The black uniform was designated for use by French engineering units. Often during the war, French aviators adopted uniforms of their former units or one of a style of their own choosing. The winged star collar insignia designated them as members of the air service.
This uniform was worn by Kiffin Rockwell while flying with the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I. Kiffin and his brother Paul went to France in August 1914 and joined the French Foreign Legion. Kiffin entered combat in the winter of 1915 and was severely wounded at Neuville-Saint-Vaast later that May. Following a lengthy convalescence, Kiffin obtained a transfer to the French Air Service and was one of the original members of the Escadrille Lafayette, a squadron of American pilots flying for France. Rockwell shot down his first of four German aircraft on May 18, 1916, in Alsace. On September 23, 1916, he was shot down over Verdun and buried at Luxiul. For his services to France, Rockwell was awarded the Medaille Miliataire and the Croix de Guerre with two palms.
Donated by Mr. Paul A. Rockwell
Country of Origin: France
Clothing: 86.4 x 68.6 x 5.1cm (34 x 27 x 2 in.)
Overall: Wool, brass, cotton
Black wool French Air Service service coat; single breasted with 9 brass buttons down front; two front upper flap pockets with box pleats and two front lower flap pockets; flap collar with Aircraft crew badge on each collar tab (gold wire five point star with red embroidered and gold wire half wing).