Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Rockwells in:
 • Lafayette Escadrille Memorial
 • Marnes-la-Coquette
 • Departement des Hauts-de-Seine
 • Īle-de-France
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Kiffin Yates Rockwell
Birth: Sep. 20, 1892
Death: Sep. 22, 1916

Fighter Pilot. Born in Newport, Tennessee, the son of James Chester Rockwell, a Baptist minister, and Loula Ayres. Upon his father's death, shortly after Kiffin's birth, the family moved to South Carolina, and later to Asheville, North Carolina. He attended the Virginia Military Institute from 1908 to 1909 then transferred to Washington and Lee University. He left college in 1911 and worked for an advertising agency in Atlanta until 1914 when hostilities in Europe broke out. He and his brother, Paul, left for France in August 1914, and were among the first three Americans to volunteer for service in the French Army. He served in the Aisne and Champagne trenches during the winter of 1914 with Battalion C of the Second Marching Regiment of the Second Foreign Battalion. At the storming of Neuville-Saint-Vaast in May, 1915, he was felled by a severe leg wound. Following his recovery he served with the 1st Regiment, Moroccan Division and was again wounded. When it was suggested he was unfit for continued army service, he requested a transfer to the Service Aeronautique, and began flight training in September 1915. In April he became one of the founding members of the squadron initially known as the Escadrille Americaine , but was later called the Lafayette Escadrille. In May 1916, he became the first American pilot to down an enemy plane. He was awarded the Medaille Militaire, as well as the Croix de Guerre with palm. In May 1916 he took a wound to the face during a dogfight, but refused hospital treatment and continued flying. He was awarded the Order of the Army and earned promotion from sergeant to sous-lieutenant. By September he had survived one hundred and forty-one dogfights and was issued an improved Nieuport 17 aircraft. On patrol over Verdun, his wingman's gun jammed and Rockwell led him to a safe landing, then returned to the front lines. Witnesses saw him dive at a 2-man Aviatik from 10,000 feet, the gunner in the German observation plane shot Rockwell through the chest with an explosive round, killing him instantly. His Nieuport crashed between two lines of French trenches and his body was recovered by French artillerymen. He was buried with honors at the squadron's field at Luxeuil-les-Bains. His name appears on the wall of the Pantheon in Paris, at the Post Office in his home town of Newport, Tennessee, at the Robert E. Lee Memorial at Washington and Lee University, at Virginia Military Institute, and on marker on Asheville's Merrimon Avenue. A French Air Force camp and a United States Naval airfield in San Diego were named in his honor.
 (bio by: Iola) 
Family links: 
  James Chester Rockwell (1868 - 1893)
  Loula Ayres Rockwell (1866 - 1959)
  Paul Ayres Rockwell (1889 - 1985)*
  Agnes Rockwell Hayes (1890 - 1926)*
  Kiffin Yates Rockwell (1892 - 1916)
*Calculated relationship
Lafayette Escadrille Memorial
Departement des Hauts-de-Seine
Īle-de-France, France
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Warrick L. Barrett
Record added: Jun 18, 2003
Find A Grave Memorial# 7593262
Kiffin Yates Rockwell
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
Kiffin Yates Rockwell
Added by: Anonymous
Kiffin Yates Rockwell
Added by: Warrick L. Barrett
There are 2 more photos not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- sjm
 Added: Sep. 22, 2015

- nevermore
 Added: Sep. 20, 2015

- sjm
 Added: Sep. 20, 2015
There are 87 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.2 after 33 votes)

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service