When the First Aeronautic Detachment landed in France June 8, 1917, its commanding officer, Lt. Kenneth Whiting, went to Paris and made arrangements with the French to train these American Naval Aviation personnel to fly and maintain French flying boats. American air crews would use them to patrol against German submarines menacing ships transporting much needed supplies from America to our European allies.
The northwest shore of Lac Lacanau was named as the site for the American flight training base, “NAS Moutchic”. A beautiful chateau as seen in the above attachments became the headquarters building. Although detioriated, much of it remains standing today.
Nine American Naval Air personnel died during the wartime operational life of NAS Moutchic from flight training accidents or other causes. The French people of that area generously raised a memorial column nearby to our heroic dead.
A better detail of NAS Moutchic can be found in the book “Sailor of the Air”.
A few American, English and French citizens would like to follow the requirements of the American Battle Monuments Commission and raise the necessary funds to restore that headquarters bldg. thus enabling it to be turned over to ABMC and named a WWI historic site. There are so few remaining examples of once active military WWI buildings that it seems a worthwhile effort.
Countless beautiful, historic aircraft have been salvaged and restored, at great expense, many to flying status. Help us to locate historians with reputable credentials and previous experience in restoration projects who might be willing to champion this complex effort. For more info, contact Lawrence Sheely at lizlar@Tampabay.rr.com.