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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:


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.