Lt. Alfred De Laage De Meux
Lt. Alfred De Laage De Meux was the descendant of a line of French warriors and had previously served in the 14 eme Regiment de Dragons, with which he received a wound in the thigh on August 31, 1914 and rescued by his orderly, Cpl. Jean Dressy.
Based upon his record and because he spoke fluent English, Captaine Georges Thenault requested that he join a new unit made up of volunteer Americans as Executive Officer. This unit known as the Escadrille Americaine N.124 and later renamed Escadrille Lafayette for political reasons. De Laage, because he spoke perfect English, which helped immensely, and he took a great personal interest in the men, especially the new arrivals. As he told Edwin Parsons upon his arrival to the unit, “I only ask that you fly well, that you fight hard and that you act as a man. I demand that you obey, explicitly and without hesitation, any orders I give when I am leading combat patrols…and I expect that you share the responsibility for the upholding the good name of the squadron, and we shall get along quite well.”
Corporal Jean Dressy also was assigned to the escadrille, at the request of de Laage, as a mechanic. He was later killed in action serving as a machine gunner.
Captaine Thenault considered de Laage wrecklessly brave. De Laage, was killed on May 23, 1917, crashed performing a stunt on take off while test flying a new Spad VII. The plane’s motor stalled 200 feet above the airfield, after he had taken off too steeply, and he spun into the ground and died instantly in front of his squadron mates.