Biographical / Historical
The Rockwells were assigned to Battalion C, 2nd Marching Regiment, of the Second Foreign Regiment of the French Foreign Legion. First stationed near Toulouse, France, on October 2, 1914, they arrived at Camp de Mailly, and soon saw action in trenches near Craonelle. Photos show the Americans both in the trenches and relaxing behind the lines. Paul Rockwell was wounded in Winter 1914-1915; after a long hospital stay he was invalided out of the Legion but "...remained in France to be near his brother, and engaged in French propaganda work." (Rockwell, p. 58). In April 1915, Kiffin Rockwell transferred to the First Foreign Regiment, joining the American Squad in Company 2, Battalion B. On September 2, 1915, he transferred to the French Aviation Service. On April 16, 1916 the Escadrille de Chasse Nieuport 124 (l'Escadrille Americaine), known as the "Lafayette Escadrille"; it was composed of American volunteer aviators under the command of French officers. The Escadrille's first victory was scored by Kiffin Rockwell on May 18, 1916. Photos from this period center around the activities of the Escadrille, predominantly depicting pilots and off-duty scenes, but including a number of aircraft photos. On September 23, 1916, Kiffin was shot down near Rodern, Alsace, and killed. Paul Rockwell continued to photograph the Escadrille through 1917; the few photos from (late) 1918 are of grave sites.