The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial stands as a tribute to the American pilots of the Escadrille La Fayette and the Lafayette Flying Corps who gave their lives during the First World War to assist the Allies.
The Memorial stands in a park outside of Paris, not far from Versailles.
The Memorial may be reached by train from the Gare St-Lazare to the station of Garches - Marnes-la-Coquette (twenty minutes from Paris). A walk of 500 yards brings the visitor to the entrance of the Parc de Villeneuve-l'Etang, just beyond the institut Pasteur where the great man died. By automobile, the route lies across the Seine, by the St-Cloud bridge and then direct to Garches and the Memorial. The Park is open every day morning and afternoon.
The monument is composed of a central Arch of Triumph, one-half size of the Arch of Thiumph in Paris. Upon the stone are inscribed the names of the dead American pilots of the Escadrille La Fayette and the Lafayette Flying Corps during the first World War 1914 / 1918. Are also inscribed the names of the French towns and provinces where these pilots were involved for fighting Germans. All the other inscriptions are in French on one side and in English on the other side of the monument. Under the monument, a sanctuary crypt including 68 sarcophagi. Some are empty because of the impossibility in locating or removing the pilots' remains. Thirteen stained-glass windows, signed Mauméjean, depicting various battles, give light to the Cryt.
The American Eagle, surrounded by fighters, flies to assist France
The inspiration for the monument came from a former pilot, Edgard Guerard Hamilton while assisting the Allies in locating the boddies of these American pilots. He convinced numerous American and French sponsors that a memorial should be created for these heroes to perpetuate their sacrifice for France.
On July 4 1928, thousand of people attended the dedication of the monument. Former pilots and relatives of dead boys came especially from America. Marshal Foch, The French Minister of War Painleve, The U.S Ambassador Myron T. Herrick were the guests of honour at the ceremony. Doctor Edmund L. Gros, President of the Board of the Memorial Association formally presented the monument to France. Georges Thenault, Escadrille La Fayette's former commander, France's Air Attache to Washington, related the history of this so particular squadron . Then, the U.S Ambassador - who played a deciding role in 1914 by suggesting to all these enthousiastic young American that the only way not to lose their nationality was to enrol in the French Foreign Legion - made an outstanding speech :
Restoration work completed at the end of 2003, but had to be stopped at the beginning of 2005 when leaks damaged the crypt. Since the end of 2007, following lengthy studies, a supplementary program was begun by the Regional Direction of Cultural Affairs so as to make the crypt watertight. This program has been financed in equal part by the French Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the American Congress with the assistance of the US Air Force Europe and the Embassy of the United States in France.
The Foundation hopes to finish this program in 2008 completing work on a crypt begun in 2004. The Foundation is not able to take on the other work necessary for the upkeep of the memorial.
The Foundation wishes to express its gratitude to the Ministry of Culture, and the Congress of the United States as well as the Conseil General of the Hauts de Seine, the Ministry of Defence, the Souvenir Français, Les Ailes Brisées, Les Geules Cassées, The American Legion, numerous French and American charities, and individual donors.
Unfortunately, year after year, the income originated by the William Nelson Cromwell's sizable donation proves inadequate. Today, important postponed works must be undertaken and the Foundation solicits donations to maintain the Memorial and its general purposes.
Donations may be made in euros or in dollars and sent to the offices of the Foundation at 34 avenue de New York, 75016 Paris, France.
Gifts receive the tax advantages offered under the tax laws of France and the United States. All donors will receive a receipt.
Fondation du Memorial de l'Escadrille La Fayette
5 Boulevard Raymond Poincaré
LIST OF BURIALS
53 Sgt SCANLAN, Lawrence
1 Gen BROCARD,