US Passport 1915 – Curtiss Aeroplane Company

Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Marietta Ford Russell, the wife of Frank Henry Russell, an early aviator and vice president of the Curtiss Aeroplane Company, owned this fascinating pair of documents. He came to the UK during World War 1 to sell planes to the UK and France, which were at war with Germany and Austria. He was joined on his journey by Marietta. Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Marietta’s US passport was granted on 23 Aug 1915 to travel to the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, and Italy with her husband. The endorsements show them arriving in Liverpool by ship on September 6, 1915. On September 28, 1915, they registered their presence in the United Kingdom with the local police superintendent in Battle (Sussex). They must now receive various permits to fly because, remember, they are in a war-torn country and will be going to another war-torn country. They are issued a visa on the 30th of September, 1915, in London, to cross the Army Zone in France by rail, with the restriction of stopping en route. They embark at Southampton for Le Havre (the short sea route via Dover-Calais is reserved for army movements) and are seen ‘for Paris’ on disembarkation by the French passport control officer. Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
They receive their visa from the British Consul in Paris on October 2, 1915, allowing them to return to the United Kingdom and stay at the Metropole Hotel in London. Various departments of the British government were using the hotel as offices at the time. On the 4th of October 1915, they arrived in Le Havre by train from Paris and applied to the British Consul to extend their visas to travel to the United Kingdom and return to the United States. A French passport officer then embarks them on the same day. They arrive in Southampton the next day, on the 5th of October 1915, and sail to Liverpool, where they boarded their ship to return to the United States on the 7th of October 1915. Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Marietta’s French Annexe du Passeport, penned on 30 September 1915, authorizing her to fly to France via Le Havre and confirming their arrival in Southampton on 1 October 1915. This paper, which comes with the passport, is provided by the French authorities in London and allows you to cross France without going through the war zone. Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
Putting these documents into historical context shows the bureaucracy involved in granting neutral citizens permission to travel in a war zone. It’s important to remember the danger Marietta and her husband were facing: they were sailing to and from the United States just four months after the RMS Lusitania, which was sailing on the same route at the time, was torpedoed, killing nearly 1200 passengers and crew. Passport Curtiss Aeroplane Company
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