Tuesday, February 13, 2018

David Endicott Putnam's Spad

  More Wings of War repaints...

  Possibly the best known yet unknown ace from the great war.

   I have a weak spot for flyers from the early age of aviation from the Wright Brothers through the First world war. This is especially true for local pilots or events that occurred in the New England states.  My poor family gets driven to distraction by my trips to local sites.  Had to visit Gordon college as it was the home of Norman Prince who was one of the founders of the Lafayette Escadrille. Visited the site of the home of Frank Leaman Baylies of New Bedford.  I had to visit the site of the crash where Hariott Quimby died.  But my favorite pilot was David Endicott Putnam.

 Putnam was a local man from Massachusetts with a family history that dates back to before the Revolutionary war.  He left Harvard before graduation  (he was awarded  a posthumous degree in 1920) and worked his way across the Atlantic on a cattle boat to join the French Foriegn Legion on May 1917.  He transferred to the French Air Corp, passed flight school and was assigned to fighter squadrons in December 1917.  After successfully flying with the French he transferred to the American Air Corp in June 1918.  He commanded the 134 and later the 138 squadrons.  At the time of his death he was the top American ave with 13 confirmed victories.  He had many more unconfirmed because of the very strict standards the French used to confirm victories.  When asked if it bothered him so many of his victories went unconfirmed, he said "The Germans know what I did.". He was killed in action in September 1918.  He is buried in France at the LaFayette Escadrille memorial.

"The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to David E. Putnam, First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Lachaussee, France, September 12, 1918. After destroying one of the eight German planes which had attacked him, Lieutenant Putnam was turning to our lines, when he saw seven Fokkers attack an allied biplane. He attacked the Germans and saved the biplane, but was himself driven down, shot through the heart.
General Orders 71, W.D., 1919"

   In researching Putnam's aircraft I wanted to represent his Spad XIII.  Based on black and white pictures, and modern art from modelers I came up with the color scheme.  The squadron insignia is copied from the actual one removed from his plane after his death which is in display at the Air Force museum at Dayton Ohio. The ribbon is his command strip as squadron commander. 

   It was a fun research project and I now have a very unique air craft.


  1. Another cool aeroplane off your workbench!

  2. An interesting story and a fine piece of work. Vale Mr. Putnam.