Cadet James J. Joffe
Submitted by: Hollace Ava Weiner
Cadet James J. Joffe served in World War 1 with the United States Army Air Corps. The dates of service are: Known 15 Aug 1917 to 15 Jan. 1918.
Cadet James J. Joffe, 23, an American aviator at Hicks Field No. 1, Camp Taliaferro, north of Fort Worth, TX, was instantly killed at 4 p.m., Jan. 15, 1917, when the De-Havilland bomber he was piloting crashed to the ground.
Joffe was born in Baku, Asia Minor (now Azerbaijan), and immigrated to America in 1903 with his parents and five brothers and sisters. The family lived in Manhattan, NY. The 1910 U.S. Census lists the flyer's name as "Jacob Joffe," although his military records identify him as James J. Joffe, likely an attempt to Anglicize his name.
Joffe joined the Aviation Section, Signal Reserve Corps, and was nearing completion of his course when the fatal accident occurred. His branch of service was referred to as the "American Flying Corps."
According to the Houston Post, Joffe was several hundred feet in the air when he lost control of his "machine." His head and body were badly bruised, and several cerebral vertebrae broken.
The local Fort Worth Jewish community tended to his funeral. The Hebrew burial society prepared his body. The Ladies Cemetery Society sewed a linen shroud. Rabbi Charles Blumenthal of Congregation Ahavath Sholom officiated at the burial at Hebrew Cemetery on University Drive. The cadet's granite gravestone has a Hebrew inscription, which includes the Yiddish nickname "Yochl." The stone bears an English inscription that reads: "Died in Service of His Country."
The Fort Worth Jewish Archives is searching for Cadet Joffe's relatives and for a photo. He was survived by two sisters (Isabella and Sara) and three brothers, Benedict, Louis and Joseph. Joseph, a lawyer, died in 1937. His wife was Anna Corenthal. They lived near Woodmere, Long Island, with their daughter, Sylvia.