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Your copy of the Davis-Monthan Airfield Register with all the pilots' signatures and helpful cross-references to pilots and their aircraft is available at the link. Or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author. ISBN 978-0-9843074-0-1.


Most of this information comes from contemporary news articles:

San Antonio Evening News. October 22, 1919

San Antonio Evening News. November 17, 1919

Modesto (CA) News-Herald. March 18, 1927

Unidentified Newspaper. Syracuse, NY. April 21, 1930

Portsmouth (OH) Times. May 2, 1930.

The Bakersfield Californian of November 13, 1930.

The Bakersfield Californian of November 24, 1830.

Bakersfield (CA) Californian, December 5, 1930.

Reno (NV) Evening Gazette. October 28, 1932

Nevada State Journal, Reno. October 29, 1932.

The Bakersfield (CA) Californian, October 29, 1932.

Reno (NV) Evening Gazette. October 29, 1932

Oakland (CA) Tribune. October 29, 1932

The Hayward (CA) Review, November 2, 1932.


There is no biographical file for pilot Hampton in the archives of the National Air & Space Museum, Washington, DC.


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William Hampton was born near the turn of the century.  He died in an airplane crash October 28, 1932.  Depending upon which newspaper you read, he was somewhere between 30 and 33 years old.

A U.S. Marine during WWI, local newspapers praised him as a “hero”.  He enlisted April 10, 1917 at San Antonio, TX and trained at Parris Island, SC.  After training, he was stationed briefly at Portsmouth, NH, returned to Parris Island, and was shipped to Brest, France for service on the Chateau Thierry front from June 13 to July 12, 1918.

According to the San Antonio Evening News of October 22, 1919, then Sgt. Hampton received the Croix de Guerre for bravery after he led his platoon (other officers had been wounded), “…and succeeded in capturing a machine gun nest which was an important strategical position.”

It is not clear when he left military service or when he learned to fly (one news article suggests he learned to fly in the military).  Only one small society article in the Modesto News-Herald of March 18, 1927 cites him and his wife as guests at the Ford Kreiz home.  Regardless, now comes one of those interesting juxtapositions, where the beat and sway of the Davis-Monthan Register comes into brief focus, then out again.

Below is an image of William Hampton standing in front of a de Havilland aircraft (NR3494; not a Register airplane) taken at Long Beach Airport.  At his feet is an aerial camera.  The picture is dated 1929.  At this time (corroborated by information contained in the ownership records for NR3494), Hampton was a principal of the Continental Air Map Company of Los Angeles.  The Nevada State Journal of October 29, 1932 cites him as making, “…some of the first aerial maps…” of the western United States.

William Hampton, ca. 1929 (Source: Gerow)
William Hampton

Image, above, courtesy of the Russell T. Gerow Collection. Please direct your browser to the link to learn about Continental Air Map and fellow aerial photographer Russell T. Gerow.  Here you will find the thread of connections between the people, airplanes, aerial activities and events that swirled through the Davis-Monthan Airfield is a rich and rewarding topic of study. Take time to enjoy the images and stories there.

Marketing Advertisement, December 5, 1930 (Source: Gerow)
Marketing Advertisement, December 5, 1930 (Source: Gerow)

As of the early 1930s, Hampton ran the Hampton Flying School at Mines Field, Los Angeles, CA and was a representative for the Aero Brokerage Company of Inglewood, CA.  He also operated a small airline between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. At right, from The Bakersfield (CA) Californian, a small advertisement from December 5, 1930. He offered "get-acquainted" rides in an Ogden Osprey for a dollar. Compare this ad with what is written about him in his obituary, below.

This marketing campaign followed the announcement in the following article from The Bakersfield Californian of November 13, 1930. It was headlined, "KERN COUNTY GETS NEW AIRLINE SERVICE." Note mention of Register pilot Henry Ogden.

New Airline, The Bakersfield Californian, November 13, 1930 (Source: Gerow)
New Airline, Bakersfield Californian, November 13, 1930 (Source: Gerow)


Fare Reduction, The Bakersfield Californian, November 24, 1930 (Source: Gerow)
Fare Reduction, The Bakersfield Californian, November 24, 1930 (Source: Gerow)


Business must have been either very good or very slow, because, left, the airline lowered its fares almost immediately as cited in this short article from The Bakersfield Californian of November 24, 1930. We would have to guess the latter as the Great Depression deepened.

Hampton landed at the Davis-Monthan Airfield August 24, 1932 westbound from Yuma, AZ to El Paso, TX. He carried a single passenger, G. Wilkinson. They were flying Curtiss Robin NC7499. Wilkinson, of El Segundo, CA, was the owner of NC7499. It is not clear if their visit was under the aegis of Aero Brokerage. You can see an image on this site of this airplane at about the time it was owned by Santa Maria Air Lines.

At Tucson, Hampton had about another two months of flying to go in his life. He was assigned by Aero in October 1932 to retrieve (repossess) an aircraft from Logan, UT.  He departed Logan and headed west.  He landed at Reno, NV to hand the airplane over to fellow pilot Ted Morrill.  Morrill was late, so Hampton decided to complete the ferry himself and began his final leg to Oakland, CA.

News Article, 1932 (Source: Gerow)
News Article, 1932

Southwestbound near Cisco, CA he suffered engine failure and sought a place to land safely in the mountains.  He was unsuccessful. As his wing caught a tree, the airplane wheeled around and crashed.  He suffered fatal head injuries.  Image, above, from the Oakland Tribune, Saturday, October 29, 1932. This link accounts briefly for his marriage to Sarah Ruth Russell, 1904 - 1982, (scroll down near the bottom of the page). Below, news of Hampton's crash from the October 29, 1932 issue of The Bakersfield (CA) Californian.

Hampton Crash News, The Bakersfield Californian, October 29, 1932 (Source: Gerow)
Hampton Crash News, Bakersfield Californian, October 29, 1932 (Source: Gerow)

Below is the crash scene from The Hayward (CA) Review, November 2, 1932.

William Hampton Crash Scene, November 2, 1932 (Source: Gerow)
William Hampton Crash Scene, November 2, 1932 (Source: Gerow)


Dossier 2.1.173

UPLOADED: 07/19/07 REVISED: 06/08/09, 06/30/11

The Register
I'm looking for other photographs of pilot Hampton and NC7499 to include on this page. If you have one or more you'd like to share, please use this FORM to contact me.

Thanks to friend of dmairfield.org Mike Gerow for news clippings on the subject of William Hampton, and for the images on this page.


http://www.cafepress.com/content/global/img/spacer.gifThe Congress of Ghosts is an anniversary celebration for 2010.  It is an historical biography, that celebrates the 5th year online of www.dmairfield.org and the 10th year of effort on the project dedicated to analyze and exhibit the history embodied in the Register of the Davis-Monthan Airfield, Tucson, AZ. This book includes over thirty people, aircraft and events that swirled through Tucson between 1925 and 1936. It includes across 277 pages previously unpublished photographs and texts, and facsimiles of personal letters, diaries and military orders. Order your copy at the link, or use this FORM to order a copy signed by the author.  ISBN 978-0-9843074-4-9.



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