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Byrne V. Baucom Collection

Identifier: F005-78

Scope and Content

The Byrne V Baucom Collection contains materials generated by, for, and about Captain Baucom who served in the First Aero Squadron as an aerial observer in France during WWI. Items include messages, orders, reports, correspondence, negatives, portraits, postcards, maps, scrapbooks, signal flags, and uniform insignia.


  • Creation: 1912 - 1927
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1918


Language of Materials

Collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

Materials in this collection are open for research.

Literary Rights Statement

Permission to publish material from this collection in any form, current or future, must be obtained from the Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas.

Biographical Sketch

Byrne Virchow Baucom was born in Milford, Ellis County, Texas on June 19, 1892. He graduated from Milford High School in 1915, attended the University of Texas Arts and Sciences from August 1915 to May 1917 and then the University of Texas Law School from 1920 to 1921. Prior to entering service, Baucom worked as a newspaper reporter and linotype operator in Central Texas. From May 8 to August 15, 1917, Baucom attended First Officer's Training Camp in Leon Springs, Texas. At Camp Funston, he became a Second Lieutenant of the Third Battalion. He was ordered to the 343rd Field Artillery, Company B, then transferred to the air service and trained at Kelly Field, San Antonio. He was also an observer at Post Field, Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

In April of 1918, Baucom received overseas orders. He trained at Issoudun, France and arrived at the front on June 11, where he worked with a French squadron. Baucom was assigned to the Observation Group of the First Army Corps comprised of 1st, 12th, and 50th Aero (Observation) Squadrons. As a member of the First Aero Squadron, Baucom, observer, flew with W. P. (Bill) Erwin, pilot, on reconnaissance patrol and other missions. During the war, Erwin and Baucom first flew in the SPAD XI and then the superior Salmson 2A2.

In June and July, Baucom and Erwin flew frequently throughout Chateau-Thierry combat. On July 23, Observer Baucom ordered to carry incendiary bullets to attack captive balloons. From September 12 to 16, they flew missions in the St. Mihiel sector. Over Argonne, Baucom and Erwin's engine was shot out but the pair landed safely. Two days later, Baucom's observation report was posted in squadron headquarters as a model for observers because of its completeness. After downing a German plane the following day, Erwin and Baucom were shot down, marking the end of their famous No. 8 plane.

On September 26, 1918, Baucom departed for headquarters of the First Division, serving as a liaison officer. In the middle of October, Baucom and Erwin were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. After the ceremony the pair set forth across enemy lines and scored another victory. A confirmed report on October 18th credits Baucom and Erwin with having shot down a Fokker in Sommerance. On October 30, a question arises as to whether Baucom became an ace, a designation which requires five confirmed victories. Official reports list Baucom with three confirmed victories, but John Peyton DeWey, in Erwin: From The War Letters and Diary of an American Ace (copyright 1928), suggests in his manuscript (p. 35) that on October 30, 1918, Germany arrived several weeks after the Armistice. Regardless of whether Baucom achieved official status as an ace, his contributions were valuable. Dubbed "Battling Baucom," the young lieutenant was called "the bravest man in the American Army" by Erwin, credited with eight and the greatest number of victories in the squadron. In October of 1918, Baucom received the French Croix de Guerre and Distinguished Service Cross. Prior to leaving France he became a captain.

In November the big offensive began. At this time 1st Corps consisted of 77, 78, and 80th Divisions. On November 3, Baucom and Erwin received a commendation for "efficient service rendered during the attack of/through November 2, 1918. Particular mention is made of (their) comprehensive and valuable reports..." On November 5 in the Meuse-Argonne battle, their plane was shot down sixty yards from enemy lines. Battling the enemy, they escaped and reached Allied lines. A day after war ended, on November 12, the 1st Aero Squadron was at Julvecourt, Meuse sector.

In 1920, at his request, Baucom was discharged from the Army and elected to Texas Legislature from Ellis County. Later that same year, he resigned.

Baucom married Corinne Connor of Lexington, Lee County, Texas in 1921. He also re-entered air service in February, training and becoming a pilot at Kelly Field. In June he was sent to Langley Field, Virginia and participated in bombing maneuvers with commissioned officers of the First Provisional Air Brigade. From May through August, 1922, Baucom was a member of 94th Squadron, Pursuit stationed at Ellington Field, Texas. In September, he became Director of Pursuit Training, Advanced Flying School, Kelly Field.

On January 21, 1927, Baucom moved to Bolling Field, Washington, D.C. [According to one source, Baucom served in the Office of the Chief of the Air Corps for 2 years.] On August 13, he transferred to March Field, Riverside, CA as Commanding Officer of the Forty-Seventh School Squadron (arriving on September 25).

On May 30, 1928, he died in the crash of a De Havilland airplane while commanding a squadron of three planes from Kelly to March Field.

Honors: While serving in France, the First Aero Squadron was credited with twenty-nine victories, three (confirmed) of which were contributed by "Bauc" or "Battling Baucom."

Medals: French Croix de Guerre October 1918, Distinguished Service Cross October 1918, as well as an Oak Leaf Cluster December 1924


14.8 Linear Feet (Two manuscript boxes, two non-standard boxes (22.0x15.0x2.0), one non-standard box (9.0x11.0x3.0), one flat-file folder (36x24), and one flat-file folder (64x25).)


The Byrne V. Baucom Collection contains materials generated by, for, and about Captain Baucom who served in the First Aero Squadron as an aerial observer in France during WWI.

Series Description

The archivist kept the original organization intact without any further arrangement.

Provenance Statement

The Byrne V. Baucom Collection was donated to the History of Aviation Archives, Special Collections and Archives Division, Eugene McDermott Library, The University of Texas at Dallas, by Mrs. Corinne Baucom on 1978-07-01.

Additional Sources

Additional information about this topic can be found in the History of Aviation Archives in the following Collections:

George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library


The books/magazines in this collection have been separated from the main collection and incorporated in the HAC Monograph/Magazine Stacks.

Image ID

It is the researcher's responsibility to secure permission from copyright holders of materials to which this institution does not own copyright.

Images in this collection are identified by a unique number that provides information about the format, record group, collection, series, box, folder, and image numbers. Please use this number when ordering reproductions of images from this collection.

Record Group Code

1 = CAT/Air American Archives

2 = Doolittle Archives

3 = Lighter than Air Archives

4 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

5 = History of Aviation Archives (HAC)

6 = University Archives

7 = HAC Stacks

8 = WPRL Stacks

9 = Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Collection

10 = Belsterling Collection

11 = Closed Stacks

12 = Unidentified

13 = Chance Vought Archives

14 = Twirly Birds Archives

Image Format Code

P = Photograph/Postcard

S = Slide

N = Negative

T = Positive Transparency

B = Black and White

C = Color

Example: 4BVB-1-1-PC1

4 = George H. Williams, Jr., World War I Aviation Library

BVB = Byrne V. Baucom Collection

= Series Number

1 = Box Number

1 = Folder Number

P = Photograph/Postcard

C = Color

1 = Image Number

Images archived in plastic image holders may also have a location code in the format: 1/TL. In this example, the number is the sheet number and the letters indicate the top left position on the sheet. Position indicators are T = top, L = left, R = right, M = middle, and B = bottom. Position indicators may be combined to describe the position on the sheet, as shown in this example.

Item on Loan

The "Barometer Altimetre (Altimeter)" in a leather case is currently on loan and on display at the Frontier of Flight Museum in Dallas, TX.

Items in Archives Map Case

Several items are listed as in the Archives Maps case rather than assigned to a box. Please see the list below:


Camp Funston, Texas,

343 Artillery,

Texas University Boys,


Barracks and Soldiers, Colonel W.S. Scott

Kelly Field, Texas

2nd Air Park

68th Aero Squadron

Pilots of Planes San Antonio, Detroit (Flagship)

New York and San Francisco

Langley Field, Virginia

Commissioned Officers 1st Provisional Air Brigade 1921

Commissioned Officers 1st Provisional Air Brigade 1921 taking part in bombing maneuvers

Aerial: West of Swippes, 1st and 3rd Lines of Boche 1918

Published Material



Paris Monumental de Metropolitan

Carte de France des Frontieres

No. 5, Liege

No. 18, Metz


2 Paintings by Hans Rudolf Schulze

Guide to the Byrne V. Baucom Collection, 1892-1928
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
English (eng)
Edition statement
First revision by Cassandra Zawojek, 2018-06-11. Second revision by Patrizia Nava, CA, 2021-10-27.

Revision Statements

  • 2018-06-11: 1st revision was a migration to ArchivesSpace by Cassandra Zawojek.
  • 2021-10-27: 2nd revision was an update of certain folders by Patrizia Nava, CA.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Division, History of Aviation Archives. Repository

3020 Waterview Pkwy
Suite 11.206
Richardson Texas 75080 US