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Heroes of the Air: Alan McLeod by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on November 7, 2022 @ 6:00 am in

WHEN Flying, the new weekly paper of all things aviation, started up in England in 1938, amongst the articles and stories and photo features was an illustrative feature called “Heroes of the Air.” It was a full page illustration by S. Drigin of the events surrounding how the pictured Ace got their Victoria Cross along with a brief explanatory note.

Russian born Serge Drigin became a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s with his work regularly appearing in such British magazines as The Detective Magazine, Modern Boy and Chums. He is probably best known for his startling covers for Scoops, Air Stories, War Stories, Fantasy and others in the 30s.

From the 9 April 1938 issue of Flying:


ON MARCH 17. 1918, Lt. McLeod, a Canadian officer, set off on a bombing expedition with his observer, Lt. Hammond, in an Armstrong-Whitworth two-seater. Shortly afterwards they were attacked by a Fokker triplane, which Hammond sent spinning down into No-Man’s-Land. Seven more Fokkers then appeared out of the clouds. McLeod disposed of the first but a second crept up from below and wounded Hammond with two bullets. Under heavy fire from six enemy aircraft their petrol tank burst into flames. Hammond, though badly wounded, was still firing when the floor of his cockpit fell out. McLeod climbed out on to the wing and, with one hand on the joy-stick, side-slipped to keep the flames away until the machine crashed in No-Man’s-Land. Hammond was unconscious, so McLeod started dragging him towards the British lines, but he was hit by rifle-fire before he could reach them. The two gallant airmen were finally brought to safety by Tommies. Notification of the award of the V.C. followed in due course. McLeod subsequently died of his wounds.