Skip to main content

91st Observation Squadron, American Expeditionary Force, Photographs

 Collection
Identifier: MS-293

Scope and Content

The 91st Observation Squadron photographs document the history and operations of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe at the end of World War I and the following months. Through these photographs, researchers may gain insight into the geography and aircraft of World War I as well as the men who served in the 91st Squadron.

The collection includes 39 photographs dating between April 1918 and March 1919. About half of the photographs are undated, but are from the same period. The photographs depict airplanes and airfields, the men who served in the squadron, the squadron's banner design, and aerial observation views of French and German cities and sites including Coblenz, Trier, Dierdorf, Bendorf, Sinzig, Blagny, and Carignan.

Digital images of the entire collection (39 images) are available online in Wright State University's Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar) at: http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms293_photographs/. To search for a specific image from this collection in CORE Scholar, search for the item using the following format: MS293_01_XX, where "XX" is the two-digit Item number listed in the finding aid. If the Item number is less than 2 digits, include a leading zero. For example, to locate the first photograph listed, search for MS293_01_01. Capitalization is not important.

Photocopies of excerpts from the book Wings of Honor: American Airmen in World War I by James J. Sloan, Jr. are included in the box. These include a brief history of the 91st Observation Squadron and a listing of Commanding and Operations Officers and Combat Airmen.

Dates

  • 1918-1919

Creator

Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on accessing materials in this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

History of 91st Observation Squadron American Expeditionary Force

During World War I, the 91st Observation Squadron of the American Expeditionary Force operated reconnaissance missions 15 to 25 miles beyond enemy lines. They informed A.E.F. Headquarters of movements on roads and airdromes and in railroad yards, which they observed from above 15,000 feet; they also reported on supply and ammunition dumps.

The 91st Squadron arrived in Liverpool, England with the 90th and 88th Squadrons in November 1917 and traveled to Hill 402 to construct an airfield next to the American Expeditionary Force Headquarters in Chaumont, France. The squadron then traveled to Amanty, France where a school for pilots was operated. However, flight training was delayed by the lack of adequate airplanes; well into 1918, only worn-out Dorand, Sopwith and SPAD aircraft were available for use. Sixteen Salmson airplanes arrived by May of 1918, enabling the Squadron, with mediocre gunnery training, to begin operations.

The Squadron's first mission into enemy territory occurred on June 3rd from their base of operations at Gondreville, France near Amanty. The two-person crews of pilot and observer were subject to enemy aircraft attacks and anti-aircraft guns. There was a high rate of death, disappearance and injury, particularly for observers in the last months of the war. By the end of World War I, six pilots and three observers in the 91st Observation Squadron had become prisoners of war and three pilots and eight observers had been killed. Twenty-one enemy aircraft had been eliminated.

From February 14 to September 15, 1918, Major John N. Reynolds led the Squadron. In September 1918 Major Reynolds became Commanding Officer of the newly-created Army Observation Group, which consisted of the 91st, 24th and 9th Observation Squadrons. Leadership of the 91st Squadron transferred to Lieutenant Everett R. Cook, who served as Commanding Officer until the Armistice.

On June 28, 1919 the 91st Observation Squadron was demobilized from active duty in Europe; it was remobilized on June 30 for duty in the United States.

Extent

0.25 linear feet (39 photographs)

Language of Materials

English

German

Abstract

The collection includes photographs of the 91st Squadron, hangars and airfields, aerial views of German and French cities and fields, and the banner image of the 91st Squadron. This collection depicts the airmen and operations of the Squadron during the end of World War I and the months following. Digital images of the entire collection (39 images) are available online in Wright State University's Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar) at: http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms293_photographs/.

Statement of Arrangement

The photographs are individually numbered, according to the order in which they appeared in their original album.

Other Finding Aid

A complete box and folder inventory for this collection is available on the Special Collections and Archives website at http://www.libraries.wright.edu/special/collection_guides/guide_files/ms293.pdf.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital images of the entire collection (39 images) are available online in Wright State University’s Campus Online Repository (CORE Scholar) at: http://corescholar.libraries.wright.edu/special_ms293_photographs/.

To search for a specific image from this collection in CORE Scholar, search for the item using the following format: MS293_01_XX, where “XX” is the two-digit Item number listed in the finding aid. If the Item number is less than 2 digits, include a leading zero. For example, to locate the first photograph listed, search for MS293_01_01. Capitalization is not important.

Title
Guide to the 91st Observation Squadron, American Expeditionary Force, Photographs (MS-293)
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid prepared by Rachel DeHart, March 2007
Date
2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2014 August: Finding aid revised to include link to the digitized collection.

Repository Details

Part of the Wright State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Repository

Contact:
Special Collections and Archives
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy
Dayton OH 45435-0001 USA
937-775-2092