Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

In August 1914, Paul Ayres Rockwell (b.1889) and his brother, Kiffin Yates Rockwell, Americans of French extraction, volunteered to fight for France in the coming war (World War I). The photographs in this collection were (with very few exceptions) taken by Paul Rockwell from 1914 to 1918. Further information can be found in Paul Ayres Rockwell's book, American Fighters in the Foreign Legion 1914-1918 (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1930) [SIL Catalog No. D548.35 R6X NASM].

Collection Item Long Description:


  • World War, 1914-1918--Aerial operations
  • Aeronautics, Military
  • Aeronautics
  • World War, 1914-1918

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum Archives

Restrictions & Rights

No restrictions on access


Rockwell, Paul Ayres 1889-


  • Rockwell, Paul Ayres 1889-
  • Rockwell, Kiffin Yates
  • France Armée Escadrille Lafayette
  • France Armée Légion étrangère

Physical description

0.20 cubic feet (4 folders)


  • 1914
  • 1914-1918


The Rockwells were assigned to Battalion C, 2nd Marching Regiment, of the Second Foreign Regiment of the French Foreign Legion. First stationed near Toulouse, France, on October 2, 1914, they arrived at Camp de Mailly, and soon saw action in trenches near Craonelle. Photos show the Americans both in the trenches and relaxing behind the lines. Paul Rockwell was wounded in Winter 1914-1915; after a long hospital stay he was invalided out of the Legion but "...remained in France to be near his brother, and engaged in French propaganda work." (Rockwell, p. 58). In April 1915, Kiffin Rockwell transferred to the First Foreign Regiment, joining the American Squad in Company 2, Battalion B. On September 2, 1915, he transferred to the French Aviation Service. On April 16, 1916 the Escadrille de Chasse Nieuport 124 (l'Escadrille Americaine), known as the "Lafayette Escadrille"; it was composed of American volunteer aviators under the command of French officers. The Escadrille's first victory was scored by Kiffin Rockwell on May 18, 1916. Photos from this period center around the activities of the Escadrille, predominantly depicting pilots and off-duty scenes, but including a number of aircraft photos. On September 23, 1916, Kiffin was shot down near Rodern, Alsace, and killed. Paul Rockwell continued to photograph the Escadrille through 1917; the few photos from (late) 1918 are of grave sites.

Repository Loc.

National Air and Space Museum, Archives Division, MRC 322, Washington, DC, 20560


  • Photographs
  • Collection descriptions

Local number