Glenn Dickenson Wicks: Sopwith Camel Pilot, Senator’s Son
In my previous blog post about Mrs. E. L. Chapman, I mentioned that there were two newspaper clippings that she had included in the letter to her son. (I know, I know – it’s been a while since I posted to my blog.) This post is about one of those clippings.
Born in Utica, New York on 30 January 1893, Glenn was the son of Charles Wicks and Lucie Canterbury Glenn. Glenn’s father was a manufacturer and the family was of some means as they had two Irish servant girls living in the home in 1900. By 1915, Glenn’s father, Charles, was a State Senator in New York.
Of medium height with a slender build, Glenn had brown eyes and black hair. He was 24 years old in June of 1917 when he registered for the draft. During his second year at Yale he enlisted in the Aviation Section and became a First Lieutenant in the 17th Aero Squadron in the Army Air Corps. Flying his Sopwith Camel, Glenn successfully shot down a German plane and was credited with being the first in his unit to achieve this accomplishment. A skilled pilot, he participated in a number of missions. On 5 October 1918 while flying on a mission to bomb German ammunition dumps over France, his plane collided with that of Lieutenant Harold G. Shoemaker. It was reported that the plane “was seen going down behind German lines in a tailspin.” When he was reported missing his father, the Senator, immediately applied for a passport to go to France, his son’s fate unknown for several weeks. It was later determined that both men had died. Glenn was 25 years old. The flying field established in Utica, New York was named the Glenn D. Wicks Field in his memory.
He is buried in the Somme American Cemetery, Plot A Row 24 Grave 8, in Bony, France. He left behind his parents and a brother, Roger, 2 years his junior.