About Elliott White Springs
Elliott White Springs (July 31, 1896 – October 15, 1959), was a South Carolina businessman and an American flying ace of World War I, credited with shooting down 16 enemy aircraft.
Springs was born to Col. Leroy Springs and Grace Allison White Springs. His father was a noted South Carolina textiles manufacturer. Springs attended Culver Military Academy, and then Princeton University.
World War I service
Springs enlisted in the United States Army in the autumn of 1917. He was sent to England to train with the Royal Air Force, and was selected by the Canadian flying ace Maj. William Avery Bishop to fly the SE-5 with 85 Squadron over France. After claiming 3 destroyed and one 'out of control' with 85 Squadron, Springs shot down on 27 June 1918 by Lt. Josef Raesch of Jasta 43. After recovering from wounds received, he was reassigned to the U.S. Air Service's 148th Aero Squadron, flying the Sopwith Camel under the operational control of the RAF's 65th Wing.
On 3 August 1918, while escorting DH 9 bombers, Springs shot down three Fokker DVII scouts in flames. On 22 August 1918 he attacked five Fokker DVIIs, shooting down one into a wood near Velu. He sent another enemy aircraft 'out of control'. On 22 August 1918 he engaged three Fokker DVIIs , and Springs claimed two shot down, with one 'out of control'.
By 24 September 1918 Springs had claimed 10 victories destroyed, 2 shared destroyed and 4 driven down 'out of control'. He had shared three wins with such squadron mates as Lieutenants Henry Clay and Orville Ralston. Also about this time Springs rose to command the 148th as it and the 17th Aero Squadron joined the 4th Pursuit Group.
Return to civilian life
Upon his return to the United States, Springs wrote numerous books, short stories, and articles. Many of these were about his experiences in combat aviation. The most notable of these was Warbirds: The Diary of an Unknown Aviator, which was based the correspondence of John McGavock Grider, a friend and comrade of his who did not survive the war.
He also did some barnstorming after his return.
Management of Springs Cotton Mills
In 1931, at the request of his father Springs took over the management of the Springs Cotton Mills in South Carolina.
Return to service
In 1941, Springs returned to his nation's service in the U.S. Army Air Corps.
Later years and death
Springs continued to run Springs Cotton Mills until shortly before his death. He died of pancreatic cancer.