AKA Henry Willis
Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
With his Martin TT Trainer
Collection of John Moore
Courtesy of Copeland Willis III, 2-28-08

Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
Collection of John Moore, 6-20-05

A Sketch of the life of the late
Lieut. Col. Robert Henry Willis, Jr.
       Lieut. Col. Robert Henry Willis, Jr., son of R.H. and Jessie G. Willis, was born near Williston, Barnwell County, South Carolina, September 7, 1886. He received his elementary education in various common schools of which his Father was principal. In the autumn of 1904, he entered the Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, the West Point of the South, as a beneficiary cadet, the place having been won by him in a competitive examination. As a student he was a plodder and faithful to his duties.
     Having spent four years at the Citadel, he was the first honor graduate of the class of 1908.
     In consequence of his being the first honor man, he was commissioned by the President of the United States as second lieutenant in the Sixth Infantry, United States Army.
     To read the rest of this fascinating story, click on the title above.

Two Aviators Were Lost
on Chihuahua Flight,

The Cordele Dispatch,
Wednesday, March 22, 1916,
Transcribed by Bob Davis - June, 2004
      Lieutenants Edgar S. Gorrell and Robert H. Willis, the aviators in the American army, who were lost in the desert in Chihuahua after they had departed from San Antonio to join General Pershing's force, were later reported to have been saved.

     Here might be a good spot to list those 61 pioneer officers of the Aviation Section, Signal Corps, or with it, in order of duty, as of June 30, 1916. (Of course, other officers have been a part of the air force but they have lost their lives or have left the flying contingent)
     F. P. Lahm, B. D. Foulois, J. C. Walker, Jr., C. G. Chapman, H. A. Dargue, J. C. Morrow, V. E. Clark, R. H. Willis, B. Q. Jones, D. B. Netherwood, T. S. Bowen, W. L. Patterson, Leslie MacDill, S. W. FitzGerald, W. G. Kilner, Harry Gantz, A. R. Christie, E. L. Canady, B. M. Atkinson, H. W. Harms, H. S. Martin, J. F. Curry, C. C. Culver, Roy S. Brown, J. W. Heard, Ralph Royce, Carl Spatz, S. H. Wheeler, J. B. Brooks, G. H. Brett, H. C. Davidson, C. W. Russel (NF), G. E. A. Reinburg, M. F. Harmon, J. C. McDonnell, J. W. Butts, L. G. Heffernan, J. C. P. Bartholf, Maxwell Kirby, W. A. Robertson, Davenport Johnson, R. B. Barnitz, J. D. von Holtzendorff, M. F. Scanlon, P. L. Ferron, G. E. Lovell, E. N. Macon (NF), Geo. O. Squier (NF), J. L. Dunsworth, J. F. Byrom, B. G. Weir, B. W. Mills, E. L. Naiden, W. A. Glassford (NF), Wm. Mitchell.
From the Early Bird CHIRP, JULY 31, 1949, Number 41
Courtesy of Steve Remington at COLLECTAIR

The link has died (2-28-08)
Dear Mr. Cooper,
     In response to your request for information on the pioneer aviator Lt. Col. Robert Henry Willis Jr. I am sending the attached information "A sketch of the life of the late Lt. Col. Robert Henry Willis, Jr." and a photo of my Great Uncle.
     For additional information, perhaps of interest to you, and additional photos please see web site "" This photo collection includes photos of photographer Alfred Tennyson Willis, my Grandfather and his brother Lt. Col. Robert H. Willis Jr. who was an amateur photographer and took pictures of his travels and adventures while in college and during his military service. I would assume that you have a copy of "A preliminary to War The 1st Aero Squadron and the Mexican Punitive Expedition of 1916", if not, it can be found on the "" web site.
     Thank you for caring and compiling information about these pioneer aviators. I am proud be related to one of them. Please contact me if you have any questions and I would certainly like to have any information regarding my Great Uncle that you may have.
Best Regards and many thanks.
John Tennyson Moore

       Robert Henry Willis, Jr. lost his life by accidental discharge of a pistol at the front near the city of Remiremont, Vosges, France, on September 13, just six days after his thirty-second birthday.
from "A Sketch of the life of the late
Lieut. Col. Robert Henry Willis, Jr."

Editor's Note:
If you have any more information on this pioneer aviator,
please contact me.
E-mail to Ralph Cooper
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