Norman Prince, the young American who founded the Lafayette Escadrille and who gave his life for a cause that he believed to be that of his country and the world while flying for France in the early years of the World War, is to be accorded sepulture in the Nation’s Capital. Formal announcement of the plans for the translation of the body of the famous flying ace from France to the United States was made recently by the Bishop of Washington, who also made public the receipt by the Cathedral of a gift from Frederick H. Prince of Boston, the father of the fallen hero, which provides for a memorial chapel on the main floor of the great church structure.
This chapel will contain the tomb of Norman Prince and will be situated in the south choir aisle immediately adjoining the sanctuary. It will be known as the Chapel of St. John and as the place of sepulture of the gallant young aviator will commemorate “the chivalry, fortitude, and Christian courage of Norman Prince and others who made the supreme sacrifice through devotion to liberty, civilization, and humanity.”
The preliminary designs are being prepared by the Cathedral architects. The cost, exclusive of the tomb (which is to be executed by an eminent sculptor, who will be selected after conferences between the donor and the Cathedral trustees) will be in excess of $200,000.
Norman Prince was one of the first Americans to volunteer for service in the World War. His record is one of the episodes in the valorous story of “Those first defenders of our country’s precious name,” as the late ambassador Myron T. Herrick described them at the dedication of the LaFayette [sic] Escadrille memorial on the edge of the Bois de St. Cloud last summer. His death in October 1916, following a crash on the return from an aerial encounter with the enemy was mourned in all the Allied countries as well as in the United States, and his funeral was attended by a large representation of Allied military divisions, including French and English officers of high rank, as well as a full representation of French, English, and American pilots.
Up to the time of his death, the American ace had engaged in 122 aerial engagements with the enemy and was officially credited with five planes brought down in battle, not to mention four others not officially recorded. For his fine individual conduct he had won successively the Croix de Guerre, the Medaille Militaire, and the Croix de la Legion d’Honneur, and had successively achieved the ranks of sergeant, adjutant, and lieutenant. The late Senator Henry Cabot Lodge penned an eloquent epitaph in a message of sympathy to Norman’s father, when he wrote: “Nothing could have been more gallant than his life—nothing finer than his death in a great cause, dear to his heart.”