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Heroes of the Air: Capt. A. Beauchamp-Proctor

Link - Posted by David on February 12, 2024 @ 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 July 1938 issue of Flying:

CAPT. A. BEAUCHAMP-PROCTOR. V.C., DESTROYING A GERMAN KITE BALLOON, 1918

CAPTAIN ANDREW BEAUCHAMP-PROCTOR, who was a South African, served in France with the renowned 84 Squadron, where he won many decorations. He flew an S.E.5A. Like Albert Ball, he was awarded the V.C. for continuous bravery over a long period, not for one particular action. Very little is known about this valorous air fighter, so let us quote from the London Gazette of November 30, 1918. “Between August 8, 1918 and October 8, 1918, this officer proved himself victor in twenty-six decisive combats, destroying twelve kite balloons, ten enemy aircraft, and driving down four other enemy aircraft completely out of control. . . . Captain Beauchamp-Proctor’s work in attacking enemy troops on the ground and in reconnaissance has been almost unsurpassed in its brilliancy, and as such has made an impression on those serving in his squadron and those around him that will not be easily forgotten.” Unhappily this gallant officer lost his life in a crash after the war. On June 21 he was practising for the R.A.F. display, when his machine went into a spin and crashed before he had time to get it under control. In this way ended the career of one who had cheated death so many times in aerial combat.

Heroes of the Air: Capt. F.M. West

Link - Posted by David on January 8, 2024 @ 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 July 1938 issue of Flying:

CAPT. F.M. WEST WINNING THE V.C. OVER THE GERMAN LINES, AUGUST 10, 1918

ON THE morning of August 10, 1918, Captain Ferdinand Maurice West took off with his observer to strafe the German back areas. For this purpose he went far over the enemy lines and he was flying low, attacking infantry, when seven German scouts came upon him. In his Armstrong Whitworth the odds against him were enormous. Quite early in the fight an explosive bullet shattered his leg, which fouled the rudder-bar and caused the machine to fall out of control. No sooner had he lifted his leg clear than he was wounded in the other. In spite of his predicament, he managed to manoeuvre his machine so as to enable his gunner to get in sufficient bursts of fire to drive off the hostile scouts. Then, with great courage and determination, he set off for the British lines, where he landed safely. Weak from loss of blood, he fainted, but when he regained consciousness he insisted on writing his report before going to the hospital. Happily this gallant officer recovered sufficiently to remain in the service, where he is now a Wing Commander.

Christmas with the Coffin Crew!

Link - Posted by David on December 1, 2023 @ 6:00 am in

THIS month we’re going to be celebrating the holidays with Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew! The Coffin Crew has as checkered a history in the pulps as they did in The Great War. The Coffin Crew is, in reality just a renamed Casket Crew. Arch Whitehouse had many series characters—there was flying reporter and U.S. Naval agent Billy “Buzz” Benson; Kerry Keen—ballistics expert by day and masked aerial crime fighter by night known as The Griffon; Coffin Kirk and his simian copilot Tank; Hale Aircraft Corporation Salesman and soldier of fortune Crash Carringer; Secret Service agents Todd Bancroft and Larry Leadbeater; those two old news-hawks Tug Hardwick and Beansie Bishop; and that hell-raising crew of a Handley Page bomber, the Casket Crew! So many, that when it came time to write a series of tales for the new Air Stories magazine in England, he simply wrote more stories of the Casket Crew and just renamed them The Coffin Crew for British readers.

Whitehouse had seven stories in the pages of the British Air Stories magazine—six of them were Coffin Crew adventures. This month we’ll be featuring those six tales as Age of Aces Books brings you “Christmas with the Coffin Crew!”

The Coffin Crew man a Handley Page bomber for one of the squadrons that makes up the Independent Air Force during the First World War. The Independent Air Force was chiefly brought about by the intensive Gotha raids on England during the first six months of 1917. The public demanded reprisals, so three squadrons were banded together with the purpose of giving back to the Germans what they had been doling out to the British.

The Handley Page 0/400 was generally crewed by five people. You had your front gunner, tail gunner, pilot, reserve pilot/bombing officer, and bomber. In the Coffin Crew stories, there is generally a sixth man whose job is to relay the info from the bomb sighter to the bomber so he knows when to pull the toggles and drop the bombs. Characters come and go, but the core members of the Coffin Crew are Lieutenant Graham Townsend, the mad Englishman, is the pilot of the bus with Lieutenant Phil Armitage, equally mad Canadian, the reserve pilot and bombing officer with Private Andy McGregor, still wearing his Black Watch kilts, rounding out the front end crew in the forward gun turret. Silent fighting Irishman Sergeant Michael Ryan, dragging on his short clay pipe, frequently worked the toggle board dropping the bombs and Horsey Horlick manning the rear gun turret.

The Casket Crew started with two stories in Airplane Stories (November 1930 & March 1931) before flying into the pages of Aces for 7 adventures in 1931 and 1932; followed by an additional 7 adventures in the pages of Wings in 1934 and 1935; and wrapping up in the final two issues of War Birds in 1937. These adventures of The Coffin Crew would slot in between the Wings and War Birds issues.

The Coffin Crew starts off with a bang—even being on the cover of the first issue of Air Stories by S. Drigin. In this first story, the Crew is joined by one Meridith Lovelace who makes quite the entrance.

Mr. Meridith Lovelace was ready for the air. And how! His beaming countenance was encased in a fur-lined leather helmet, for which about three hundred Swiss yodellers must have hunted the elusive chamoix for years to get such priceless skins. On top of this rested the finest pair of Triplex glass goggles money could buy. Their lenses were bound in silver bands and the mask-pad was downy with sleek beaver. Beneath the turned-up leather collar of a gaudy flying-coat was wrapped a scarf that would have made Joseph and his Biblical coat go out and take the veil—evidently Meridith’s school colours. The coat in question was a natty garment cut for a musical-comedy aviator, but which must have put a heavy crimp in Mr. Lovelace’s Pay and Mess Book No.54. Beneath that glistened the most polished pair of knee-length, fur-lined flying-boots ever turned out of Bond Street. And then, as if this were not enough for one evening, Mr. Lovelace sported a pair of flying gauntlets, fur-lined, of course, and a long ebony cigarette-holder that glowed at its tip like the gleam of a rapier that is just about to puncture someone’s mess department.

Despite this, the boy knows his stuff and comes through in a pinch and they soon wonder whose war their fighting. From the pages of the May 1935 number of the British Air Stories, it’s Arch Whitehouse’s Coffin Crew in “One Man’s War!”

When the exquisite Mr. Meridith Lovelace was appointed to the toggle-board of Handley-Page bomber No. II, there were doleful prophecies of the fate that would befall the Coffin Crew—that happy band of R.F.C. warriors whose exploits were known from end to end of the Allied lines. But Mr. Lovelace had his own ideas about winning the war—and the Coffin Crew soon found themselves embarked on the craziest adventure in all their mad-cap career.

Be sure to drop by next week for another mad cap romp through hell skies with the Coffin Crew!

Heroes of the Air: Sergt. Thomas Mottershead

Link - Posted by David on November 13, 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 2 July 1938 issue of Flying:

SERGT. THOMAS MOTTERSHEAD WINNING THE V.C. ON JANUARY 7, 1917

SERGEANT THOMAS MOTTERSHEAD had the distinction of being the only noncommissioned officer in the Royal Air Force to win the Victoria Cross. On January 7, 1917, he was on patrol with Lieutenant W.E. Gower, his observer, when they were engaged by several enemy scouts. Mottershead, flying an F.E.2D, at once manoeuvred his machine so as to enable Lieutenant Gower to use his gun to the best advantage. After a short but courageous fight an incendiary bullet penetrated their petrol tank, which burst into flames. Although almost overcome by the heat Sergeant Mottershead brought his machine slowly to earth, and choosing an open space where he would not injure anyone on the ground, managed to make a successful landing. Unhappily Sergeant Mottershead succumbed to his injuries the following day. Notification of the award was made in the London Gazette of February 12, 1917, with the following words: “For conspicuous bravery, endurance and skill. . . . Though suffering extreme torture from burns, Sergeant Mottershead showed the most conspicuous presence of mind in the selection of a landing place, and his wonderful endurance and fortitude undoubtedly saved the life of his observer.”

Heroes of the Air: Major W.G. Barker

Link - Posted by David on October 16, 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 25 June 1938 issue of Flying:

MAJOR W.G. BARKER WINNING THE V.C. OVER THE GERMAN LINES, OCT. 27, 1918

Major W.G. Barker, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., a Canadian officer, was awarded the V.C. for what must have been one of the most courageous air battles of the war. He should have gone home on leave on October 26, 1918, but he stayed for one more day’s flying and took off for England on the 27th. High above the German lines he spotted an enemy two-seater, the pilot apparently thinking himself quite safe. Barker, however, was flying a Sopwith Snipe, one of the most efficient machines in France. Within a few moments he had climbed up to his adversary and had sent him spinning down to earth. A Fokker Triplane, having seen this, came to avenge his countrymen, and close behind him came over fifty more German machines. With bullets converging on him from all sides, Barker fought in a fury. Several times he was hit, but still he fought on. In all, he sent four of his attackers to the ground before he himself was brought down, unconscious, just behind the British lines. He had 52 victories to his credit at the time. In hospital he mended slowly and at last he was able to fly again, only to lose his life in 1930, when a new machine he was testing crashed, killing him instantly.

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:

THE END OF MAJOR E. MANNOCK, V.C.,OVER THE GERMAN LINES, JULY 26, 1918

“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.

Heroes of the Air: Lieut. R.A.J. Warneford

Link - Posted by David on August 14, 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 11 June 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. R.A.J. WARNEFORD DESTROYING THE L.Z.37 OVER THE ENEMY LINES, JUNE 7, 1915

TO SUB-LIEUTENANT Reginald Alexander John Warneford, V.C., belongs the honour of being the first British officer to bring down a Zeppelin. Towards the end of 1915 Britain decided to take decisive action against the activities of the Zeppelins, which were becoming a serious menace. Flying a Morane “Parasol,” Warneford set out from Furnes at one o’clock in the morning, on June 7th, 1915. His instructions were to bomb enemy airship hangars. Within five minutes he sighted the L.Z.37 and set off after it. He carried six bombs, but in order to use them he had to get above his quarry. At first he was too close and five bombs passed right through the airship before exploding. After dimbing a little he dropped his last bomb. It exploded in the nose of the Zeppelin with such force that the “Parasol” was thrown upside down, several hundred feet into the air. Having regained control Warneford found that his engine had stopped. He was forced to land, and repairing a broken petrol pipe as quickly as possible (he was 30 miles inside enemy territory) he took off again for his base. Like many others he did not long survive his triumph; he was killed in a crash near Paris only ten days later.

Heroes of the Air: Lieut. W. B. Rhodes-Moorhouse

Link - Posted by David on July 17, 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 4 June 1938 issue of Flying:

LIEUT. W.B. RHODES-MOORHOUSE WINNING THE V.C. AT COURTRAI, APRIL 26, 1915

ON APRIL 26, 1915, No. 2 Squadron received a message that the railway junction at Courtrai was to be bombed to prevent enemy reinforcements from reaching the front. Lieutenant Rhodes-Moorhouse left the aerodrome at Merville in company with three other machines. Each machine carried a one-hundred-pound bomb, the largest in use at that time. When Rhodes-Moorhouse arrived at the railway junction he descended to a height of only three hundred feet. This enabied him to score a direct hit, but it also exposed him to concentrated fire from all the troops who were waiting at the station and from the anti-aircraft batteries defending it. At such close range the odds were all against him. One bullet broke his thigh, another shattered his hand, and a third reached his stomach. Despite the fact that he was dying and in terrible agony he realised the importance of returning to headquarters to make his report. Unhappily he died of his wounds within twenty-four hours. He was awarded the V.C. on May 22, 1915.

Heroes of the Air: Major L.G. Hawker

Link - Posted by David on June 19, 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 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.

Heroes of the Air: Major J.B. McCudden

Link - Posted by David on April 10, 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 21 May 1938 issue of Flying:

MAJOR J. B. McCUDDEN ATTACKING A HANNOVERANA, FEBRUARY, 1918

THE NOTIFICATIONS of Major J. B. McCudden’s award was made in the following words: “For conspicuous bravery, exceptional perseverance, and a very high devotion to duty. Captain McCudden has at the present time accounted for fifty-four enemy aeroplanes.” McCudden, like several others, was awarded the Victoria Cross not for one particularly brave action, but for consistent gallantry. The incident shown below occurred in February, 1918. It shows his fifty-seventh, and last, victory. McCudden attacked a Hannoverana at close range and poured a stream of bullets into its tail. So furious was this attack that the German observer fell through the shattered fuselage of his machine, to come to earth behind the British lines, while his pilot went on and crashed in German territory. Major McCudden was awarded several other decorations and had the distinction of being the only man to witness the death of Wernher Voss, who was shot down by the guns of Lieutenant Rhys Davids, a member of McCudden’s flight. In July, 1918, he crashed on leaving a French aerodromes for his squadron, and was killed instantaneously. Thus ended the career of one of our most efficient air fighters.

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.”

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