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Name: Sumner Sewall
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC - United States) with Oak Leaf Cluster
Légion d'Honneur
Order of the Crown [Belgium]
Croix de Guerre [France]
Sumner Sewall
Country: United States
Rank: Captain
Service: United States Air Service
Units: 95th Aero
Victories: 7
Born: 17 June 1897
Place of Birth: Bath, Maine, USA
Died: 25 January 1965
Place of Death: Bath, Maine, USA
Cemetery: Oak Grove Cemetery, Bath, Maine, USA Image
The son of William D. and Mary L. (Sumner) Sewall, Sumner Sewall left Yale (class of 1920) in his freshman year to join the United States Ambulance Service and served on the Western Front before joining the United States Air Service in Paris on 23 August 1917. In February 1918, he was assigned to the 95th Aero Squadron, eventually becoming a flight commander. Flying the SPAD XIII, he was credited with seven victories including two balloons. Though unconfirmed, it is believed that Sewall shot down Otto Rosenfeld behind the German lines on 7 July 1918. Two days before the Armistice was signed, a Fokker pilot became lost in the fog and landed at the 95th's aerodrome. With revolvers drawn, Sewall and two other pilots captured the German and his plane (Fokker D.VII 4635/18 is in the Smithsonian Museum). He was discharged from the army at Garden City, New York on 20 February 1919. After the war, Sewall graduated from Yale, became a director of United Air Lines and entered politics. A Republican state senator during the 1930's, he was elected governor of the state of Maine during World War II.
The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, 26 January 1965, page 20
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Sumner Sewall, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for repeated acts of extraordinary heroism in action near Menil-la-Tour, France, June 3, 1918, and near Landres-St.-Georges, France, October 13, 1918. On June 3, Lieutenant Sewall with two other pilots attacked a formation of sis hostile planes. Through his companions were forced to withdraw because of jammed guns, he continued in the fight for 15 minutes and succeeded in sending one of his adversaries down in flames. On October 18, while on a voluntary patrol, this officer saw an American observation plane being attacked by a German machine (Fokker type), accompanied by eight other hostile planes. He immediately attacked and destroyed the Fokker and was in turn attacked by the eight planes. By skillful maneuvering he evaded them and escorted the observation plane back to our lines.
General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Sumner Sewall, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Rocourt, France, July 7, 1918. Lieutenant Sewall fearlessly attacked a formation of five enemy planes (type K Fokker) and separated one from the group, pursued it far behind the enemy's lines and sent it down in crash, following it within 30 meters of the ground in spite of severe fire from a machine-gun, rifles, and anti-aircraft guns, bullets from which passed through his clothing.
General Orders No. 32, W.D., 1919
Croix de Guerre
A pilot eager to fight and devoted to duty. On 3 June 1918, he attacked with his patrol an enemy formation of six planes, pursued one of them to 200 meters above the ground and brought it down. During the operations between the Marne and Aisne Rivers, he spent his energy without restraint, brought down an enemy plane in flames and forced a second adversary to land.
French Croix de Guerre citation
u/c GermanyOtto Rosenfeld
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 03 Jun 1918 95th SPAD XIII Two-seater Dieulouard
2 05 Jul 1918 95th SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII 1 Château Thierry
3 16 Jul 1918 95th SPAD XIII Two-seater 2 Château Thierry
4 26 Jul 1918 95th SPAD XIII Rumpler C 3 Villeneuve-sur-Fère
5 18 Sep 1918 1635 95th SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII Landres
6 04 Nov 1918 1540 95th SPAD XIII Balloon 4 Boinville
7 05 Nov 1918 0625 95th SPAD XIII Balloon Hannonville

1 Shared with Lt Waldo H Heinrichs, Lt J L Mitchell
2 Shared with Lt Edward Curtis
3 Shared with Lt C S Gill, Lt Waldo H Heinrichs, Lt James Knowles, Lt G W Puryear
4 Shared with Lt A J Weatherhead
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)
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