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Elliott C. Cowdin

pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille

In March of 1915 he was assigned to the French Flying School at Avord for pilot training. After winning his brevet he was promoted to corporal and then sent to Pau for advanced training on the Neiuport. From there he was assigned to Escadrille N.6, the N stood for Neiuport, most likely the Nieuport 10, the 6 stood for the sixth flotilla or escadrille. In October of 1915 he was mentioned in orders for attacking two German aircraft of which one was shot down by his French observer with his machine gun fire, the other fled.

Codwin took leave in December of 1915 when he and two friends, Norman Prince and William Thaw, returned to the United States. While on leave there was some speculation that the three would be detained because the United States was a neutral nation at the time and they were Officers and NCO's of a beligerent nation.

After returning to France Cowdin reported back to N.6 until being reassigned to the Escadrille Americaine on April 28, 1916. Elliott Codwins tour with N.124 was comparatively short. In May of 1916 he was diegnosed as having ulsers from induced stress. Many, at the time, interpreted this to be an excuse for cowardice. I will remind the reader that the escadrille was devided into two camps. Kiffin Rockwell and Norman Prince were decidely at odds with one another and they did soliciate following. Cowdin and Norman Prince were friends and as such, Cowdin, was unpopular with many of the men in the opposing camp and looked upon him as a shirker. One other point I will make is that the first person written history were nearly all made by men in the Rockwell camp and were decidely biased. I have no doubt that the feelings expressed were honest in their own perspective but slanted just the same.

In October of 1915, while serving with N.6 Cowdin was cited for bravery. Rumors in N.124 were that he won the citation in the bar buying drinks for his superiors. Again rumors incited by conflict between two camps, none of the other pilots served in N.6, therefore no first hand knowledge. His second citation came in May of 1916 while serving with N.124. This second citation had to come from the hand of Captaine Georges Thenault. Captaine Thenaults book "The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille" only references Cowdin as one of the first seven members of the escadrille. Thenault was a man of honor in charge of a bunch of unruley Americans, many of which gave him fits, to put it litely.

Elliott Cowdin was excused from duty on June 25, 1916, fifty-eight days after his arrival with N.124. He received a medical discharge and released from the Aéronautique Militaire in October of 1916. He was then retained by the Royal Flying Corps and served the British ferrying and delivering aircraft to the French.

Cowdin returned to the United States after the death of his uncle, Elliott C. Cowdin, whom he was named after, in May of 1917. He inherited his uncles estate, referred to as Maplehurst, in Mount Kisco, New York.

Before the end of the war, Elliot Cowdin was accepted as a Major in the United States Army Air service in which he was placed in charge of inspecting airfields. He was discharged from the USAAS in 1919. After his discharge from the U.S.A.A.S. he returned to being a sportsman playing polo.

Elliot Cowdin died from cancer in January 1933 at His Home in Palm Beach, Fla.