During World War I, Lansdowne was assigned to various duties with Naval Aviation in England and in Paris. After the war, he was a member of the crew of the British airship R-34, which made the first successful nonstop flight from England to the United States—for which he received the Navy Cross for “distinguished service in the line of his profession.”
In 1924, LCdr. Lansdowne assumed command of USS Shenandoah and was killed the following year in her crash. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Completed 20 August 1923, the helium-filled Shenandoah first took off 4 September and was christened 10 October. Highlights of her career included flights across the eastern United States in 1923 and a round trip to San Diego in 1924. In 1925, she participated in fleet exercises, then embarked on a publicity tour to the midwest, her 59th flight.
Before dawn 3 September, during a severe thunderstorm, Shenandoah broke apart and crashed in rural Noble County Ohio. While twenty-nine officers and men survived by riding her forward section to ground as a balloon, fourteen others were killed including LCdr. Lansdowne and executive officer LCdr. Lewis Hancock, Jr., for whom Fletcher-class destroyer DD 675 was named.
Today, multiple crash sites in the area are identified by markers, including one at a rest area on southbound Interstate 77, about 15 miles south of Cambridge. The Naval Historical Center Photographic Section and Noble County Ohio web sites are two of many with extensive coverage and photographs of Shenandoah from construction to loss. The former also contains several photographs of LCdr. Lansdowne.