A student at Harvard University (class of 1916), Francis Peabody Magoun served as an ambulance driver with Section 1 of the American Field Service on the Western Front from 3 March 1916 to 3 August 1916. On 17 March 1917 he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in England. Following preliminary training at Oxford University, he was sent to France for advanced flight training with the Royal Naval Air Service. Magoun was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant on 4 July 1917 and received a pilot's certificate on 3 September 1917. He was posted to France with 1 Squadron on 11 November 1917. Flying the S.E.5a he scored four victories before he was promoted to Lieutenant on 1 April 1918 and wounded in action while strafing enemy troops on 10 April 1918. He returned to his squadron in October 1918, becoming an ace on 28 October 1918 after downing a Fokker D.VII near Anor. Discharged from service on12 June 1919, Magoun remained in England at the end of the war and attended Cambridge before returning to the United States. He later became an English professor at Harvard, specializing in Finnish studies. Magoun published more than a dozen books, including a prose translation of the great Finnish epic, "The Kalevala." Honored by Finland in 1964, he was awarded the Order of the Lion.
Military Cross (MC)
T./2nd Lt. Francis Peabody Magoun, Gen.
List and R.F.C.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. When engaged on bombing work he attacked and shot down an enemy machine, with the result that it crashed to earth. He has also engaged massed enemy troops and transport with machine gun fire from low altitudes, throwing the enemy into the utmost confusion and inflicting heavy casualties. His work has been carried out with consistent keenness and tenacity.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 22 June 1918 (30761/7417)