A Wonderful Photographic Record of Early Military Aviation during World War I.
The Aviation Repair Depot at Dallas Love Field.
An extensive personal photo album compiled by an unnamed early aviator stationed with the WWI-era 877 Aero Squadron (Aviation Repair Depot) at Love Field in Dallas, Texas. While many of the photos relate to the airplane engine repair shop at Love Field (including some very sharp images inside the engine repair building itself), the album also contains over a dozen images of airplanes, in flight, and on the ground, including several horrendous-looking crashed aircraft. The aerial views include the Aviation Repair Depot complex at Love Field, and views of airplanes in flight above metropolitan Dallas, such as Italian-designed Caproni Ca.3s, which were used by the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.
The album includes a very nice panoramic group portrait of the uniformed airmen assigned to the 877 Aero Squadron in Dallas. The 877th was organized in June 1918 and was tasked as a repair squadron attached to Love Field to deal with wrecked aircraft and to overhaul engines. The squadron demobilized in March 1919, but the repair depot remained open until 1921.
About half of the photographs in the album are family snapshots of unidentified people, including young women, but also of uniformed men, posing alone or in groups. Many of these photographs were likely taken in and around Dallas. Some of the family snapshots show homes in semi-rural locales, an occasional horse, and several with people posing in automobiles on the road, suggesting auto travel vacation excursions. A few images appear to be of European scenes and there are three printed postcards from Nässjö, Sweden. Most of the images are individually dated, in a neat hand, as from 1918 or 1919, with a few from 1920 and even later in the 1920s.
Dallas Love Field dates to 1917 when the Army decided to establish a series of airfield stations to train prospective pilots after the United States entered World War I. The complex, which officially opened in October 1917, eventually comprised dozens of buildings for the maintenance and repair of aircraft, officers’ quarters, even a hospital. Enlisted men generally bivouacked in tents.
A sample of the identified images (as captioned in the negatives or handwritten on the prints themselves):
Starting a motor in American Caproni 3 Liberty 12's - 6/19 at Love Field, Tex.
Lt. Jack Moran in "D" 5000 feet over Dallas, Hurd & Cushman in DeHaviland.
Dallas Aviation Repair Dep. About 1200 feet.
Leiut. Campbell [Army pilot in biplane marked "Love Field" and with wings of the U.S. Army Air Service]
Aviation Repair Depot, 1918-1919. The Hospital.
877 Aero Squadron. A.R.D. Oct. 6, 1918, Dallas, Texas.
877 Aero Squadron - 1919. Swords, Johnson, Hoag, Lenzenmayer.
Aviation Repair Depot - 1918. Engine Repair Shop.
Caproni over Dallas
Caproni 3-Libertys - 5 men - 3 propellers.
Lt. Anderson - crash.
Airplane Assembly, A.R.D. Dallas, Texas. 1919
A remarkable visual record of stateside wartime aviation operations from World War I as compiled by a young airman stationed at Dallas Love Field with the 877 Aero Squadron of the U.S. Army Air Service.