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Heroes of the Air: F.H. McNamara by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on November 21, 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 16 April 1938 issue of Flying:


ON MARCH 17, 1918, Lt. McNamara, flying a Martinsyde, was taking part in the bombing of a train in Palestine, when he saw Capt. D.W. Rutherford’s machine coming down among the Turks. It had been hit and, although not out of control, Rutherford was forced to land. McNamara landed at once and taxied to his rescue. The Turks opened rapid fire and McNamara was severely wounded in the leg. Seeing the approaching “Tinsyde,” Rutherford dashed up to it and clambered aboard as it shot past. Fortunately, as it happened, he did not wait to set fire to his machine. When McNamara opened up the throttle
he found that his damaged foot had jammed the rudder-bar. The machine swerved round and crashed. Turkish troops were approaching fast. The two struggled out of the wreckage and ran back to Rutherford’s machine, McNamara hobbling along as best he could. The prop, was swung. Miraculously the engine started. They leaped aboard—McNamara in the pilot’s cockpit—and took off over the heads of the Turks without further hurt in spite of concentrated rifle-fire. The London Gazette of June 8 announced that Lt. McNamara had been awarded the Victoria Cross for “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty.”