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Heroes of the Air: Major E. Mannock

Link - Posted by David on September 18, 2023 @ 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 18 June 1938 issue of Flying:


“THIS highly distinguished officer, during the whole of his career in the Royal Air Force, was an outstanding example of fearless courage, remarkable skill, devotion to duty and self-sacrifice, which has never been surpassed.” Such were the words employed in the notification of the award of the V.C. to Major E. Mannock, which was made in the London Gazette on July 18, 1919. In view of this officer’s outstanding career it is hard to understand how it was that the award should have come very nearly a year after he was killed in action. His death, depicted here, occurred on July 26, 1918, over the German lines.

Early that morning he set out with Lieut. Inglis on a patrol over enemy territory. They soon found a two-seater, which they shot down and then, flying low, they turned for home. No one knows quite what happened next. What is fairly certain is that Mannock’s machine was struck by a bullet from the ground. Lieut. Inglis, who was flying behind, saw a flame appear in the side of Mannock’s machine. Following this, the machine went into a slow turn and crashed in flames. Such was the end of this gallant officer who, with 73 victories to his credit, was the last member of the R.A.F. to be awarded the V.C.