A Great War Veteran with a Love of History
Former Carlyle House Curator Jim Bartlinski Speaks at The Lyceum, March 22
A native of Westminster, MD, Lloyd Diehl Schaeffer was a twenty-one-year-old college student when the United States entered World War I. The young man had grown up with stories of cavalry charges and pitched battles told by aging Civil War veterans, some of whom had fought at Gettysburg less than twenty-five miles away. Schaeffer registered for the draft in 1917, but couldn’t wait to get into the service, so he enlisted in the U. S. Army a few months later and began training as an aviator. That fall, he sailed for France.
After a summer spent flying many combat missions over the Western Front in 1918, Schaeffer was severely wounded when his French Breguet Bre.14 B2 bomber was riddled by German fighter planes belonging to the famous Red Baron’s “Flying Circus.” Though the Red Baron himself, Manfred von Richtofen, had been killed the previous spring, his unit was still the terror of the skies. Schaeffer survived the fight but ended up in a French hospital, with five bullet wounds all over his body. His war over, Lloyd Schaeffer returned a hero, went into business in the Washington area, married, and raised a family.
Jim Bartlinski is the Director of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC, but previously served as the Curator of the Carlyle House here in Alexandria. In the course of his research at the Carlyle House, Jim became interested in Lloyd Schaeffer’s life and story, since Schaeffer is the one who saved the 18th-century mansion from the wrecking ball in 1940, and operated it as a museum. In 1969, Schaeffer sold the site to the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority, which restored and reopened it in time for the Nation’s Bicentennial in 1976.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of American entry into World War I, making it a fitting time to recall Lloyd Schaeffer’s life, military service, and dedication to local history. Bartlinski’s talk, “An officer . . . of the greatest valor:” 2nd Lieutenant Lloyd Diehl Schaeffer, an Airman of the Great War, will take place on Wednesday night March 22 at 7:30 p.m. at The Lyceum; doors open at 7 p.m. The program is free for Alexandria Historical Society members, and there is a nominal charge of $5 per person for non-members. A membership table on-site will give people a chance to join the Society that night. Parking is extremely limited at The Lyceum, but there are garages and street parking nearby. To learn more about the Alexandria Historical Society, visit www.alexandriahistoricalsociety.wildapricot.org
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