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Name: Charles John Biddle
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
Croix de Guerre with 3 Palms
Order of Leopold II [Belgium]
Charles Biddle
Country: United States
Rank: Major
Services: French Air Service
United States Air Service
Units: N124, Spa73 (FAS)
13th Aero, 103rd Aero (USAS)
Victories: 7
Born: 13 March 1890
Place of Birth: Andalusia, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: 22 March 1972
Place of Death: Andalusia, Pennsylvania, USA
 
 
     Having graduated from the Harvard Law School in 1914, Charles John Biddle was admitted to the Pennsylvania bar and was employed by the law firm of Drinker, Biddle and Reath before crossing the Atlantic to enlist in the French Foreign Legion on 13 April 1917. He soon transferred to the French aviation service and after training at Avord, Pau and Le Plessis-Belleville, he was posted to Escadrille N73 on 28 July 1917. In January 1918 he transferred to the United States Signal Corps, Aviation Section, receiving a Captain's commission on 12 January 1918. Assigned to the 103rd Aero Squadron on 14 February, he was wounded in action on 15 May 1918 near Dunkerque. On 22 June 1918 he transferred to the 13th Aero Squadron. On 25 October 1918 he assumed command of the 4th Pursuit Group and was promoted to Major on 1 November 1918. On 19 December he returned to the United States where he was assigned to the Air Service Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on 1 January 1919. Biddle was discharged from the army on 25 January 1919.
     Post-war he wrote "The Way of the Eagle." Biddle died at "Andalusia," the family estate on the Delaware River in lower Bensalem Township, Pennsylvania.

Andalusia
The World Herald, Omaha, Nebraska, Tuesday, 21 May 1918, page 2
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Friday, 16 August 1918, page 1
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Saturday, 12 April 1919, page 12
All Saints Episcopal Church Register, Torresdale, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania, Veterans Burial Cards, 1777-1999
Bucks County Courier Times, Pennsylvania, Friday, 24 March 1972, page 10
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Charles John Biddle, Captain (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action in the region of Damvillers, France, September 26, 1918. During an engagement between 11 Spads and 12 enemy Fokkers, Captain Biddle, perceiving a comrade in distress from the attack of two planes, dived upon them and by his fire forced them to withdraw. His prompt action saved the life of his comrade, who was in imminent danger of being shot to the ground.
General Orders No. 60, W.D., 1920
 
Ordre de Léopold
For extraordinary heroism in action on 12 April 1918 near Corbeny, France, and on 15 May 1918, near Ypres, Belgium. Captain Biddle has daily shown himself an excellent and remarkable example of courage, energy and skill, leading his pilots to the attack at every opportunity and making his flight a most efficient one. On 12 April, he attacked and destroyed an enemy two-seater which crashed between the trenches at Corbeny. On 15 May, while leading his patrol, he attacked, at very low altitude and far within the enemy lines, an enemy two-seater, killing the observer and forcing him down. A few minutes later he engaged a second enemy plane at very close range. Wounded in his leg, his plane and motor riddled, Captain Biddle was forced to land in 'No Man's Land' less than 70 yards from the German trenches in the region of Ypres. With remarkable courage and presence of mind and despite his wound, he detached himself from his smashed machine and made his way from shell hole under intense artillery, machine gun and rifle fire, to an advanced British Observation post.
Ordre de Léopold citation
 
French Croix de Guerre
Pilot of marvelous spirit. Attacked two enemy two-seaters successfully behind their lines, probably shooting down the first. Wounded and disabled in the course of the second combat, by sheer strength he succeeded in landing in no man's land and after passing the day in a shell hole, by night he got back to the Allied trenches.
Croix de Guerre citation, 4 June 1918
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 05 Dec 1917 Spa73 SPAD XIII Albatros C Langmarck
2 12 Apr 1918 1130 103rd SPAD VII Halberstadt CL.II Corbeny
u/c 15 May 1918 0945 103rd   Two-seater  
3 01 Aug 1918 1850 13th   Albatros D.III 1 Vieville-en-Haye
4 01 Aug 1918 1852 13th   Albatros D.III 1 Vieville-en-Haye
5 16 Aug 1918 0540 13th   Rumpler C Bouxieres
6 26 Sep 1918 0735 13th   Fokker D.VII 2 Flabes
7 18 Oct 1918 1410 13th   Fokker D.VII 3 Bantheville

1 Shared with Lt H B Freeman, Lt John Seerley, Lt William Stovall
2 Shared with Lt S M Avery, Lt L Brewer
3 Shared with Lt S M Avery, Lt William Stovall
 
Books
American Aces of World War 1
by Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey (Illustrator) / Paperback / Osprey Publishing (September 25, 2001)
Over the Front
by Norman L. R. Franks, Frank W. Bailey / Hardcover / Grub Street the Basement (May 1992)
Fighting Airman: The Way of the Eagle
A Memoir of the 13th Aero Squadron and 4th Pursuit Group in France; Charles Biddle / Hardcover / Doubleday 1968
 
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