Stan Walsh Authors Book On World War Observation Spy Plane
Filmmaker Stan Walsh, an ex- U.S. Air Force aviator himself, has produced a new book that expands the generally untold story of observation spy plane flying during World War I.
First, Over the Front, tells the flying exploits of Lt. Billy Schauffler Jr.—later Colonel—in letters written from the front to his family in America.
Schauffler was a member of the U.S. Air Service 1st Squadron—the first to carry the Stars and Stripes across enemy lines. His letters gave “us a close-up look at the hair-raising exploits of observation flying” and “the joys and frustrations of men performing the art of aerial spying.”
Stan, a childhood friend of Billy Schauffler’s daughter, Kate, first became aware of her father when he was invited to the family’s Lakewood, New Jersey, home for a Halloween party in the mid-1930s and saw the pilot’s memorabilia, including a wooden propeller and a framed airplane fabric “that bore the dreaded black cross of an enemy fighter.”
It wasn’t until 70 years later that he discovered the pilot’s letters while visiting the same daughter—now Kate Hawkins—at her home in La Canada, California.
Stan confessed, “On a personal level [the book] is a thank you to Col. Schauffler for organizing young men of our town, Lakewood, N.J., as Volunteer Auxiliary Firemen. When the Zeppelin Hindenburg crashed, the group worked as tireless ‘go-fers’ for the rescuers.”
Stan and his volunteers toiled on and off for five years to prepare the letters for the printed page. He was assisted by retired filmmaker Jocelyn Green and a former New Jersey friend, Vernon Pack. Jocelyn’s son Randy Green, painted the striking cover for the book.
The World War I Museum in Kansas City and the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, have both expressed keen interest in selling the book in their gift shops.
Editor: To read a copy of Stan’s book, eMail him at firstname.lastname@example.org Price is $20 plus $3 postage—better than bookstores.