Lewis Selwyn Webster Collection

Lewis Selwyn Webster was born in 1892. After graduating from high school, Webster enrolled in the University of Illinois but left college to join the U.S. Army Air Service during World War I. Webster completed Ground School at the University of Illinois in January 1918 and then went to flight training at Rich Field in Texas which he completed in June of that year. Webster then completed a flying instructor's course at Brooks Field, Texas before being ordered to Call Field, Texas and subsequently to Langley Field, Virginia. In October 1919, Webster participated in the first mass transcontinental air race, dubbed by the Air Service the "Transcontinental Reliability and Endurance Test," which was organized by General William "Billy" Mitchell. Webster finished seventh. Webster served under Mitchell with the 1st Provisional Air Brigade and, in June and July of 1921, participated in the sinking of German battleships in an area off the Chesapeake Bay under a program of aerial bombing tests operated jointly by the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. Under this same program, Webster participated in the sinking of the USS Alabama (BB-8) in September of that year. From 1922 to 1925, Webster served at France Field in the Panama Canal Zone in the capacity of engineering officer of the 7th Observation Squadron. Webster returned to Langley Field in November 1925 and completed Air Corps Tactical School there in 1939. From 1942 to 1944, Webster was the Commanding Officer of the 36th Fighter Squadron in Australia and New Guinea, and from 1945 to 1948 he commanded the 4832nd Specialized Depot in Topeka, Kansas. In 1948, Webster retired from military service as a Colonel and was active in civic and social service organizations in Lakeland, Florida until his death in 1957. A small portion of the collection pertains to Lewis Selwyn Webster's son, Lewis Frazer Webster, who served with the U.S. Air Force and was killed in action in Korea in 1952.