List of Victoria Cross recipients of the Royal Air Force

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Photograph of the roll of honour to British airmen in St. Clement Danes

The Victoria Cross (VC) is a military decoration awarded for valour "in the face of the enemy" to members of armed forces of some Commonwealth countries and previous British Empire territories. It takes precedence over all other postnominals and medals. It may be awarded to a person of any rank in any service and civilians under military command, and is presented to the recipient by the British monarch during an investiture held at Buckingham Palace. It is the joint highest award for bravery in the United Kingdom with the George Cross, which is the equivalent honour for valour not "in the face of the enemy".[1] The VC has been awarded on 1356 occasions to 1353 individual recipients.

The ribbon is crimson, 38 mm (1.5 inches) wide. The original (1856) specification for the award stated that the ribbon should be red for army recipients and blue for naval ones.[2] However the dark blue ribbon was abolished soon after the formation of the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918. On 22 May 1920 King George V signed a warrant that stated all recipients would now receive a red ribbon and the living recipients of the naval version were required to exchange their ribbons for the new colour.[3][4]

There have been a total of 26 recipients of the VC who were serving in the Royal Air Force, including the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, at the time of their valiant deed or deeds. First World War VCs awarded to airmen in the Royal Flying Corps (13 in total) and the Royal Naval Air Service (2 in total) are not listed below. The vast majority of air force VCs awarded in a single conflict were for the Second World War. Second World War dominion air force personnel under RAF command are not listed below. Their tally is as follows: Royal New Zealand Air Force (3 awards), Royal Australian Air Force (2 awards), Royal Canadian Air Force (2 awards), South African Air Force (1 award). Additionally, two Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm airmen won the VC during the Second World War, one of whom was attached from the Royal Canadian Navy.

All of the 26 men who won the VC while serving in the RAF were aircrew. Although no RAF ground branch officers or tradesmen have ever won the VC while serving in the RAF, Group Captain F H Kirby, who was an RAF equipment officer, won the VC for his actions during the Second Boer War when he was a corporal in the Royal Engineers.[5] No RAF personnel have been awarded the VC since the end of the Second World War.

Recipients[edit]

      This along with the * indicates that the Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously

Name Unit Date of action Conflict Place of action Notes
Mannock, EdwardEdward Mannock 074No. 74 Squadron and
No. 85 Squadron
17 June 1918 to
26 July 1918*
First World War Western Front [6]
Beauchamp-Proctor, AndrewAndrew Beauchamp-Proctor 084No. 84 Squadron 8 August 1918 to
8 October 1918
First World War Western Front [7]
West, FerdinandFerdinand West 008No. 8 Squadron 10 August 1918 First World War Near Ham and Hombleux, France [8]
Barker, WilliamWilliam Barker 201No. 201 Squadron (attached) 27 October 1918 First World War Over the Forêt de Mormal, France [9]
Garland, DonaldDonald Garland 012No. 12 Squadron 12 May 1940* Second World War Over the Albert Canal, Belgium [10]
Gray, ThomasThomas Gray 012No. 12 Squadron 12 May 1940* Second World War Over the Albert Canal, Belgium [10]
Learoyd, RoderickRoderick Learoyd 049No. 49 Squadron 12 August 1940 Second World War Over the Dortmund-Ems Canal, Germany [11]
Nicolson, EricEric Nicolson 249No. 249 Squadron 16 August 1940 Second World War Near Southampton, England [12]
Hannah, JohnJohn Hannah 083No. 83 Squadron 15 September 1940 Second World War Over Antwerp, Belgium [13]
Campbell, KennethKenneth Campbell 022No. 22 Squadron 6 April 1941* Second World War Over Brest Harbour, France [14]
Edwards, HughieHughie Edwards 105No. 105 Squadron 4 July 1941 Second World War Over the port of Bremen, Germany [15]
Scarf, ArthurArthur Scarf 062No. 62 Squadron 9 December 1941* Second World War Over and on return from Singora, Thailand [16]
Nettleton, JohnJohn Nettleton 044No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron 17 April 1942 Second World War On the outward flight and over Augsburg, Germany [17]
Manser, LeslieLeslie Manser 050No. 50 Squadron 30 May 1942 to
31 May 1942*
Second World War Over and attempting to return from Cologne, Germany [18]
Malcolm, HughHugh Malcolm 018No. 18 Squadron 4 December 1942* Second World War Near Chougui, Tunisia [19]
Gibson, GuyGuy Gibson 617No. 617 Squadron 16 May 1943 to
17 May 1943
Second World War Over the Möhne and Eder dams, Germany [20]
Aaron, ArthurArthur Aaron 218No. 218 Squadron 12 August 1943* Second World War Over Turin, Italy and on the return flight to Bone, North Africa [21]
Reid, WilliamWilliam Reid 061No. 61 Squadron 3 November 1943 Second World War On the outward flight and over and returning from Düsseldorf, Germany [22]
Barton, CyrilCyril Barton 578No. 578 Squadron 30 March 1944* Second World War On the outward flight and over and returning from Nuremberg, Germany [23]
Jackson, NormanNorman Jackson 106No. 106 Squadron 26 April 1944 to
27 April 1944
Second World War Attempting to return from Schweinfurt, Germany [24]
Cruickshank, JohnJohn Cruickshank 210No. 210 Squadron 17 July 1944 to
18 July 1944
Second World War North Atlantic [25]
Bazalgette, IanIan Bazalgette 635No. 635 Squadron 4 August 1944* Second World War Over Trossy St. Maximin and flying to Senantes, France [26]
Cheshire, LeonardLeonard Cheshire 000Several bomber squadrons 1940 to 1944 Second World War Western Europe [27]
Lord, DavidDavid Lord 271No. 271 Squadron 19 September 1944* Second World War Over Arnhem, Holland [28]
Palmer, RobertRobert Palmer 109No. 109 Squadron 23 December 1944* Second World War Over Cologne, Germany [29]
Thompson, GeorgeGeorge Thompson 009No. 9 Squadron 1 January 1945* Second World War Over the Dortmund-Ems Canal, Germany [30]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "The world's most exclusive club". Ministry of Defence. 2007-04-30. Retrieved 2007-06-16. 
  2. ^ "Original warrant, Clause Two": Secondly. It is ordained that the Cross shall be suspended from the left breast by a blue riband for the Navy, and by a red riband for the Army
  3. ^ "The Victoria Cross". Imperial War Museum Collections. Imperial War Museum. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 2008-11-15. 
  4. ^ "The Victoria Cross mentioned in newsletter" (PDF). Army Museum of Western Australia. 2006-09-01. Archived from the original on 2007-06-27. Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  5. ^ http://www.homeusers.prestel.co.uk/stewart/lonsouth.htm
  6. ^ The London Gazette: no. 31463. p. 9136. 18 July 1919. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31042. p. 14204. 29 November 1918. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 30999. p. 13199. 5 November 1918. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 31042. p. 14203. 29 November 1918. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  10. ^ a b The London Gazette: no. 34870. p. 3516. 11 June 1940. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 34927. p. 5090. 20 August 1940. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34993. p. 6569. 15 November 1940. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  13. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34958. p. 5788. 1 October 1940. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35486. p. 1163. 10 March 1942. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  15. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35225. p. 4213. 22 July 1941. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37623. p. 3211. 21 June 1946. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  17. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35539. p. 1851. 24 April 1942. Retrieved 2008-11-17.
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35755. p. 4593. 20 October 1942. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  19. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35992. p. 1905. 23 April 1943. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  20. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36030. p. 2361. 25 May 1943. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  21. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36235. p. 4859. 2 November 1943. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  22. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36285. p. 5435. 10 December 1943. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  23. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36584. p. 3041. 23 June 1944. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  24. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37324. p. 5233. 23 October 1945. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  25. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36682. p. 4073. 29 August 1944. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  26. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37228. p. 4185. 14 August 1945. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  27. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36693. p. 4175. 5 September 1944. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  28. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37347. p. 5533. 9 November 1945. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  29. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36997. p. 1593. 20 March 1945. Retrieved 2008-11-16.
  30. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 36948. p. 999. 16 February 1945. Retrieved 2008-11-16.