08 August 2010

Victoria Cross: J. A. Liddell


Captain, 3d Battalion Princess Louise's (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders); Royal Flying Corps

Born: 3 August 1888, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland
Died: 31 August 1915, La Panne, Belgium

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty [in Belgium] on 31st July, 1915.
When on a flying reconnaissance over Ostend-Bruges-Ghent he was severely wounded (his right thigh being broken), which caused momentary unconsciousness, but by a great effort he recovered partial control after his machine had dropped nearly 3,000 feet, and notwithstanding his collapsed state succeeded, although continuously fired at, in completing his course, and brought the aeroplane into our lines - half an hour after he had been wounded.
The difficulties experienced by this Officer in saving his machine, and the life of his observer, cannot be readily expressed, but as the control wheel and throttle control were smashed, and also one of the undercarriage struts, it would seem incredible that he could have accomplished his task.

(London Gazette issue 29272 dtd 23 Aug 1915, published 20 Aug 1915.)

Note: Liddell's death was due to wounds received during this action. Although it is not mentioned in the VC citation, he had been awarded the Military Cross earlier in 1915 for his services as commander of an Argyll and Sutherlands machine gun section.

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