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Heroes of the Air: G.S.M. Insall by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on January 2, 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 7 May 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. G. S. M. INSALL WINNING THE V.C. IN FRANCE, NOVEMBER 7, 1915

LIEUTENANT Insall was flying a Vickers “Gun Bus” with A.M. T.H. Donald as his gunner on the occasion of the action which won him the V.C. He was on patrol when he saw and pursued an enemy machine. Insall gave his gunner several chances to fire and their adversary was brought down. Not content with this, Insall returned and dropped an incendiary bomb on the German aeroplane to ensure its destruction. Making for home, Insall was forced to land only five hundred yards behind the British lines, whereupon the German artillery opened fire, intent upon completely demolishing the “Gun Bus.” The two flyers took refuge in a shell hole until nightfall, when they crept out to examine their machine. A new petrol tank was needed. They sent for one and fitted it. Other minor repairs were carried out and a digging party was requisitioned from the trenches to level out a runway for a take-off. As dawn came the Vickers rumbled off and winged its way into the air, before the enemy artillery had time to fire a shot. The award of the Victoria Cross was later conferred on Insall for “most conspicuous bravery, skill and determination.”

Heroes of the Air: A. Jerrard by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 19, 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 30 April 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. A. JERRARD WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS BEHIND THE GERMAN LINES, MARCH, 1918

LIEUTENANT Jerrard was, strangely enough, the only pilot to win a V.C. for an exploit in a Camel. It was on March 30, 1918, that Jerrard found himself a few hundred feet above an enemy aerodrome after just having shot down a German machine. What he saw on looking down would have sent another scurrying home to the British lines. No less than nineteen aeroplanes were preparing to take off. Jerrard acted quickly and decisively. Sweeping low over the aerodrome, he opened fire on the machines and as the first one took off he sent it hurtling back to crash on its own aerodrome. Other machines soon took off and attacked one of the pilots in Jerrard’s patrol. Jerrard at once went to his assistance and sent his third machine that day into the dust. By this time he had received several wounds, but he continued to fight until he was overcome by sheer weight of numbers and forced to land. In spite of his wounds and forced landing he escaped with his life. The award of the V.C. followed on May 1, and it was certainly deserved.

Heroes of the Air: Lieut W.A. Bishop

Link - Posted by David on December 8, 2022 @ 5:35 pm 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 14 May 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. W. A. BISHOP IN COMBAT WITH FIVE GERMAN SCOUTS

THE PICTURE below depicts a spectacular incident in the career of Capt. William Avery Bishop, V.C., which took place the day before he was due to go home on leave. He was on patrol when he was suddenly attacked by five Pfaltz D.12, three-gun scouts. Fifteen guns against two! But Bishop was fearless. Within a few minutes he had sent four of the enemy planes hurtling to the ground in flames. On his way home he tried his hand at a little ground-straffing and later engaged and defeated a two-seater. The event for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross was equally thrilling, although carefully planned. It was June, 1917. Bishop, in the early morning, flew over to a German aerodrome and roused the pilots with the roar of his engine. As he had hoped, the German airmen dashed out to their machines to give combat. As the first took off. Bishop was on his tail and shot him down. The second received the same treatment. Several machines now took off together. Bishop waited to dispose of only one more and then set off for home and breakfast. Notification of his award appeared in the London Gazette of August 11th, 1917.

Heroes of the Air: W. Leefe Robinson by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on December 5, 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 23 April 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. W. LEEFE ROBINSON WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS AT WOOLWICH ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1915

AT ABOUT one o’clock on the morning of September 3, 1915, the searchlights picked out a Schutte-Lanz airship making its way over Woolwich. Anti-aircraft shells were bursting all round it with no effect. Lt. W. Leefe Robinson, who had already been in the air some two hours, saw it and gave chase. He was flying a B.E.2.C., and, despite the fact that he was in great danger from “Archies,” he eventually overtook the raider and attacked it. A thorough peppering along the underside of the airship did no apparent damage.

Robinson returned to the attack and concentrated one drum of ammunition under its rear. He had hardly finished the drum when he saw that the airship had taken fire. It crashed at Cuffley. On the fifth of that month, Lt. Robinson was awarded the V.C. for “most conspicuous bravery.” He later flew in France, where he was taken prisoner. The rigours of a German prison camp undermined his health, and on his return to England he fell a victim to influenza. Like many other heroes, he died an uneventful death.

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:

LIEUT. F.H. McNAMARA WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS, PALESTINE, MARCH 1918.

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.”

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:

LIEUT. ALAN McLEOD WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS ON THE WESTERN FRONT, MARCH 1918.

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.

Heroes of the Air: Richard Bell Davies by S. Drigin

Link - Posted by David on September 12, 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.

Serge Drigin (or Sergie, Sergey or Serge R. Drigin) was born in Russia on 8 October 1894.
Without any formal training, Drigin managed to become a successful illustrator in the UK in the 1920s. He did illustrate at least one book in his native Russia in 1919—E. Venskii’s Skazka o rybakie I rybkie—before becoming big illustrating British magazines like 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.

For a few years in the mid 30s he tried his hand at comics, drawing varioius episodes for Film Picture Stories and the serial “The Flying Fish” in Sparkler. By the early 40s he was working for War Artists & Illustrators who supplied material to War Illustrated, Sphere and other such magazines.

After the war, when paper shortages made it hard for illustrators to find work, Drigin turned to comic strips producing many one off strips from 1947 to 48 for the likes of Scion, Ltd, before hooking up with J.B. Allen in 48 and producing a number of series for his Comet, Sun and Merry-Go-Round comics until 49 and moving into contributing features and artwork to various annuals including Swift and Eagle.

Drigin was naturalized in 1932, married three times and died in 1977.

From the 2 April 1938 issue of Flying:

SQUADRON-COMMANDER RICHARD BELL DAVIES WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS AT FERRIJIK JUNCTION, NOVEMBER 19, 1915.

TWO officers were concerned in this gallant action, Commander Bell Davies and Flight Sub-Lieutenant G. F. Smylie, and the incident occurred during a raid on the borders of Bulgaria. Both officers were flying Nieuport Scouts. Near the objective Smylie’s machine was hit by anti-aircraft fire, and although he was compelled to come down, he first flew over his target and dropped nearly all his bombs. Having done this he landed in a marsh and at once took steps to destroy his machine to prevent it from falling into the hands of the enemy. Looking up, he saw to his dismay that Commander Bell Davies was preparing to land with the obvious intention of picking him up. Commander Bell Davies was, of course, landing as close as possible to the now burning machine, unconscious of the fact that an unexploded bomb was still in it. Flight Sub-Lieutenant Smylie thereupon acted with great courage and presence of mind. Running up close to the bomb he fired at it with his revolver until he caused it to explode. By this time enemy troops were rushing forward to make the airmen prisoners, firing as they ran. Nevertheless, Commander Bell Davies landed near his companion on the ground, and under the very rifles of the enemy picked him up in his machine and carried him home to safety. The award of the V.C. appeared in the London Gazette on January 1st, 1916, and concluded with these words: “This was a feat of airmanship that can seldom have been equalled for skill and gallantry.”

Heroes of the Air: Major L.G. Hawker

Link - Posted by David on June 19, 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 28 May 1938 issue of Flying:

MAJOR L. G. HAWKER WINNING THE VICTORIA CROSS OVER THE GERMAN LINES, JULY 25, 1915

IT WAS on July 25, 1915, that Major Lanoe George Hawker was on reconnaissance over enemy territory. He was flying a Bristol Scout when he saw a German two-seater. He at once engaged it with such fury that it turned tail and fled. Continuing on his way, he encountered another two-seater. This time he was more lucky, for he sent his opponent down out of control. His third victory that day over yet another two-seater, was gained on the way home. It was almost dark at the time and the German machine must have presented a grim picture as it spun down in flames. These three successes were all the more surprising because Major Hawker, at that time a Captain, was armed only with a French cavalry carbine, while his opponents were armed with machine-guns. For his gallantry on that day he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Notification was made on the 24th of August in the London Gazette, for “ most conspicuous bravery and very great ability on the 25th July, 1915.” This fearless airman finally fell to the guns of Richthofen, but only after a long and bitter engagement which in the end was decided by the German’s superior equipment—as Richthofen himself admitted.