LT Norman Prince

LT Norman Prince

LT Norman Prince (1887-1916) was the 55th American to earn a pilot’s license (1911). Prince is best known as one of the founders of the famed Lafayette Escadrille, the group of American volunteer pilots who flew for France before the US entered World War I. (In the movie “Flyboys”, the character of Briggs Lowry [played by Tyler Labine] is a composite of Norman Prince and several other Escadrille pilots who came from privileged backgrounds.) Prince flew a total of 122 missions in French service, engaging in aerial combat with Germany’s best fliers, and he downed several planes before losing his own life.

On October 12, 1916, returning from a raid, the landing gear of Prince’s airplane struck a cable stretched just above the tree tops. He died three days later. While in the hospital Prince was promoted to lieutenant and decorated with the Legion of Honor. He already held the Médaille Militaire and Croix de Guerre. Prince’s altimeter and a number of other personal items from his Lafayette Escadrille days are currently on display at the National Air and Space Museum.

His mother was Abigail Norman (Mrs. Frederick Prince) of Newport. The 450 acre Norman Bird Sanctuary in Middletown was created through a bequest from his aunt in 1949.

  • More in 2006:

  • More in Units & Groups:

    • 126th Aviation Regiment, RIANG
    • Paul BroadnaxPaul Broadnax

      Paul Broadnax, the child of two well-known and influential Boston-area classical musicians, played with the Tuskegee Airmen military band and dance band.

    • Bill CalhounCAPT William Calhoun

      Captain William McBrayer Calhoun, USN, Ret. (1948-2015) was a long-time RI resident who graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1967. Capt. Calhoun was a LTJG with the highly decorated Helicopter Attack Squadron (Light) 3), nicknamed the “Seawolves”, an all-volunteer squadron formed in support of Naval Special Warfare operations and Mobile Riverine Forces.

  • Find this interesting? Share it!

    Help Us Continue to Honor RI's Aviation History.

    Please consider a tax-deductible gift to help support our efforts.