The son of Colonel Leroy Springs, a wealthy textile manufacturer, Elliot White Springs attended the Culver Military Academy and Princeton. He enlisted in the army in 1917 and was sent to England for training with the Royal Flying Corps. In 1918, he was one of several pilots hand picked by William Bishop to fly the S.E.5a with 85 Squadron in France. After recovering from wounds received in action on 27 June 1918, he was reassigned to the 148th Aero Squadron which was still under the operational control of the RFC. When the war ended, Springs returned to the United States where he barnstormed while writing "Warbirds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator." His book was largely based upon a collection of letters written by his friend, John McGavock Grider, who was killed in action while serving with 85 Squadron. "Warbirds" was a bestseller and Springs continued writing books based on his experiences during World War I. At his father's request, he returned to work at the family textile business in 1931. Recalled to active duty in 1941, Springs served with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He died, age 63, at Memorial Hospital in New York following a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Daily News, Greensboro, North Carolina, Sunday, 19 July 1936, page 4
The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, Friday, 16 October 1959, page 24
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
On 3 August 1918, whilst leading his patrol, which was escorting DH9s to Bruges, this officer shot down in flames three Fokker biplanes which were diving on the DHs and succeeded in driving off the rest of the EA and escorted the bombers safely back to our lines. On the morning of 22 August , he attacked five Fokker biplanes, one of them he shot down which was seen to crash in a wood south of Velu. He engaged another EA and sent it down out of control and immediately turned to attack another which he drove east. Having shot away all his ammunition, Lieutenant Springs pulled out of the fight. On the afternoon of 22 August , he engaged three Fokker biplanes that were diving on a lower flight. One of the three pulled out of his dive; another turned east and the third Lieutenant Springs shot down out of control. It was last seen by one of the patrol diving into the ruins of Bapaume. Lieutenant Springs has been on active service in France since 22 May 1918. He has destroyed five EA and driven down out of control, two. This officer has at all times shown the greatest determination and courage and his work as Flight Commander in this squadron has been marked by a rare combination of cool judgement and most aggressive fighting tactics.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 1918
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Elliott White Springs, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Bapaume, France, August 22, 1918. Attacking three enemy planes (type Fokker), who were driving on one of our planes, Lieutenant Springs, after a short and skillful fight, drove off two of the enemy and shot down the third. On the same day he attacked a formation of five enemy planes (type Fokker), and after shooting down one plane was forced to retire because of lack of ammunition.