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 … Read the rest
It was the proud privilege of both the Prince brothers to give their active services to France on the battle fronts. Having passed their boyhood and early youth together, performing the same tasks and enjoying the same recreations, Frederick and Norman developed similar ambitions and aptitudes, particularly in their more strenuous activities. Moreover, they had obtained in part their early education in France, and the call to the French colours at the outbreak of the war appealed almost as strongly to them as to the patriotic Frenchmen. Norman’s early experience as an aviator at home and abroad gave him a temporary advantage over Frederick in that he already had the preliminary training for service in the aviation corps in which both desired to enlist. He was con- sequently first of the two to realise his heart’s desire and to take the oath of allegiance to France and her cause.
It was with pardonable hesitation that permission was subsequently given by his parents to their only other son to join Norman in the perilous aviation service but it was freely given, with an appeal for God’s blessing, and Frederick sailed for France with Norman on the latter’s return from his Christmas … Read the rest
In a contribution to the World ‘s Work, James R. McConnell, a sergeant-pilot of the original American Escadrille, gave the following graphic description of the engagement in which his comrade Prince lost his life. It is a pathetic circumstance that but a short time after he had written this tribute, Sergeant McConnell himself met the same fate as that which befell his American comrade, his dead body having been found within the German lines where he had fallen in an aerial combat with the enemy.
“On the 12th of October, twenty small aeroplanes flying in a ‘V’ formation, at such height that they resembled a flock of geese, crossed the Rhine River, where it skirts the plains of Alsace, and, turning north, headed for the famous Mauser works at Oberndorf. Following in their wake was an equal number of larger machines, and above these darted and circled swift fighting planes. The first group of aircraft was followed by British pilots, the second by French, and four of the battle planes were from the American Escadrille. They were piloted respectively by Lieut. de Laage, Lufberry, Norman Prince and Masson. The Germans were taken by surprise, and as a result few of … Read the rest
Memories of my younger son Norman are so tender and fragrant that his bereaved father may well feel some hesitation in recording them for publication lest they may seem to those who never enjoyed intimate relations with him to have been inspired by absorbing parental pride and affection rather than by less partial and disinterested judgement. If there may be any warrant for this impression it will be readily allowed that the sacrifice of this young life in a great cause and the commingled pride and sorrow occasioned by such a martyrdom furnish adequate occasion for the warmest eulogy. To know Norman well was to love him and admire his fine traits of mind, heart, and soul.
I hardly know when our real companionship began. When he was yet a little boy, just emerging from the nursery, Norman was wise and resourceful beyond his young years. He was always reading and he was persistently inquiring about things worth knowing. His youthful self-reliance is amusingly illustrated by an incident when he was but about eleven years of age. He asked for a private tutor to teach him Latin, and he felt so sure of the kind of an instructor he wanted … Read the rest
The following letters of Norman Prince, although chiefly of an intimate and personal character, are here published as a part of the record of his experiences in the service of France and as further testimony to his tenderly affectionate nature and his constant thoughtfulness and solicitude for those he left at home.
Havre, Jan. le 29, 1915.
Dear Mamma, – I have just put foot ashore in France after a disagreeable crossing, end class. Here in Havre there are troops and troops always passing. French troops, chiefly of the reserve; thousands of English troops in khaki, Belgian troops without uniform. They all say, not at all in a boastful way, that they will be back home again by the end of the year.
Dear Mamma, I hope you are well and that papa has not taken too much at heart my leaving home at this time. I believe I can find a place to do some efficient and useful work for the cause to which am so deeply devoted.
My love to you all. I shall write often.
Affectionately your son,
Esc N. 124, Secteur 24, May 15, 1915.
Dear Governor, – Arrived en escadrille par la … Read the rest
Some of Norman’s experiences in the French aviation service were of an exceptionally thrilling character, showing the peculiar perils of aerial warfare. At the time of his last home visit on a short furlough, he was invited to relate some of these at the Tavern Club in Boston. His story, as modestly and frankly told by him on that occasion, is best given in his own words :
“I sailed for Europe in the latter part of the year 1914 in order to do what I could to help the cause which I believed, and still believe, to be that of my own country, as well as that of the Allied Nations.
“Reaching France I offered my services to that Government as an aviator. They were promptly accepted and I contracted an engagement to serve France until she had achieved victory. Seven other Americans enlisted with me at the same time as aviators, and we proceeded from our dépôt, where we were clothed, to the flying school at Pau in the south of France in the Pyrenees, where conditions for flying are exceptionally good, there being hardly any wind in that region. The school at Pau at the time was … Read the rest
It is fitting that the record of a young life of high aspiration, of fine achievement, and, finally, of supreme self-sacrifice on a world’s battlefield, should be permanently preserved, not only for the satisfaction of those near relatives and friends who deeply mourn its tragic and untimely end, but for the sense of pride and rapture of soul which the contemplation of such a record everywhere inspires. Grievous as it is to see a young and happy life cut off at the threshold of a promising career, there is compensation as well as consolation for such a fate when the fine fervor of youth, thoroughly imbued with a loyal and patriotic spirit, has won for its possessor the well-deserved plaudit of living and dying a hero. Such was the fate and such the reward of the subject of this memoir.
Norman Prince was the younger of the two sons of Frederick Henry and Abigail (Norman) Prince. He was a grandson of Frederick o. Prince, an eminent citizen of Massachusetts and a Mayor of Boston, and of George H Norman, a distinguished citizen of Newport, Rhode Island. He was born August 31, 1887, at Pride’s Crossing, Massachusetts, receiving his early education … Read the rest