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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:


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.