Stuart Edgar and James Pearson are two of the men whose stories that come to mind when Lafayette Escadrille discussing Nutley's part in the air war over France during World War I.
The new movie "Flyboys" about the Lafayette Escadrille brings all the action and tragedy of those early flying days to the local cinema. But Nutley men held there own in that war 90 years ago.
Lt. Stuart Emmet Edgar served in the the Lafayette Escadrille. The young flyer was killed in a starting accident as he was starting out for patrol duty on Aug. 17, 1918.
Lt. Edgar, 28, worked and for a short time worked for the (Nutley) Sun. Later he was on the staff of the Newark News and the New York Evening Sun.
Born in Nutley, Edgar attended the Newark Academy and the Riverview Military Academy at Peekskill, N.Y., where he was a member of the football and baseball teams.
He later went to Cornell, where he was active in athletics and was a member of the Chi Psi fraternity and the Undine Sophomore Society.
In October 1916, Edgar joined the Norton-Harjes ambulance unit and went to France as an ambulance driver.
Later he went into the French aviation service, receiving his training a the Avord Flying School and later at Pau. When America entered the war he was transferred to the United States air service.
Lt. Edgar earlier wrote to his mother that he had been engaged in his first air fight from which he emerged unhurt. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #493, 272 Washington Avenue, is named in his honor.
Meanwhile, Capt. James W. Pearson of Nutley received his commission in the Royal Flying Corps in November 1917.
He was assigned to the RFC's 23rd Squadron and downed his first enemy plane on May 30, 1918.
He received credit for the conquest of a German fighter in both June and July, and his two victories in August qualified him as an "ace."
Over the next two months he raised his total victory count to eight and on Nov. 1, 1918, ten days before the Armistice, he won his last aerial battle.
Copyright © 2006 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.
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Nutley Sons Honor Roll, Nutley, N.J.