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WW1 Letter written by Ace Pilot Rickenbacker to MIA pilot's Mother

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World War One658 of 687WW1 Trench Art Inkwell and pen stand c. 1917WWI Field Telephone - Signal Corps US Army
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    Posted 13 years ago

    (977 items)

    Letter written on 18 November 1918 from Hqrs, 94th Aero Squadron:

    My dear Mrs. Scroggie:
    It is with great pleasure and joy that we received from the American Red Cross at Berne, Switzerland, the glad tidings and news that your son, Eugene had been slightly wounded in the left leg and made a prisoner of war.
    It is with deep regret and I apologize for not having written you previously regarding your son’s disappearance, but having been on the same mission with him, when he disappeared, I have always had an uncanny feeling that sometime in the near future we would hear from him and find that he was quiet well; consequently, I dared not write you for fear that I may either lead you to believe that the worst had happened or give you food for false allusions, which may prove out the reverse. Consequently, I beg your forgiveness.
    I wish you to feel that during the short time your son was on the front and in my command, I can only speak of him in the highest terms of a most capable pilot, brave and daring; in fact, too much so, for his apparent inexperience, which success so greatly depends on. We most fully realize the boy’s loveable character, and his dashing spirit was an inspiration for the still younger pilots who joined the squadron.
    In conclusion can only wish that the weeks will be few before you have the opportunity of seeing and greeting your son back home with open arms.
    Most respectfully yours

    E.V. Rickenbacker,
    Captain, Air Service, USA.,
    Commanding Squadron.

    Captain Eddie Rickenbacker is one of the most well known figures in early aviation. He was awarded the Medal of Honor and seven Distinguished Service Crosses (DSC) for his WW1 service. He was an ace several times over with 26 confirmed aerial victories. Post war, he continued in aviation and was the owner and President of Eastern Air Lines. He was a very prolific signer and his post war Eastern Air Lines material is readily available. WW1 era signatures are much harder to find.

    The subject of the letter, First LT Eugene Scroggie, is credited with one aerial victory on September 27th, 1918. He was shot down on October 3rd, 1918 and received a bullet wound to the foot.

    Interestingly in his memoirs (Fighting the Flying Circus), Eddie Rickenbacker confirms the circumstances of writing this EXACT letter: "Avery, as well as Eugene Scroggie, one of my pilots from Des Moines, Iowa, were missing. I had seen one Spad fall but could not tell which of these pilots was in it. But in spite of this uncertainty I felt so confident that both pilots were not dead but merely prisoners that I put off writing to their parents for weeks. At the cessation of hostilities both of these boys were turned back to us by Germany."

    Rarely is it possible to so completely document a piece of history.



    1. scottvez scottvez, 13 years ago
      Does anyone know of any sales (auction or otherwise) of WW I era Rickenbacker letters?

    2. MikeHebert MikeHebert, 13 years ago
      I love that letter! Such an awesome piece of history and in such a period of War combined with the subject matter ....I value it highly. I would recommend Sotheby's International or Christies Auction House. There is not a World War I collector, nor a militaria collector, nor an aviation collector who would give his eye teeth for your letter.
    3. Savoychina1 Savoychina1, 13 years ago
      Pretty dank. I thought I was lucky to have an autographed book...
    4. scottvez scottvez, 13 years ago
      It is not for sale. I got it very cheap and it is a keeper.

    5. MikeHebert MikeHebert, 13 years ago
      Yup....This would be the Pearl of any collection. Congrats Scott! great pick!
    6. scottvez scottvez, 13 years ago
      I got it about 10 years ago. Unfortunately the owner had already sold his uniform with wings-- I felt lucky to get the letter, but it would be great to have the entire grouping.

    7. scottvez scottvez, 13 years ago
      Thanks Savoy, Stepback and Mike.
    8. packrat-place packrat-place, 12 years ago
      Love that! What a treasure you have there.
    9. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks packrat-- I appreciate you looking.

    10. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks AmericanSoul and Stonie.

    11. tlmbaran tlmbaran, 12 years ago
      AMAZING letter.....and YES, a keeper!

    12. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks Todd.

      It is one of my prized collectables. I was amazed when I first read it and was happy that I was able to purchase it.

      It has been in my collection since about 1998.

    13. scottvez scottvez, 12 years ago
      Thanks mikko.

    14. scottvez scottvez, 11 years ago
      Thanks for looking amber-- this is one of my favorites in my collection!


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