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Townsend Griffiss


Lieutenant Colonel Townsend Griffiss, aide to Major General James E Chaney, was killed when the aircraft in which he was a passenger was mistakenly shot down. He was the first US airman to die in the line of duty in Europe after the USA entered the war. Griffiss is commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery.

The 8th Air Force base at Bushy Park was named Camp Griffiss in his honor.

Read a BBC article about Griffiss' life here:



  • James Chaney

    Military | Major General | Special Army Observer, Theatre Commander
    James E Chaney was a Military Officer he served with the Army until 1917, when he was detailed to the US Air Service to act as Chief of Air Service for the American Expeditionary Force during the First World War. ...

Units served with

  • Headquarters (8th Air Force)

    Headquarters (8th Air Force)

    8th Air Force Headquarters opened in London under the command of General Carl A Spaatz on 19 June 1942. It oversaw all Commands, Wings and Groups engaged in the Strategic Bombing Campaign until February 1944, when it became US Strategic Air Forces in...

Associated Place

  • Camp Griffiss

    Military site : non-airfield
    Named Camp Griffiss after Colonel Townsend Griffiss, the first US casualty of the war, killed when his aircraft was downed by friendly fire. ...


Event Location Date
Born Buffalo, NY, USA 4 April 1900
Lived in Coronado, CA, USA 1910
Died 15 February 1942

Shot down over the Channel


Date Contributor Update
11 May 2018 14:17:29 Lucy May Changes to nickname, service number, biography, awards, events and place associations

Date Contributor Update
01 September 2015 15:24:19 PhillWray Changes to biography

Spelling mistake corrected.

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:26:14 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Losses of the 8th & 9th AFs Vol 1 p. 492 by Bishop and Hey, web site of AF chronology