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Roger T. Twitchell Sr.

Welcome to the WWI RogerSpace, Sr. section, in which I display and try to explain a large part of the best of my (very late) grandfather's photo album from his service in WWI.

Roger T. Twitchell Sr. was honored by the French government after WWI for his service in the American ambulance corps in France during the war.  He originally wanted to fly, but didn't get to do so until after the war.  When he did, it was, like with so many others, the Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" that he flew.  The plane is best described as a set of oversize pair of wings of doped burlap, connected together by a barnstormer's heaven of bailing wire and wood struts, with an "accident waiting for somewhere to happen" (usually) powering the assemblage in the front.  That engine, the OX-5, was a pushrod V8 of the same power and weight as the excessively lame but still thirsty Ford 2.3 OHC 4 cyl. car engine of the mid '70s to the late '80s: 90 hp and 390 lbs.  It had assorted design woes that led to frequent, but often temporary and mysterious of origin, engine outages.

My dad has told me that Grandpappy had said he took books up to get in reading time while aloft (aerobatic maneuvers were very frowned on early on, and the Jenny was too underpowered to do much anyway).

Most of the photos can be clicked on for a 2X version.

R.T.T. at Camp Dervin, a "Depot de Cartouches" where 80,000 rounds of cartridges were stored beneath our bunks, near the little open fire-place.

 

 

A voiture of the American Ambulance Field Service

at the Triage, Rarecourt en Argonne


He had told tales of often driving the ambulances at night with no headlights, only moonlight if that (plus a good memory of the route, no doubt!).

 

 

"Rats" with "187" in Aubreville, near the Argonne

 

Remains of a French tank

 

 

In front of very early JN-4D (notice curved prop)

 

 

Ceremonies at the Invilides on the 4th of July, 1917

Those poor folks, in about 20 yrs. those still alive would have to go through it all, and much worse, all over again.

It's a curious mix of the bright "new" hovering high in the background  (above American troops) and the (very) old on the right.

I'm not sure what the biplane is, but the monoplane is probably a Moraine-Saulnier.

Preflight

 

Inflight

 

Something curious about the man is that he never allowed television, or even a radio that I can remember, anywhere in his home ever.  From vacationing up there I can't remember missing either though, with the rural beauty of the area, so maybe I don't blame him.  Who knows; maybe it was borne of his witnessing the horrors of what technology helped do in Europe.

 

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