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Today in History

Name: Frank Leaman Baylies
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Médaille Militaire
Croix de Guerre
Frank Baylies
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Services: French Air Service
United States Air Service
Units: Spa3, Spa73
Victories: 12
Born: 23 September 1895
Place of Birth: New Bedford, Masschusetts
Killed In Action: 17 June 1918 Killed In Action
Place of Death: Between Rollet and Orvillers
Cemetery: Memorial de l'Escadrille Lafayette, Paris, France
The son of Charles S. and Lydia Terry (Paige) Baylies, Frank Leaman Baylies joined the United States Ambulance Service in May 1916. After seeing action on the Western Front, Serbia and Macedonia, he was rejected by the American air service due to defective vision and enlisted in the French Air Service in May 1917. After earning a Pilot's Brevet he was assigned to Spa73 at Dunkirk in November 1917. A month later he joined the Storks Group as a pilot with Spa3. In early 1918 Baylies refused a commission with the United States Air Service, preferring to remain with the French. He was killed in action when his patrol encountered the Fokker Triplanes of Jasta 19. Baylies is believed to have been shot down by Rudolf Rienau. Initially buried at Rollet, Baylies' body was exhumed in 1927 and reburied in Paris.
Air Power, June 1918, page 106
In a letter to Baylies' mother, Major Edmund Gros, Air Service Signal Reserve Corps, wrote:
Your son met a glorious death. He was one of the shining lights of our Aviation. He was a soldier without fear and without reproach. You must apply to him the eloquent words spoken in the British Parliament with respect to aviators; you must not turn your mind to sorrow, you must turn it towards all the glory which your son has won and the name which he will leave behind him when the story of this great war is written. He has taken his place by the side of all those heroes who gladly gave up that which is most precious of all, their lives, for the greatest ideal, the happiness of the human race. 1
1 Caroline Ticknor, New England Aviators: Vol. I (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1919) 34.
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 19 Feb 1918 1315 Spa3 SPAD Two-seater N of Forges
2 07 Mar 1918 Spa3 SPAD Scout NE of Courtecon
3 16 Mar 1918 1735 Spa3 SPAD EA Chevrigny
4 11 Apr 1918 1330 Spa3 SPAD Two-seater Mesnil-St. George
5 12 Apr 1918 0650 Spa3 SPAD Scout S of Moreuil
6 02 May 1918 1320 Spa3 SPAD Rumpler C Assinvillers
7 03 May 1918 1725 Spa3 SPAD Two-seater 1 Montdidier
8 09 May 1918 1930 Spa3 SPAD Halberstadt C Braches-Gratibus
9 10 May 1918 1725 Spa3 SPAD Two-seater 2 Montdidier
10 28 May 1918 0815 Spa3 SPAD Scout Courtemarches
11 29 May 1918 1815 Spa3 SPAD EA Etelfay
12 31 May 1918 1045 Spa3 SPAD EA 1 Montdidier

1 Shared with MdL Andre Dubonnet
2 Shared with MdL Clement
Franks, Norman. American Aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2001
Franks, Norman and Frank Bailey. Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. London: Grub Street, 1992
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