Lieutenant Gustav Hermann Kissel

On a clear, crisp April 12, 1918 morning in France during the Great War, 1st Lieutenant Gustav Hermann Kissel of the 43rd Royal Air Force Squadron, an American Volunteer and graduate of Milton and Harvard, took off for his first combat mission and was shot down and killed when he encountered a large number of German fighter aircraft over Flanders. His Squadron was probably supporting British ground troops at the Battle of Lys, part of the ultimately unsuccessful German Spring offensive, General Erich Ludendorff’s, Operation Georgette, intended to capture Ypres. Lt. Kissel was buried in France, the only American to be buried in the Pont-du-Hem Military Cemetery in La Gorgue, but a cenotaph in his honor was placed in the Kissel plot here in Dedham’s Old Village Cemetery. The inscription reads:
“In Memory Of 1st Lieut. Gustav H. Kissel. Attached to British Air Forces.
Killed in Aerial Combat Near Melville, France Where His Body Lies Buried.”

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