Clarence Shoninger (1892-1956)
Shoninger was born in Chicago and attended the New York Military Academy. He graduated from Yale University in 1915. After working briefly at B. Altman & Company, he sailed to France and joined the ambulance services in the Great War. Shoninger was assigned to help out in the battle for Verdun and safely evacuated hundreds of the French wounded from the front.
Afterwards he joined the French aviation service and proved to be a brave flyer. While on patrol on May 29, 1918, he was attacked by several German albatross airplanes. He maneuvered his aircraft away over several miles until finally he crashed into a German antiaircraft battery. A wounded Shoninger was taken prisoner and sent to a hospital to finish the war in a German prisoner-of-war camp. When released on November 29, 1918, he made his own way back to Paris. The American press wrote about his mistreatment by his German captors. For his service to France, Shoninger was awarded the Croix de Guerre.
After returning to America, he married Ruth Dorn of Flushing in 1920. Shoninger settled down in Douglaston, Queens (22 Douglaston Parkway), and held a number of banking jobs while freelancing for aviation magazines. He appeared in
William Tailer (1895-1918)
Tailer was born in Manhattan and raised in Roslyn by his parents Henry and Clara Wright Tailer. His father was president of the Banker’s Trust Company of New York City. As a youth, Tailer was well known as a North Shore sportsman, participating in tennis, golfing and horsemanship. At first employed in his father’s firm, he joined the New York State National Guard in 1916 and was assigned to the Texas-Mexico border. After returning from his military service, Tailer took up flying at the aviation field in Mineola. After earning his flying license, Tailer became impatient waiting to enter the Army Air Corps. With the help of August Belmont, young Tailer was granted permission to serve in the Lafayette Flying Corps in France.