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100 years ago in Spokane: American aviator describes his duties chasing German zeppelins in World War I

UPDATED: Wed., Feb. 20, 2019

Lt. J.B. Rogers of Spokane came home from Paris and described his time chasing German zeppelins and a crash he survived over Scotland. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Lt. J.B. Rogers of Spokane came home from Paris and described his time chasing German zeppelins and a crash he survived over Scotland. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Lt. J.B. Rogers of Spokane came home from Paris and had this to say about the army aviation corps:

“Flying over England at night and chasing German zeppelins until they were well off home territory, then scouting around through the darkness to see if there were any left, sure has its thrills for a month or so, but after that it gets mighty tiresome.”

Lt. Rogers had been a student at Reed College in Portland when he joined the army in 1917. He spent months in pilot training in England, and then was sent to France. One of his many jobs was to test different kinds of planes – including captured German planes.

He said that was fascinating for a while, but eventually it too became “tiresome.”

You can forgive Lt. Rogers for sounding fatigued. He survived at least one terrifying incident. He was flying above Scotland at 400 feet when his machine crashed into another plane and “down I went.”

“Well, I simply said goodbye to myself and didn’t know anything more until I awoke in a hospital,” he said. “I was there for some little time, but was soon on my feet again.”

From the flu beat: The Spanish flu epidemic had waned, but that didn’t mean it was finished. Norma Lindsay, 28, of Spokane, died of pneumonia brought on by the flu after being sick for a week. Her husband, a well-known securities broker, was also sick with the flu.

Two days earlier, Sister Eva, in charge of the office at Sacred Heart Hospital, died of pneumonia.

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