Norman Prince
Norman Prince
Norman Prince
Collection of Valerie Yaros

via email from Edward Prince, 10-15-06'
Mr. Cooper,
     Norman Prince's French death certificate is attached for your collection.
     As a distant cousin with similar connections as Norman, I would be interested in any memorabilia or information you might have to share on Norman Prince.
     I was shocked and surprised when my brother told me about Norman before my last trip to France. My wife is French and I love France and the French people. It appears that this was also the case with Norman as he spent some time as a youth in France. His father, Frederick, spent much time in Pau, France, where he organized hunts.
     I have visited Pau and have photos of the villa St Helene that Frederick donated to France. The villa is used as the official residence of the departmental prefet (governor). The villa was donated on condition that Norman's photo remain there. I hope to gain permission to see the painting one day. Also have photo of Avenue Norman Prince in Pau.
     My wife and I played the Pau Golf Club this summer. Frederick was club captain from 1934 to 1939. The club is the oldest on the European continent; being founded by the English in 1856. They celebrate their 150 year anniversary. Norman is mentioned in the memorial book put out by the club.
     I have much admiration for Norman and what he did. He had completed his education at Harvard and had a promise future in law as his father had him set up to practice in Chicago. The family was ultra wealthy. With all that he had going for him there was no readily apparent reason for him to go off to Europe and get involved in the war. But he did, and he paid the ultimate price. He is a hero as were the other Americans who volunteered and served.
     I am happy to see your collection of memorabilia and information on Norman Prince.

The New York Herald
August, 1911
Harvard Law Student Surprises Friends by Flying for License as an Aviator
Mr. Norman Prince, Son of Boston banker, Gives Credible Exhibition.
Programme Postponed Till Today, When Race by the Light and Return Will Take Place.
ATLANTIC, Mass, Tuesday.---Because of heavy rain today's programme of the Harvard-Boston aero meet, which began on Saturday, was postponed until tomorrow, and it was decided to have another day's flying next week.
     Despite the rain, Norman Prince, son of F. H. Prince, a Boston banker, made two flights at the aviation field this morning under the name of George Manor in an effort to win an aviator's license. Mr. Prince, who is now a law student at Harvard, has been taking instructions in flying for several months at the establishment of the Burgess-Wright Company, at Marblehead, but very few of his friends knew that his intentions were to go so far as to become a licensed aviator.
     Mr. Prince appeared at the Burgess company hangar, accompanied by Frank T. Coffyn, one of the Wright Brothers' instructors. He represented himself as George Manor, a Burgess-Wright employee, who wished to give a demonstration of his ability and win an aviators license.
     One of the Burgess-Wright biplanes was tested, and at half-past seven o'clock Mr. Prince made his flight. He gave a clever exhibition. His "get-away" was perfect, and after flying around the course eleven times, about sixteen miles, at a height of about two hundred feet, he made another flight at half-past eight o'clock, and was in the air for about fifteen minutes. After landing this time he and Mr. Coffyn left for Boston.
     Mr. Prince's flights were watched by Henry A. Wise Wood, of New York, chairman of the committee in charge of licenses for this district. Captain Hugh L. Willoughby, of Newport, R. I., a member of the Technical Committee of the Aero Club of America, was with Mr. Wise Wood to see the flights.
     Earle L. Ovington made a short flight in his new Bleriot this afternoon. This is the first time he has been in the air since the beginning of the meet.
     Harry N. Atwood visited the field with the intention of making a flight, but changed his mind and returned to Boston in his automobile.
     If weather conditions are favorable tomorrow, the race to Boston Light and return will take place.
Courtesy of Roy Nagl, 11-2-05

Norman Prince
Norman Prince
Collection of Guillaume de Ramel, 8-31-04

Norman Prince
Collection of Paul Greenstein, 9-15-04
via email from Paul Greenstein, 9-15-04
     Actually, the story of how I acquired the license is somewhat amusing. Back in the late '60's when I was about 13 or so and very much interested in both the 1st world war and aviation history, I was at an antique store out in the San Fernando Valley (Reseda Blvd and Ventura Blvd). As a regular customer I was allowed in the back room to sort through the unsorted. I stumbled across the license along with an article about the reformation of a new Lafayette Escadrille and instantly recognized the name. with my little mind in a flutter, I asked the proprietress the cost of this rare piece... She asked me if I knew what it was. Failure stared me in the face, and I hesitated. She said "I think it's an old drivers license... two dollars". I must have looked sufficiently shocked, as she quickly corrected herself, "O.K. how about $1.50?" And I've had it ever since. Do you know who has the I.D. photo?
Editor's Note: I thank Paul for sharing the image of the card and the fascinating story of how he obtained it. I found it to be very amusing and I hope you did too. If you happen to know anything about the whereabouts of the missing photograph, please contact me and I will forward the information to Paul.

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.

Frederick H. Prince, Jr.
Frederick H. Prince, Jr.
Norman Prince
I believe the handwritten note is that of his brother's, Frederick Prince, Jr. also a member of the Lafayette Escadrille.
Legend & photo from Guillaume de Ramel, 11-13-06

  Cowdin, Prince, Thaw
Norman Prince
drawn by Eric Pape
Contributed by Warren Coolidge, 12-11-09
E. Cowdin - N. Prince - Wm. Thaw
Library of Congress Collection, 9-22-07

via email from unknown, 3-1-11'
     While this may not be just the information that you're looking for, it may be of some interest.
     My first knowledge of Norman Prince was through my association with drum and bugle corps. Post #1506 of the V.F.W. (Lt. Norman Prince Post) sponsored a corps, and it was from the notes on one of their recordings that I learned of him and the meaning of esprit de corps. From their inception they carried the "tri-colour" in his honour.
     "Prince," as they are affectionately called, was a force in drum and bugle corps circles for decades. But, alas, everything must pass. Although times have changed, I, for one, will remember and honour the memory of Norman. The Princemen have a steadfast alumni association to which I now belong.

     If you search for "Norman Prince +aviation" using Google, (12-15-03), you will find about 92 links. Among the most helpful are the following.

The Lafayette Escadrille - Americans Prepare to Enter the Air War
     This page on the Aviation History, A Century of Flight webpage offers two paragraphs which detail the role of Norman Prince in the formation of the Lafayette Escadrille. You can access the page by clicking on the title above.

The Princemen
Lt Norman Prince VFW Post No. 1506
Malden, Mass
     You will find a very nice little biography of Prince on this website. It features the history of "The Princemen", a drum and bugle corp of note, but includes a History of Lt, Norman Prince. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
Witchcraft, awful architecture, first flight, slavery reparations.
     This webpage, on the Harvard Magazine website, offers a very interesting and comprehensive story on the history of the Plum Island Airfield, including a reference to the activities of William Hilliard. You may want to use the FIND button on "First Flight" to locate the story down the page. You will probably want to read the entire article if time permits. You can access the site by clicking on the title above.
     This very comprehensive article was written by Edward S. Russell '78, President, Plum Island Community Airfield Inc., Byfield, Mass. It tells a fascinating story, featuring the important roles of several pioneer aviators and offers two important photographs of the Herring-Burgess #1 biplane, Courtesy of Burgess Aviation Museum, Plum Island Airfield, on loan from Bartlett Gould Collection.
      Following is an introductory paragraph extracted from the article.
     "The first airplane flight in New England occurred almost two months earlier than Lenger reported. (See the article immediately below.)
     On February 28, 1910, the Herring-Burgess #1 biplane, piloted by Augustus M. Herring, took off from the frozen surface of Chebacco Lake in Hamilton. The host for the flight was Norman Prince '09, LL.B. '11, a Law School student who, as legend has it, invited W. Starling Burgess '01 and Herring to try out their flying machine at his family estate while his parents were in Europe and young Prince was supposed to be studying. (Prince later cofounded the Lafayette Escadrille, a corps of American aviators who flew for France prior to the U.S. entry into World War I. He was killed in a crash on a mission in 1916.)"

     I suggest that you will be well rewarded by reading the whole article.

G.G. Bain photo collection
Submitted by John Wickre, 4-28-06
I came across two photos of Norman Prince in the G.G. Bain photo collection at the Library of Congress:
Norman Prince
Norman Prince in Group

Other Bain images with related numbers date to ca. 1916.
There are larger .tiff versions of both of these images.

If you search the entire LC PNP database
you will find two small photos of a Norman Prince Memorial in the National Cathedral:
Norman Prince Memorial - 1
Norman Prince Memorial - 2

There are no larger files for these images (the .tiff files are the same size -- 350x420 pixels).
Hope you find this of interest.
-- John Wickre
Editor's Note: We thank John for alerting us to this very helpful resource. You will find that each of the photographs can be enlarged by clicking on them. In the case of the group photo, it will be enlarged to the point that you can easily read the legend which identifies each of the members.

Lafayette Escadrille
Pilot Biographies

by Dennis Gordon

Product Details
Paperback: 271 pages
Publisher: Gordon, Otoupalik, and Schultz (G.O.S.); (November 1991)
ISBN: 0942258010
     This book was recommended to me by Albert Marceu who is involved with a group of people who are putting together a museum exhibit of the Lafayette Escadrille at the New England Air Museum, (1-23-04). It is currently out of print but an extensive summary of the book may be seen on the Amazon website. You can view a number of sample pages by clicking on:

Norman Prince
Norman’s tomb in Washington Cathedral (Wash, DC)
Collection of Guillaume de Ramel, 8-31-04
Norman Prince died on Oct 15, 1916,
three days after crash landing on Oct 12th
Personal communication from Guillaume de Ramel, 8-31-04

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this Early Flier,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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