Surprisingly, although the American Wright brothers pioneered heavier than air flight in 1903, no US designed aircraft saw action with the US Army Air Service during the Great War.
As a major aircraft manufacturing centre thanks to the Armstrong Whitworth factory at Gosford, Newcastle had several airfields, including the Town Moor used to test fly newly manufactured planes, while nearby Cramlington provided a training base for British and US airmen. In July 1918, a US Aero Squadron of 140-150 men under Lieutenant Robert Lee was based there.
The US dreadnoughts were formed into the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet under Admiral Rodman. Operating from Scapa Flow they undertook training cruises with the Royal Navy until fully operational.
The US Army began to arrive as troops became available in sufficient quantity. Although the majority went directly to France, some did come to Britain. Amongst these were airmen undertaking training on British combat aircraft…
With US entry into war, Lord Mayor of Newcastle wrote to Walter Hamm, US Consul to the city: “Your country and ours are alike fighting to preserve their ideals of liberty and freedom, not so much for themselves as for the other peoples of the world.”