Peyton Conway Jr., Second Lieutenant, United States Army, was born at Fort Monroe, Virginia, December 31, 1896. His father (General Peyton C. March) was the World War I Army Chief of Staff.
He graduated from Western High School, Washington, D.C., in 1914 and attended St. Alban's School for a year, and at Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, 1916-17, spending summers as an ambulance driver in a volunteer medical unit.
He enlisted in the United States Army, August 6, 1917, and was assigned to the Signal Corps Aviation Section. He trained at Toronto, Canada and Austin, Texas, being graduated in November 1917.
On January 28, 1918, he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the regular Air Corps after completing flying tests and gunnery instruction. Two weeks later he was seriously injured in airplane accident at San Antonio, Texas, and died in Fort Worth, Texas, on February 18, 1918. The following month, on March 11, March Field, located 10 miles southwest of Riverside, California, was named in his honor. It is now March Air Force Base.
He was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery (Section 30, Grave 1476). NOTE: ANC records indicate that his date of death was 11 February 1918.
On March 20, 1918, Alessandro Flying Training Field became March Field, named in honor of Second Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr., son of the Army Chief of Staff, who had been killed in a flying accident in Texas the previous month.
LIEUTENANT P. C. MARCH, JR. HURT
Son of General Falls in Airplace – His Condition Critical
FORT WORTH, Texas, January 12, 1918 – Second Lieutenant Peyton C. March, Jr., son of Major General Peyton C. March, sustained a fracture of his skull this afternoon when his airplane fell at Taliferro Field. He is said to have little chance of recovery.
SON OF GENERAL MARCH KILLED WHILE FLYING
Lieutenant Wray and Cadet Porter Also Killed at Texas Aviation Field
FORT WORTH, Texas, February 13, 1918 – Three more fatalities, due to two separate crashed, were added today to the lengthening roll of deaths at Hicks Flying Field, 15 miles from Fort Worth. The dead are Lieutenant Peyton C. March, son of the newly-appointed acting Chief of Staff of the United States Army; First Lieutenant J. L. Wray, a native Canadian, but who had resided for years at Los Angeles, California, and Cadet Flyer R. Porter of Long Island, New York.
Lieutenant March fell 1,000 feet into the airdrome at Hicks Field Tuesday afternoon and died today at the Base Hospital at Camp Howie.
Lieutenant Wray, who was 32 years old, and Cadet Porter, 23, fell today four miles from Hicks Field. A party of cadets saw them plunge earthward and hurried to the scene, arriving only a few moments after the machine almost buried itself in the soil. The bodies of the two men, badly mangled, were pinned beneath the wreckage.
How control was lost will never be fully known, but in today’s accident, as well as March’s accident yesterday, each plane was seen to plunge into a nose dive, one of the most dangerous plights in which a flyer can be placed, and which has caused most of the fatalities at the aviation camps about Fort Worth.
The mother and sister of Lieutenant March are on the way to Fort Worth tonight to take charge of the body.
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard