state jobs – all waiting.”

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