John Aidan Liddell
|John Aidan Liddell|
Liddell, front, while serving with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders on the Western Front
|Born||3 August 1888
Newcastle upon Tyne, England
|Died||31 August 1915 (aged 27)
De Panne, Belgium
|Buried at||Basingstoke (South View or Old) Cemetery|
|Unit||The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
No. 7 Squadron RFC
|Battles/wars||World War I †|
Captain John Aidan Liddell VC, MC (3 August 1888 – 31 August 1915) was an English pilot and recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Like many men in World War I he volunteered for duty as war approached, 'not wishing to be a slacker' and when he was 26 years old, he became a captain in the 3rd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's), British Army. He spent 43 consecutive days in the trenches in command of the machine gun section before being awarded the Military Cross at Le Maisnil, France before training as a pilot and joining No. 7 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 31 July 1915, while flying reconnaissance over Ostend-Bruges-Ghent, Belgium, Liddell's aircraft was raked by machine gun fire and Liddell was severely wounded in his right thigh. This caused momentary unconsciousness, but by great effort he recovered partial control of his machine when it had dropped nearly 3,000 feet and succeeded, although fired on, in completing the course and brought the plane back into the Allied lines.
The control wheel and throttle control were smashed as was part of the undercarriage and cockpit, but the machine and life of the observer were saved.
After having his leg removed and septic poisoning setting in, Liddell died of his wounds a month later at De Panne, Flanders, Belgium, on 31 August 1915, aged 27. He is buried in The Holy Ghost Cemetery in Basingstoke.
A brass In Memoriam tablet was erected to Aidan Liddell in the Scottish Naval and Military Residence, Edinburgh. The inscription on the brass tablet runs as follows:
CAPTAIN J. AIDAN LIDDELL, V.C., M.C.
3rd (RESERVE) BATTALION
ARGYLL AND SUTHERLAND HIGHLANDERS
MORTALLY WOUNDED WHEN SERVING WITH
THE ROYAL FLYING CORPS
NEAR OSTEND, BELGIUM
PRESENTED BY HIS BROTHER OFFICERS OF THE
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- VCs of the First World War - Air VCs (P G Cooksley, 1999)