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1998 Closed threads from 1998 (read only)

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Old 10 September 1998, 10:48 PM   #1
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I've have been doing research on Frank Luke of Arizona for some time now. The resources are scarce. Of what I have been able to locate I have found conflicting information in regards to his final tally. This site, along with a few other sources, state that he was KIA'd with 18 victories. Various other accounts of his actions say 21! I've ascertained that the controversy(in my analysis) is whether Luke shot down two German planes over Murvaux along with the last three balloons on 29 Sep 1918 and his very first victory which was confirmed by Major Harold Hartney based solely on Frank's exacting report and not the required independent observers.
Can anyone offer any insight on this?
In addition, I cannot locate a copy of "The Balloon Buster: Frank Luke of Arizona" by Norman Hall. I know it has been out of print for decades but it is the only known biographical piece ever done on him and I wanted to use this to supplement my research. Does anyone have a copy or know of where one is?
Old 11 September 1998, 02:33 AM   #2
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Stacy, I'll be leaving for France (10 days) on Oct 21 and expect to be in Murveaux for my second visit to Luke's final landing spot. If you have any questions that can be answered with an on the spot survey, let me know and I'll do my best. I still think it's a shame that the plaque on his memorial is missing, and I'm still tempted to go over and put the thing up myself whether anyone else likes it or not. It's the right thing to do but no one will step forward and get the job done. Anyway, to answer your question, I always thought that Luke was not credited with his final 3 balloons on his famous last mission, accounting for the 21/18 difference.
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Old 11 September 1998, 09:50 AM   #3
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Old 12 September 1998, 04:07 AM   #4
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I think I have an old paperbound copy of Hall's book, still in good shape. I would not be adverse to loaning it out, if you would E-mail me an address. It only cost me fifty cents, so I don't think it is that big of an investment.

However, for exacting (if un-noted) information on Luke, may I suggest that you look up the 27th Pursuit Squadron's home page, here on the Web. I believe that you will find more information, if less commentary, there than with the book.

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Old 15 September 1998, 08:37 AM   #5
John Cummings
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Frank Luke is my hero, too. The Hall biog is hard to find now, but I don't miss it. I threw away my copy of it years ago. There's too much in it to strain credulity--too much that seems made up to fill space, on Luke's life before 1917.

Old 15 September 1998, 06:05 PM   #6
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According to what info I've found, Luke was credited with the last 3 balloons he got on the day he died. Supposedly it's listed in his CMOH citation.

Later all

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Old 15 September 1998, 08:38 PM   #7
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Thanks for all the enthusiasm! I thought I was this obscure admirer of a little celebrated WW1 air hero! The responses were more than I had anticipated.
I just contacted a source last week (rare book dealer in Florida) that had an original edition of "The Balloon Buster: Frank Luke of Arizona", for sale. It cost me many pale face dollar but its on its way via UPS.
I know the book contains alot of extraneous information but seeing how I'm performing a thorough thesis on him I need to cover ALL possible resources in order to be credible! Thanks again! Stacy "Mutley" Studstill
Old 16 September 1998, 07:08 AM   #8
Paul Reece
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A book I have states:

...Lukes death was heroic, it's aftermath tragic. The report of the Graves Registration Officer who finally found his grave on the 29th September 1918 arouses deep sadness even seventy years on.
"From the inspection of the grave and interviews held with the inhabitants of this town, the following information was learned with regard to this aviator and his heroism.
Previous to being killed he had brought down three German balloons, two German aeroplanes and dropped hand bombs killing eleven German soldiers and wounding a number of others.
He was wounded himself in the shoulder and evidently had to make a forced landing. Upon landing he opened fire with his automatic and fought till he was killed.
It is also reported that the Germans took his shoes, leggings, and money leaving his grave unmarked."

Taken from "The First Great Air War" By Richard Townsend Bickers. first pub .1988
The book also gives his score as 21
Good luck in your research

Old 17 September 1998, 09:15 AM   #9
John Cummings
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A lot of us think of Luke as a real, if underappreciated, hero.
There is (or was) an American Aviation Historical Society which put out a quarterly journal (called the AAHS Journal) and the issue of Fall 1972 has a super article by Royal Frey, a retired light colonel, Air Force, who was (is?) Chief of Research Division, U.S. Air Force Museum. Try to get that article.
Also, Frank's younger brother Bill owned a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership in Phoenix, now owned and run by Bill's son Don. Don's wife is a very knowledgeable person with good info about Frank.
Good luck on your research. Don't believe the story of his crossing the flooded river in front of the Indian hunting party.


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