The Aeroconservancy Museum Original Artifacts from 1914-1918
Lafayette Escadrille Pilot's Wartime Letter
A four-page letter written by Edmond Charles Clinton Genet to his brother, Rivers, dated November 30, 1915. Genet is still in the trenches with the Foreign Legion but the month before he had applied for a transfer to aviation. He writes to his brother, Rivers, that he was recently on leave in Paris and was well feted by friends, including a fellow Legioneer who was recuperating from a wound and that he brought with him to Paris a suitcase full of souvenirs and deposited it with his hotelkeeper for safekeeping. Genet had deserted from the U.S. Navy to join the French Foreign Legion and began his letter asking if his brother had made any attempt to write the Navy Department to "ascertain what is necessary" to clear his record. “Have you or Mother or Uncle Blair done anything yet concerning writing a letter to the Navy Department? It is now almost a year since I left the “US.” and it seems to me it will be an easy matter to ascertain that is necessary. I wrote to Mom. and uncle Blair about it somewhere about October 15th or so but left it to them, Mom. especially, to write to you." Genet joined the Lafayette Escadrille on 22 January 1917. He was shot-down on 17 April 1917. In 1918, Scribner's published War Letters of Edmond Genet the First American Aviator Killed Flying the Stars and Stripes. The text of this letter is included on pages 116-117. The original letter, itself, was found inside the front of the book, which is inscribed ”With the love of his 'little Mother'” and signed Martha R. F. Genet. Her son was the great grandson of Edmond-Charles Genêt, also known as Citizen Genêt, who was the French envoy to the United States during the French Revolution.