William Thaw
William Thaw, 1918
Courtesy The AERODROME
The AERODROME website has long been my favored site for information on the Aces and Planes of World War I. I heartily recommend it to you. You can reach it by clicking on the titles and read the rest of Thaw's story.

MacGordon & Thaw
Steve MacGordon & William Thaw in a Curtiss Model E, abt. 1913-1914
Probably on Lake Keuka in Hammondsport
Photo Courtesy of Roy Nagl
Ancient Aviators Website

William Thaw
This Neuport flown by Sgt. Andrew Campbell (second from right) lost its lower left wing at 3,000 feet and landed in a beet field. With Campbell are (l-r) Robert Soubiran, Sgt. Robert Rockwell, an unidentified man, Capt. Georges Thenault (French) and William Thaw.
Text by Tamar A. Mehuron, Associate Editor
Photo Courtesy of the AIR FORCE Magazine


The Sunday Journal and Tribune
Knoxville, Tennessee: January 3, 1915:
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 3-23-04
     Displayed is a photo of Miss Henrietta Thaw with title "Engaged to Wed"
     The text: "Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Thaw, of Pittsburg, have announced the engagement of their daughter, Miss Henrietta Thaw, to Lawrence Slade, of New York.
     Miss Thaw is a granddaughter of Mrs. William Thaw. Her brothers are Mr. Stephen D. Thaw, Mr. Benjamin Thaw, Jr.; MR. WILLIAM THAW, 2ND, AN AVIATOR, (my capitalization), who offered his services to the French government when the war in Europe started, and Mr. Alexander B. Thaw, 2nd. Mrs Benjamin Thaw was Miss Elena Dows. Mrs. Thaw and her daughter returned from Europe in September.
     Mr. Slade's home is in New York. He is the Paris representative of the Equitable Trust Company and is now in Paris. He is a member of an old New York family."

William Thaw
Collection of Mike Kane, 8-23-05
Second Lieut. Thaw Says He
Has No Fear of Being In-
terned by United States
The Pittsburg Press
Pittsburg, PA, Monday Evening, December 27, 1915,
Transcribed by Mike Kane, 8-23-05
      William Thaw, second lieutenant in the French army, and in this country on an eight days leave of absence, ridiculed this afternoon the talk that he is likely to be interned in the United States as a beligerent.
      "The story is too ridiculous to be worth thinking about," said Mr. Thaw, when seen in the office of his father, Benjamin Thaw, in the Commonwealth building. "I am not giving any thought to it. If there were any possibility of my being held here, or of my two companions, the French government would never have permitted us to go to America."
     "If there were any legal basis for holding us here, there are hundreds of thousands of aliens in this country who could and should be intened. No, there is nothing in such talk. As I told the New York reporters last night, the German newspaper that started the story may get some free advertising out of it, but that is all:
     Lieut. Thaw reached Pittsburg today.
     He arrived in New York Dec. 23. He said his leave gives him just eight days in the United states, and he expects to take the first available steamer when his eight days have gone.
     There was a note of pride in the voice of Benjamin Thaw, the lieutenant's father, when he introduced Lieut. Thaw as "my third son." He was accompanied to the downtown district by his brother, Benjamin, Jr., and the three had luncheon together. Lieut. Thaw said his day would be very fully occupied, and that he would start back to New York this evening. He had much business to attend to, and paid hurried visits downtown.
     "I am in a neutral country and I must positively decline to talk about the war," Lieut. Thaw said firmly but politely when asked to talk about conditions in Europe. "All that I have seen and heard abroad I must regard as confidential, and I can say nothing about it."
     "This is my first leave since I entered the service of the French government, Aug. 24, 1914, and I am gratified to be able to visit the United States, and especially Pittsburg," said Lieut. Thaw. "I spent most of my time in the east while in this country before the war, but the greater part of the time was taken up in school and college and abroad before I joined the French colors. This is my first visit to Pittsburg in some years."
     Many old acquaintances grasped Lieut. Thaw's hand in the downtown district, and although he made very effort to make his visit as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, he attracted much attention as he traveled through the street. He is tall, robust, and although dressed in civilian clothes, looked every inch the soldier. Many of the passersby who stopped to look at him as he walked along thought it was some foereign-born and distinguished soldier instead of an American. He looks much like the best type of French officer.
     "Who is he? Who is he?" asked one young business man as Lieut. Thaw turned the corner of Fourth ave. into Wood st. It happened that the person, to whom he put his persistent question, was the young man's father, who evaded answering it. The business man, with several companions, followed the trio several squares until at last his question was answered by a newpaper man. Then he, with several dozen other persons, stood outside a store at Wood St. and Oliver ave., waiting for the older Thaw and his two sons to emerge so that he could gaze again on Lieut. Thaw, now that he had identified him.

I need a photo of him. If you can help, please contact me.
Escadrille Americaine

Library of Congress Collection, 9-20-07

Southern Aviators
Do Daring Work in France,

The Cordele Dispatch,
Wednesday, May 21, 1916,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - June, 2004
      Paris, May 18. - The American aviators forming the Franco-American flying corps took part in an expedition over the German lines the first time as a separate unit. They sustained particularly heavy shelling as they recrossed the front, but landed safely.
      The flotilla, including the craft piloted by Corporal Kiffen Rockwell, of Atlanta; Corporal James Rogers McConnell, of Carthage, N. C.; Sergeant Elliott Cowdin, of New York; Lieutenant William K. Thaw, of Pittsburg; Sergeant Norman Prince, of Boston; and Sergeant Hall, of Galveston, started at daybreak and spent nearly two hours reconnoitering under a hot fire but encountered no German machines.
      Corporal McConnell was flying at a height of 12,000 feet but German shells burst all around him, showing that the range of the German anti-aircraft guns had lengthened.
      Corporal Victor Chapman's machine was hit and driven out of its course, returning so late to its base as to cause anxiety regarding Chapman's fate. The aeroplane piloted by Lieutenant Thaw lost part of its tail piece and the propeller was damaged by a shell.
      Three more Franco-American flotillas are to be organized from the forty additional American volunteers now in training.

William Thaw
William Thaw
Library of Congress Collection, 9-22-07

American Aviator for French Gets a Medal,
The Cordele Dispatch,
Wednesday, July 5, 1916
Transcribed by Bob Davis - 6-24-04
     William Thaw, the American, one of the most daring among the aviators with the French army, whose feats over Verdun have often been mentioned in the French official reports, was wounded while fighting a German machine high over the fortress. While he was in Paris convalesing he received the cross of the Legion of Honor for bravery.

Cowdin, Prince, Thaw
E. Cowdin - N. Prince - Wm. Thaw
Library of Congress Collection, 9-22-07

     If you search for "William Thaw" +aviation, using the Google search engine, (3-26-04), you will find about 90 links. Among the most helpful are the following. If time permits, you may want to visit some of the other sites.

     This page on the outstanding "The Aerodrome" website, offers a very comprehensive revue of Thaw's life and career. It is from this page that I was permitted to copy his portrait, which you see at the top of this page. You can access his story by clicking on the title above.
     If you are not already familiar with this website, I heartily recommend that you go to the homepage to see the wealth of material which is available.

     You will find a photo of the members of the Lafayette Escadrille along with several photos on this website. It even includes a Ragtime music sample of the era in MIDI. You may access the site by clicking on the title above.
     You may want to use your "Find" function on "Thaw" to locate the entry on the page.

Walter H. Roeder
University Library
(Originally published in The Cal Poly Scholar, vol.2, (fall 1989) p.129-134)

     The Kellogg Ranch was famous for its Arabian horses, but it earned a footnote in American aviation history when the Kellogg Airport was built in 1928. At that time it was the largest privately owned airport in the country. Two famous aviators, Cal Rodgers and Charles A. Lindbergh, are linked to the history of the airport which closed in 1932. No trace of the airport remains today.
Editor's Note: You will find reference to a forced landing made my William Thaw on this website.

Mrs. William Thaw
Mrs.William Thaw
Library of Congress Collection, 9-22-07

William Thaw died in 1934
From The Early Birds of Aviation
Roster, 1996

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