On the occasion of the reception given by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston to the French Envoys who came to this country in an official capacity, the patriotic devotion and sacrifice of Norman Prince were gracefully alluded to by the Envoys who included in their number M. René Viviani, Minister of Justice, Marshal Joffre, Vice- Admiral Chocheprat and the Marquis de Chambrun, Deputy, and descendant of Lafayette. At the lunch in Faneuil Hall, given by the City of Boston, Vice-Admiral Chocheprat, in his reply to the Mayor’s address of welcome, paid a touching tribute to “Mr Frederick H. Prince’s son Norman, the gallant young aviator who sacrificed his life for France, and the cause of the Allies”. Thereupon Marshal Joffre arose from his seat at the table and placing his hand over his heart made a bow to the young hero’s father, who sat by the Marshal’s side and who was acting as chairman of the reception committee.
Subsequently at the reception given to the Envoys at the Boston Public Library, M. Viviani, in concluding his graceful response to Governor McCall’s address of welcome, said:
“ I salute that young hero, Norman Prince, who has died after having fought not only for France, but for America, because we have the same ideals of right and liberty”.
M. Henri Franklin Bouillon, French Minister of International Affairs, who made an official visit to this country later on, took occasion to express his admiration of this fine American aviator. Speaking subsequently at a public gathering in London of his observations in America he said “I cannot better express to you the sentiment of the American people than by quoting that young American hero Norman Prince, who, in acknowledging a salute to the American aviators in Paris, said, “We have done what we have done; you must judge us by our hearts”.
As Norman Prince was among the first of the American volunteers offering their services to France and to make the supreme sacrifice for her cause, it was but natural that his fate occasioned widespread and deeply sympathetic comment. The mournful tidings served in no small measure to bring home to the American people a more adequate realisation of the fact that it was a World War that was waging on the European battle-fields and that the sooner this situation was recognised here the better for the cause of civilisation everywhere. The messages of sympathy and appreciation were as numerous and universal as they were fervent and sincere. They found expression in the press, in the pulpit and in the forum, and the name of this hero came to be accepted as a fitting symbol of patriotism and self-sacrifice. Few of these messages were more tender and appreciative than those which came from Norman’s comrades in the aviation service in France. Commanders and subordinates were alike in this respect. A message from the comrades gathered at his bedside when he died said:
“Norman passed peacefully away this morning. He died like the brave man he was. He was more than a brother to us. We are all heartbroken”.
The French Government took formal and appreciative notice of the event, the representative of the French Army in this country sending this message to the family:
“The French Government transmits to you expressions of its deep and sorrowful sympathy on the occasion of your son’s glorious death. In my name as Military Attache representing the French Army in the United States I desire to say that his death has been for all his French comrades a cause of profound grief. It is with the greatest admiration that we have seen all these gallant young Americans risking and giving their lives for the cause of France. Their memory deserves to be kept in the hearts of our compatriots as is that of Lafayette in this country. We bow gratefully and respectfully before his grave”.
Representing the British Admiralty, Rear-Admiral Alfred E. A. Grant sent this message from London : “It was splendid of him to come over to fight for the Allies. You could have felt nothing but pride to have heard how his commanding officers speak of him – of his popularity with all his comrades; how gallantly and faithfully he performed his duties and how deeply his loss is regretted by all who knew him”.
Rev. Dr. Endicott Peabody of the Groton School wrote : “I must tell you how deeply Mrs. Peabody and I sympathise with you in Norman’s death. He gave his life in a great cause. That will be a comfort to you both, and he met his death with the courage that is characteristic of his family. Even with these con- siderations, I realise that your hearts must be heavy. It will please you to know that one of Norman’s classmates at Groton, who had followed his career in France with keen interest, has sent a contribution toward a memorial that he desires established at the school”.
Speaking for the Harvard Class of 1909 of which Norman was a member, its Secretary, Francis A. Harding, said: “On behalf of the Harvard Class of 1909, I wish to express the very deep regret which every Harvard man, and especially every classmate of Norman s, has felt after reading the announcement of his death in France. To those of us who knew Norman intimately, the news of his death comes as a distinct shock, and every member of our class feels proud to have known and to have been affiliated with one who had the courage to give in such a noble way everything he possessed to the great cause in which he believed”.
From South Carolina Senator Tillman wrote: “Your son gave his young life in defence of what all of us know is a sacred cause.He was a twentieth century Lafayette, a modern knight errant whose Statue will yet grace the capital of France. Prince? Yes, a Prince indeed ‘sans peur et sans reproche”.
Many other thoughtful and tender messages from others, friends and strangers, at home and abroad, testifying their commingled sorrow and admiration. Senator Henry Cabot Lodge telegraphed from Washington this tribute:
“Nothing could have been more gallant than his life nothing finer than his death in a great cause, dear to his heart”.
An eloquent and fitting epitaph!
Decorations awarded to Norman Prince by the French Government:
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Star, won for being cited in L’Ordre du Jour of his Division for having been the only one of twenty-five aviators to reach Douai in 1915.
First Palm, won for being cited in L’Ordre du Jour of the French Army for having brought down an enemy avion.
Second Palm, for having brought down two enemy avions on the same day – at the same time receiving the
Third Palm, cited in L’Ordre du Jour for having brought down a fourth enemy avion, and for meritorious service in a raid on the Mauser ammunition works at Oberndorf – at the same time receiving the
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