W. L.  (Bill) WHITE

The Brady Standard
29 August 1975

     W. J. (Bill) White, McCulloch County rancher, Thursday quietly observed his 80th birthday.
     With interest growing for the Bicentennial and Centennial observances in McCulloch County, The Standard not only would congratulate Mr. White on this occasion, but to reprint from an old issue of this newspaper, a couple of stories that were carried in the spring of 1918 when Mr. White flew the first airplane into Brady.
     Receiving his wings on December 24, 1917 at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Mr. White made his trip here in a "Flying Jenny."  He and the 12 other young men were the first to be taught flying at Kelly, with all of the group except one, Sid Brooks, completing the training and earning their commission as Second Lieutenants in the United States Air Force.  Young Brooks was killed in an accident there and Brooks field in San Antonio later was named in his honor.
     Mr. White in 1918 was sent to France, and to further his training went through seven other additional fields, using French planes, and last was taught gunnery.  He never saw active combat duty, however, as the war ended and Armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918.
     Now read the stories as written 57 years ago about the landing of the first airplane in Brady:

 
     Citizens of Brady saw their first real airplane flight Sunday morning when Lieut. Bill White of Kelly Field, accompanied by Lieut. Chandler, buzzed over from San Antonio, for a visit with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. J.H. White of this city.
     Lieuts. White and Chandler left Kelly Field Saturday morning and were to have been in Brady about 1:00 Saturday afternoon, but stopped at Mason where they enjoyed a reception by the Mason citizens. When they attempted to resume their flight to Brady about 3:00 Saturday afternoon, Lieut. White took to the air and on account of the smallness of the landing field, was caused to make a premature landing to prevent smashing into some trees.  In making the landing the propeller was broken and also the landing gears on the machine necessitated sending it back to San Antonio by truck Sunday morning.  The flight was not resumed Saturday on account of the humidity of the air, but the young men were up bright and early Sunday morning and arrived in Brady about 8:30.
     The sounding of the fire whistle brought citizens of Brady to the open where they discovered the plane about 5000 feet above the city.  Lieut. White driving, flew about the city covering all parts of the town, for bout 30 minutes then flew over the stock pens where several hundred people had gathered to see the landing. A perfect landing was made, and after receiving the congratulations of a large number of friends, Lieut. White accompanied by Lieut. Chandler were taken to the White home where they remained for luncheon.  Shortly after 12:00 the fire whistle sounded again and the citizens of Brady turned out helter-skelter to the field to witness the departure.  Lieut. Chandler driving, made a perfect getaway and after describing several circles over the crowd gaining altitude, sailed away and soon faded into the distance on the way back to the field at San Antonio.
     A large crowd spent the better part of the day in the city Saturday waiting for the aviators to show up, and a badly disappointed crowd returned to their homes Saturday night, some coming in from as far away as Stacy, Waldrip, Mercury, Richland Springs, Voca and other communities in time to witness the departure, having learned by telephone of the plane’s arrival.
     Lieut. White entered the aviation service about a year ago, first going to the ground school at Austin where he spent several months in intensive training, later being transferred to Kelly Field where he has developed into one of the star fliers of his class.  He received his commission as first Lieutenant about the first of the year.
 The flight back to San Antonio was made in about three hours time.  Mr. White receiving a wire from his son, late Sunday afternoon that he had landed safely at Kelly Field after a very nice flight.
 

[Another Version]
     Lt. W. J. White, known better here by the name of "Billy", accompanied by Lieut. Chandler, both of the aerial service of Kelly Field No. 2, San Antonio, paid Brady a visit Sunday morning by the airplane route.
     News of the coming of two airplanes was circulated Saturday morning and an immense crowd of people in autos and other vehicles gathered near the stock yards between 12:00 and 1:00 o'clock Saturday to watch the arrival of the planes.  Both planes started from San Antonio Saturday morning about 10 o'clock, and stopped at Mason for dinner, and intended to come on to Brady shortly after noon, but an accident to one of the machines caused the flight to be postponed, and a wrecker out of San Antonio was phoned for.  The other plane with both aviators, arrived in Brady Sunday morning at about 9:00 o'clock, and after circling over the city for several minutes at a height of about 4000 feet, landed near the stock yards, south of the city.
     The honking of horns and yells of applause greeted the aviators as they made their descent, and a rush was made to the plane where both young men were received with many handshakes and complimentary remarks.  A special guard was put in charge of the plane and many visitors went to the scene of the landing to get a glimpse of this magnificent type of flying machine.
     The young men were escorted to the residence of Mr. and Mrs. J.H. White, father and mother of Lieut. White, where they ate breakfast and stayed until their start about two o'clock Sunday evening.
     The fire whistle was sounded about 40 minutes before their return was to commence, and a still larger crowd was present to bid them goodbye and good luck.
     The start to Kelly Field was made about 1:00 o'clock, and after rising from the ground the aviators circled over the crowd twice and waved their goodbyes to relatives and friends and the plane then flew high in the air and headed southeast toward Fredericksburg where a short stop was made.
     The event was quite a treat to Brady citizens and was even more so by the fact that Lieut. White was a Brady boy, who entered the aerial service about one year ago.  Lieut. Chandler, his companion, is also an expert flyer, and he was made to feel like he was among home folks and friends.
     A message was received by J.H. White, father of Lieut. White, Monday morning announcing their safe arrival at their aerdome at San Antonio, Sunday night. 
 

The Brady Standard
29 August 1975
Submitted by Louann Hall