Monday, April 09, 2007

Meeting one of the early aviators of World War One.. Ennis Nagle ..1897-1971..He gave me pictures of himself in a Curtis Jenny he flew in late 1917

These photographs were given to me by Mr Nagle in 1970. He was a World War One aviator and was keeping company so to speak with my grandmother at the time.
I asked a number of questions about what it was like to fly a very fragile craft such as this Curtis Jenny, which is what they were called. I had about 500 questions I wanted to ask, and I guess I must have annoyed the hell out of him as he had other plans in mind.
So he gave me the photographs and told me study up on the subject. I went to the library and read all about the Curtis plane.
Mr. Nagle told me he never went overseas but just trained on these planes which incidentally never went overseas either! These photos are of Ennis Nagles plane in 1917. In the first one above he is ready to fly.
In the picture below his plane is at rest

It was interesting to talk to someone who had done such a thing when flying was still such a novel idea and scoffed at by most of the military.
Today as I write there are perhaps less than 10 survivors left of World War One. All of them are well over 100. As I think of it, if Mr. Nagle was alive today he would be 110.

But it was part of a noble beginning the of the Air Force, before it was anything at all. Billy Mitchell was in charge of a lot of this and he always felt that air power was and would be the end all. Today we know that to be true...

In 1917 the powers that be felt it was cute toy..not much else. That would lead to a great showdown between the Army, Navy, and the Air Corps....It would leave many a career in ruins and change the entire worlds concepts. But that is another story when I get around to it.