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The town of Wallingford will host a ceremony in May to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of former town resident Maj. Raoul Lufbery, World War I flying ace.

A special military parade and plaque dedication ceremony will be held May 5 to honour Lufbery.

“He was a legend, he was a hero,” said Bob Stickle, whose late wife was Lufbery’s great niece.

In 1916, Lufbery joined a group of American volunteers – the Lafayette Escadrille, that fought with French forces for nearly two years before America entered the war.  Within three months, Lufbery recorded five official kills and went onto to record 17, becoming America’s first ace pilot in the war, according to the National Aviation Hall of Fame.  Lufbery was killed on May 19, 1918 while attacking a heavily armed Albatross bomber, according to the aviation hall of fame. He is the namesake of Lufbery Park and Lufbery Avenue.

The event honouring the anniversary of Lufbery’s passing will start at 11am with a short military procession  at the Town Hall, 45 S. Main St., and ending at the Wallingford Historical Society building, 180 S. Main St.  The Governor’s First Company and the Second Company of the Connecticut National Guard will the lead the procession.  The procession will be followed by ceremony to dedicate a 2×3 foot bronze plaque. Several officials are expected to speak, including Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr., local legislators and a Lufbery family descendant, according to a press release.

Dickinson called Lufbury a “trailblazer.” “You can look at him as one of the forerunners of the US Air Force,” he said: “He was one of the first to show the promise and effectiveness and the need for really having a readiness for air combat…  His legacy lives on…”

The event was organised by the Wallingford 350th Jubilee Committee, a group organising events to celebrate the town’s 350th anniversary in 2020.

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