Biographical / Historical
Farnum T. Fish was born in 1896 in California. Fish learned to fly at the Wright Aviation School in Dayton, Ohio in 1911 and, on January 12, 1912, FAI Airplane Pilot's Certificate #85 was granted to him by the Aero Club of America. Fish immediately purchased a Wright (Co) Model B biplane and flew in his first air meet at Dominguez Field in Los Angeles, California from January 20 to 26, 1912. At the end of the meet, Fish was second in overall hours flown. Fish flew in another air meet at the Emeryville Race Track, Oakland, California from February 17 to 21, 1912 where he flew the first air mail into Oakland as a stunt. In April 1912, Fish began flying passengers at the Polo Grounds, Coronado, San Diego, where he also carried mail at a small local meet. In May of that year, Fish flew from Chicago to Milwaukee carrying 50 pounds of silk consigned to a department store. Throughout 1912, Fish took part in numerous air meets as well as flying passengers and mail. He also flew a newsreel photographer over the 1912 Vanderbilt Cup Races. In 1915, Fish began flying for Pancho Villa in Mexico where he was shot and wounded badly in the leg while flying over enemy forces. Fish managed to land the plane at his base before collapsing. Fish returned to the United States to recuperate and he was soon active flying in air meets and exhibitions again. In February 1918, Fish enlisted in the U.S. Army and accepted his commission as lieutenant in July 1918. In September of that year he was sent overseas as a test pilot for the U.S Army Signal Corps. He was discharged from the service in April 1919 and in June 1919 he joined the Air Service Officers Reserve Corps until his commission ended in 1934. Fish reentered active duty for a brief period in 1942. Following his military career, Fish was employed in the lumber business in Los Angeles, California for some time, as well as dabbling in ceramics manufacturing. Fish was known as the "Boy Aviator" throughout the early part of his career.