Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Monday, July 22, 2019

Remembering a Veteran: Gorman De Freest Larner, Lafayette Flying Corps & 103rd U.S. Aero Squadron

By Steve Miller

Capt. Larner
Gorman De Freest Larner was born on 5 July 1897 in Washington, DC. After the US entry into WW I, he applied as an officer in the US Signal Corps. Rejected because of his age, he sailed for France and joined the Service Aeronautique. Following flight training he served with Escadrille SPAD 86 from 3 December 7 to 1 April 1918 with the rank of caporal. On 24 April 1918 he was commissioned first lieutenant, U.S. Air Service, but continued to fly with Spa 86 until 15 June 1918. He was awarded France's Croix de Guerre with Two Palms for the destruction of two German aircraft.

On 16 June 1918 Larner transferred to the 103rd Aero Squadron, U.S. Air Service, and was a flight commander until the Armistice. He downed five additional enemy aircraft and was awarded the U.S. Distinguished Service Cross, with a Bronze Oak Leaf. Promoted to captain on 8 November 1918, he served as an intelligence officer on the staff of Colonel House at the Paris Peace Commission.

Gorman De Freest Larner, his wife, and one of his two daughters are
buried about 6 miles (10 km) north of Easton, MD.

In WW II he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps as a colonel, initially as an air attache in London before being reassigned to the Pentagon. Post-WWII he became general manager of the National Aeronautical Association and chairman of Robinson Aviation of Teterboro, NJ. He died in Easton, MD, on 20 May 1984.

Acknowledgement: Dennis Gordon, The Lafayette Flying Corps, Schiffer Military History


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