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Richard Stockton Jannopoulo was born to John Constantine Jannopoulo (19/1/1869-14/5/1932) and Berenice Stockton (1872-1948), on October 22, 1896. His father, a Greek, potentially born in Smyrna or Greece (it is also mentioned that the Jannopoulo family was exiled from Russia) and emigrated to St. Louis, under unknown circumstances, was the manager and eventually owner of the Delmar Garden Amusement Park, Imperial Theater, and Suburban Gardens Amusement Park, with guidance, perhaps, from his influential relative, Demetrius Jannopoulo, the Greek Consul in St. Louis. As president of Delmar Garden, J.C. Jannopoulo initiated significant enhancements, acquiring 35 acres in 1909. Operating the park until its closure around 1919, he later filed a plan in 1920 for the subdivision, leading to the rapid development of Delmar Garden with over 85 buildings by 1924. His mother's heritage was also a great one. Her linage goes back to Sir John Stockton who was the Lord Mayor of London in 1740 and through him to Richard Stockton who was knighted on the field by King Edward IV in 1470 and was afterward elected to the high honor of Master of the Mercer’s Company, the oldest and most exclusive association of the kind in London. The American family branch settled in New Jersey and members of it were prominent in the history of the Revolution. But from her maternal side, two of her ancestors were colonial governors of Virginia. At the tender age of three, Richard Jannopoulo garnered public attention by clinching the title of the "Prettiest Boy Baby" at Saratoga in 1899, a notable feat during the family's summer vacation. Intriguingly, it was Richard's nurse, Aunt Nellie, who accompanied him to the competition, a departure from the conventional parental attendance. The event and its outcome remained a noteworthy feature in newspapers for an extended period. Between 1910 and 1912, the family temporarily relocated to Paris, providing Richard with an immersive experience that included the acquisition of French and potentially other foreign languages. The extent of his proficiency in Greek remains unknown. Regrettably, upon their return to the United States in 1912, the couple faced marital challenges, resulting in divorce, with Berenice assuming custody of their 16-year-old son. Given the noteworthy military lineage of both his great-grandfather, Admiral Richard Stockton, and his grandfather, Captain Edward Stockton, both graduates of the Annapolis Naval Academy, it was only natural for the young Richard to contemplate a career in the Navy. However, he joined  Culver Military Academy and upon graduation, he entered the second officers' training camp in Plattsburgh, N.Y., in August 1917. Commissioned as a First Lieutenant in November of the same year, he embarked on a unique journey. In December 1917, he was dispatched to England, where he spent three and a half months serving with the British Royal Flying Corps, acquiring his initial flying instructions. On July 1, 1918, 2nd Lt. Jannopoulo was attached to the third flight of the Ninety-first Aero Squadron (although other sources indicate his squadron entry on August 22, 1918).  


The 91st Aero Squadron, established as an aviation unit of the US Signal Corps on August 20, 1917, at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas, underwent a notable journey during World War I. By the end of September, the squadron embarked on a transatlantic voyage from Long Island, N.Y., aboard RMS Adriatic, destined for Liverpool. From there, the squadron proceeded to Southampton, boarding HMS Huntshcraft to Le Havre. The ensuing months, starting from the end of February were characterized by relative inactivity, allowing members to hone their French language skills. On April 21, 1918, the squadron began receiving Salmson biplanes, marking a pivotal moment. The first flight over the frontline occurred on June 3, 1918, with baptism by fire on the 11th and 12th of the same month. Primarily tasked with reconnaissance, observation, and aerial photography, especially in the region between Sedan and Metz, the squadron operated under strict orders to ensure the safe return of intelligence and photographic evidence. The squadron undertook 2 to 3 missions daily, facing heightened risks. Unfortunately, during nearly every mission, encounters with the enemy were inevitable. The squadron’s last wartime casualty, recorded just a day before the armistice on November 11, 1918, was not the end of their challenges. The members faced losses due to the Spanish Flu during their stay in Europe. In total, the 91st Aero Squadron engaged in 139 combat encounters, undertaking 252 reconnaissance and 108 photographic missions. Their efforts yielded approximately 3700 successful photos, contributing significantly to the war effort. However, this achievement came at a dear cost, with 13 killed, 13 wounded, and 9 taken as prisoners. 2nd Lieutenant Jannopoulo's dedicated service continued until September 27, 1918, when he sustained injuries during a mission. Till that time he flew a total of 17 missions (20 according to himself), mostly reconnaissance, as well as some protection and photographic sorties. However, the most detailed account of his service as well as his claimed victory and final mission is documented in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper, where the Greek American aviator gave an interview when he returned home from the front.

"Lieut. Richard Stockton Jannopoulo, attached to the Ninety-first Aero Squadron, who participated in 20 air battles with the Germans, before being himself wounded, arrived from New York yesterday morning, for a visit with his father, J.C. Jannopoulo, 5330 Enright Avenue, owner of Delmar Garden. Lieut. Jannopoulo still is in the air service, but expects his discharge as soon as his wound, received in an air battle in the St. Mihiel sector on Sept. 27, is healed. At present, he is on sick leave from a hospital in Cooperstown, N.Y. In relating his story to a post-Dispatch reporter yesterday, he told how, in trying to avoid the planes harassing him and his pilot, the latter dived at a steep angle and threw him out of the machine. He managed to grab the elevating lever and held on, lying on the fuselage of the plane for nearly two minutes before he could drop into the cockpit, where he was found, wounded, when the plane landed behind the American lines. In the night, Lieut. Jannopoulo was given official credit for downing one German plane. He brought still another to the ground in an earlier fight, but the rules, which required that a confirmation officer in the first-line trenches observe the fall of the enemy plane, prevented him from getting credit for it."

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What is annoying in Richard Stockton Jannopoulo's story is the fact that we don't have a photo that confirms that he is the man in that photo! The interview he gave was reproduced in many newspapers and at least two published a photo with his name below although both depict a different person as shown above. Unfortunately, we weren't able to find one however the research continues. (
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91st Aero Squadron pilots, observers, and ground crew pose for the camera. Like the young Greek American Jannopoulo, the observer operated two ring-mounted Lewis guns and photographic equipment for the photo recon mission. The man on the right, with his arm on the turtleneck, is Lt. Francis Brown Lowry. The Lowry Air Force Base in Denver CO, is named after him. He was assigned to the 91st Aero Squadron CAC, as an Artillery and Photographic Observer. He took his first aerial observation flight of heavy artillery on 13 June 1918. He completed twenty-two successful missions over the German battle line following this flight. At 10:30 in the morning on 26 September 1918, Lieutenant Lowry and Lt. Asher Kelty took off on an important observation mission leading a formation of five planes over German battlelines during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. The weather was bad and visibility was poor. The citation from general orders reads as follows: “They realized the importance of the mission and chose to continue their course through a harassing anti-aircraft barrage. A shell made a direct hit on the plane which brought it down in fragments. “The shell had exploded directly underneath Lowry’s aircraft breaking it into pieces. It fell to the ground near Crepion, France. Both men were killed instantly. General Pershing posthumously awarded Lieutenants Lowry and Kelty the Distinguished Service Cross and promoted them to the rank of first lieutenant. While Lowry died in France and was originally buried in the Argonne Cemetery at Romagne, France, he was moved to Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, CO in 1921 Kelty was one of the closest friends Jannopoulo had in the front. (SDAM Archives Catalog #:01_00087088, further info by The Lowry Foundation)
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A 91st Aero Squadron - Salmson 2A2, #22 at Vavincourt Aerodrome, France 1918 (Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C. via
One of the early aviation’s most underrated pioneers was the French industrialist Emile Salmson (1858–1921). In 1890, Emile began his career in Paris, manufacturing pumps. Together with two aviation pioneers, George Canton and George Unné, he established the “Société de Moteurs Salmson” in 1910. In that year, they produced their first successful engine, an 80hp seven-cylinder radial, followed by a 120hp nine-cylinder version a year later. At a time when engines were frequently breaking down, Salmson's products became famous for their reliability. Despite an unsuccessful first attempt at producing an aircraft, the company was commissioned by Armeé de l’Air to produce the reconnaissance aircraft Sopwith 1½ Strutter under license. Meanwhile, they worked on improved aircraft designs, and later they proposed to Armeé de l’Air their “Salmson D”, with a 130hp Clerget engine. Armeé de l’Air declined, but Salmson insisted on further developing the designs. In April 1917, they introduced the Salmson 2A2, with the 260hp Canton-Unné 9z nine-cylinder water-cooled radial engine. This time, the French Air Force accepted the new aircraft as a replacement for the now obsolete Sopwith 1½ Strutter. The Salmson 2A2 equipped 52 French escadrilles. In addition, the American Expeditionary Forces ordered 750 aircraft to equip 10 squadrons. The total production reached 3250 items, of which 2200 were built by Salmson and the rest by Latécoère, Hanriot, and Desfontainers. After the war, the Japanese Air Force ordered about 350 Salmson 2A2s. The Polish, Czechs, and Greeks also ordered small numbers. The Salmson 2A2 was a robust, two-seated airplane, fast, reliable, and adaptable to other uses; it was used, for example, as a bomber, and even as a fighter plane. Its most important innovation was the self-sealing tanks, which contributed to the avoidance of fire on board, which was one of the main fears of early aviators. #8 was one of the 91st Aero Squadron airplanes in which the Greek-American observer flew at least 4 missions during his time in Europe. (Copyright John Miltsios, further info by


“It was about the middle of July 1918,” he said yesterday, “that I had my first fight experience, it occurred in the Toul Sector. The work of our flight squadron was entirely photographic and reconnaissance missions. On this day myself and two others – three planes always flew together, holding as nearly as possible the V-shaped formation, which afforded a maximum of protection- started on a photographic mission. I was the observer in my plane. In this fight, we were set upon by four German planes. Lieut. Everett Cook, who was with me, brought one of them down and the other fled. Bullets zipped through our wings but, fortunately, none of us were hit and we returned home safely. In all the 20 fights in which I participated; the Germans greatly outnumbered us. I have known as many as 27 Fokkers to attack three American planes. The type we used was the biplane Salmson, a French plane, with two machine guns for the observer and two for the pilot. The pilot's guns, however, were stationary and could not be sighted from every angle but had to have the enemy directly in the line with him. In the fight in which the 27 Fokkers attacked us we had gone about 50 miles into Germany in the Toul Sector. After completing our mission, we started on the run home and reached a point near Metz when 15 German planes suddenly appeared from the east of the sector and 12 came from the west. At about 300 yards the firing became general. The Germans tried to get in front of us to cut off our line of escape. They maneuvered for positions above and behind us, but we kept the V-shaped formation. As all our work was being done at a height of 5000 meters, all of us began to lessen our altitude during the fight. Three German planes were brought down, and again our planes were riddled with bullets, but none of the pilots or observers were hit. One man got credit for two German planes and the other got one plane. I did not get any in this engagement, though I kept my guns pumping throughout the fight.”


"Our orders when we left on photographic missions always was to let the machines carrying the cameras get back home. If a man who acted as a protector of the mission got in trouble, the other planes were not supposed to aid him but to get the pictures back to headquarters so the commanding officer would know what was going on within the enemy's lines. In the fight in the Toul sector, we followed this rule, but it was so warm for us that we all had to fight. The Germans followed us until we crossed our lines, then they flew back home. It was in September that I got my first plane, the one with which I was not officially credited. It was about this time that the Twenty-fourth Aero Squadron, of which Lieut. Maury Hill, son of Walker Hill of St. Louis, was commander and joined us. The men had had no experience in combats, and for a time they flew with us to gain experience. This accounted for the fact that on this day there were five American planes in our flight squadron. The day was cloudy and our first intimation that the enemy was around was when we saw a lone German directly in our path. Naturally, we all began firing at him, and it seemed that the instant we opened, 11 other Fokkers appeared as if by magic, and there we were fighting against 12 German planes. During the fight, one of the Germans appeared directly in front of my gun. I let him have a burst of machine-gun fire and he went tumbling down in a spinning nose-dive, out of control."


"It was on Sept.27 that I was wounded. As usual, that day I went out with two other planes. My pilot was Lieut. Baker, a brother of “Hoby” Baker, the athlete who later was killed. The other two pilots were Lieut. Van Heuval and Lieut. Everett Cook. We were on a photographic mission, with the other two machines carrying the cameras. I was assigned to the right rear of the formation to protect them. When we crossed our lines on the way over we met six or seven Spads returning in a hurry, and we judged from that they had been in trouble and we were due to run into it. They were flying in about 1000 meters below us. We were just about over our objective and had started turning when out of the bend of the line in the St. Mihiel sector five Germans were sighted coming towards us. Almost immediately four others were observed coming from the Argonne Forest. Two of the St. Mihiel group maneuvered to get on our tails, one above and one below us. Our two photographic machines darted for home, according to instructions, and my pilot and I were left to fight it out. To make matters worse, we developed engine trouble, and couldn't keep up our formation with the other two machines. Surrounded by nine planes, I commenced firing, giving all of them a few bursts of bullets to make them keep at a distance. One of them, in the rear and above us, got too close and I concentrated my fire on him. I had a new magazine in the gun, and he got the full contents of 100 rounds. I saw him go down and a few seconds later one of the group from the Argonne Forest got me."

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A painting by Robert Karr showing a dogfight between 91sr Aero Squadron Salmsons and German Albatross. This painting gives us a small idea of the harsh conditions Jannopoulo and his colleagues faced during the Great War. According to Gorrel's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919 regarding Jannopoulo last sortie: "The planes [...] were attacked while on a photographic mission over Damvillers by six Fokkers, who closed in with a rush. Their leading ship however was met with a burst that sent him whirling in flames. The formation then drew off, but not until Lt.Jannopoulo had received a bullet in his chest which just missed his heart by a matter of an inch or so. Lt.Baker, his pilot, at once left the formation and headed for Souilly where he landed him at the hospital there." (Copyright Robert Karr).
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Lieutenant J. H. Snyder receiving a French 1824 size Camera Berthiot Color Lens which could take photos at an altitude of 25,000 ft. The Pilot is J.N. Reynolds (Major) 91st Aero Squadron, Reconnaissance and photo work. (Photographer: Cpl D. J. Sheehan, SC. Location: Gondreville-sur-Mosells, near Toul, France. Date: August 5, 1918. National Archives Ref#: 111-SC-22389)


"The bullet struck me in the left lung and came out below my left shoulder. I fell back into the machine. The pilot was not hit, and as I got up and took hold of my gun again, he went down into a steep angle dive in an endeavor to shake off the pursuing planes. The rush of air lifted me out of the plane. I hung onto the gun and went around on the pivot. Grabbing the elevating arm of the gun with my right hand, I climbed back onto the fuselage, where I lay for perhaps 90 seconds. I never thought I'd get out alive. I figured I would have to drop to the ground. When I got back into the machine, I lay down in the cockpit and tried to fasten the telephone to my ears. It was impossible, and my pilot did not know I was wounded until he saw me raise my hand out of the cockpit. Landing, I was given first-aid treatment and taken to an evacuation hospital, where I remained for six days. Then I was sent to Base Hospital No. 15 at Chaumont, where I stayed 18 days, I was given  a leave of absence after that and it had not expired when the armistice was signed."

On Nov.17, Lieut. Jannopoulo received orders to come home. He reached New York on Feb.7 He carried with him orders from Col. Milling, commanding the First Army Air Service, citing the Ninth, Twenty-fourth, and Ninety-first Aero Squadrons for their work, which state that the commanding officer “at all times of the day and night was furnished with information regarding movements of the enemy's forces through the work of the officers and men of these Squadrons.” One of his closest friends in the squadron, Lieut. Asher Kelty of Pennsylvania, also of the Third Flight Squadron, was killed by a direct hit by anti-aircraft guns when he Lieut. Jannopoulo and another officer were making a reconnaissance over Danville. "His plane was cut half in two." Lieut. Jannopoulo said. "His part went one way and his pilot's half of the machine the other." In recognition of his service and gallantry under fire, Lieutenant Jannopoulo was honored with the French Croix de Guerre medal and the Purple Heart. In November 1923 he married Carrie Aletha Mackness in Morgan County, Illinois. The couple had no children. In 1932, tragedy befell the Jannopoulo family when his father, aged 60, succumbed to head injuries sustained in a fall. Richard Stockton Jannopoulo's journey, however, continued until 1965, when he concluded his earthly sojourn. His final resting place in Section 2D, Site 1146, at the Golden Gate National Cemetery not only serves as a testament to his life and deeds but also stands as a poignant tribute to the rich heritage of his ancestors, spanning both Greek and English roots.

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Above: The tombstone at the grave of the Greek-American pilot at Golden Gate National Cemetery. ( Photo: Salmson 2A2 of the 91st Aero Squadron with the lower wing severely damaged by enemy anti-aircraft fire on September 14, 1918. (U.S. Air Force photo)

124/08/1918Reconnaisance#10Lt. Guilbert-
224/08/1918Protection#8Lt. Cook-
325/08/1918Protection#8Lt. Cook-
427/08/1918Reconnaisance#10Lt. Guilbert-
505/09/1918Protection#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
606/09/1918Protection#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
708/09/1918Protection#15Lt. Van HeuvelArnaville, Heudicourt, Fresnes
811/09/1918Reconnaisance#8Lt. Van Heuvel-
912/09/1918Photographic#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
1015/09/1918Reconnaisance#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
1116/09/1918Photographic-Lt. KeltyWaville, Arnaville, Metz
1219/09/1918Protection#8Lt. Van Heuvel-
1324/09/1918Reconnaisance#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
1424/09/1918Reconnaisance-Lt. FriersonVerdun, Montzeville, Avocourt, Bourville
1525/09/1918Reconnaisance#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
1625/09/1918Reconnaisance#15Lt. Van Heuvel-
1725/09/1918Reconnaisance-Lt. Van HeuvelChaumont, Souilly, Verdun, Esanes, Boureuilly, St.Menehould, Triaucourt, Vavincourt
1827/09/1918Photographic-Lt. BakerDamvillers



We would like to thank Mr. Nicholaos Poulopoulos for his help regarding the Jannopoulos story as well as John Miltsios for honoring us with another great profile of a Great War airplane.


1.  Delmar Loop-Parkview Gardens Historic District (20 January 1984) - National Register of Historic Places Inventory – United States Department of Interior, National Park Service.
2.   Flier who was in 20 air fights home on a visit. (n.D). St.Louis Post-Dispatch. Cut off newspaper, unknown date, Sunday. pp.6
3.   Maurer Maurer. (1979). The U.S. Air Service in World War 1. Volume III. The Albert F. Simpson Historical Research Center. Maxwell AFB Alabama, The Office of Air Force History Headquarters USAF, Washington.
4.   Delmar Garden In St.Louis Closed. (1919). Decatur Review. Decatur, Illinois. Tuesday, April 08. Pp.4
5.   Lusk, Brock M., "Tigers in the Trenches: A Study of Clemson in the Great War" (2015). All Theses. 2109.
6.   History of the 91st Aero Squadron Air Service U.S.A. Printed in Coblenz.

7.   Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service, 1917-1919, National Archives, Washington, D.C.

8.   St.Louis Post-Dispatch. Tue, 27 August 1899 issue, page 3.
9.   St.Louis Post-Dispatch. Sun, 6 April  1919 issue, page 50.
10. St.Louis Post-Dispatch. Sun, who 14  April  1932 issue, page 50.
11. The St.Louis Star and Times. Thu, 7 November 1912, page 2.
12. St.Louis Globe Democrat. Tue, 30 November 1909 issue, page 5.
13. St.Louis Globe Democrat. Sat, 11 December 1915 issue, page 1.
14. St.Louis Globe Democrat. Sun, 9 February 1919 issue, page 11.