The son of William G. and Mary Lambert, William Carpenter Lambert was born and raised in Ironton, Ohio. He was first introduced to aviation at the age of 10 or 11 when an aviator flying a Wright Flyer arrived in Ironton for the annual 4th of July celebration. Lambert went for a ride and the pilot allowed him to handle the controls.
In 1914 Lambert left his job as a chemist, in Buffalo, New York, to go to Canada to enlist in the Royal Artillery. When he arrived, there were no openings and he found work as a chemist and factory supervisor at the Nobel plant in Montreal. He was employed by Canadian Explosives Limited from 1914 to 1916.
In the spring of 1917 Lambert joined the Royal Flying Corps and received his training at Long Branch, Camp Borden, Camp Mohawk and Camp Rathbone. He sailed from Canada on 19 November 1917. Posted to 24 Squadron in France on 20 March 1918, he had 32 aerial combats and scored 18 victories before he was sent to hospital for battle fatigue on 20 August 1918. He was given home leave and remained at home for the remainder of the war.
After the war, Lambert spent a year barnstorming with air shows in the eastern United States. He worked as an engineer, started manufacturing airplanes with a friend in Dayton, Ohio, and flew the U.S. Air Mail route from Cleveland, Ohio to Washington, D.C. Active in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve since the 1920s, he served as an engineer during World War II and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1954.
An accomplished artist who made many sketches and paintings of his flying experiences, Lambert sold prints from his collection later in life. He also wrote two books: "Barnstorming and Girls" and "Combat Report." One of his prize memorabilia from the Great War was a piece of fabric from Manfred von Richthofen's red Fokker DR.I triplane.
Lambert died following a long illness. He was buried in the uniform he wore so proudly as a Lieutenant Colonel in World War II. He was 87.
Lt. William Carpenter Lambert.
He has destroyed six enemy machines and driven down four others out of control, displaying at all times dash and determination. On one occasion, when attacked by two Fokker biplanes, he drove down one, engaged the other at twenty yards range, and crashed it to earth.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 3 August 1918 (30827/9201)