John Aidan Liddell

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John Aidan Liddell
John Aidan Liddell VC IWM Q 56193.jpg
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
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Rank Captain
Unit The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders
No. 7 Squadron RFC
Battles/wars World War I 
Awards Victoria Cross
Military Cross
Plaque to Captain John Aidan Liddell, Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

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.

Details[edit]

Liddell was educated at Stonyhurst College, Lancashire and Balliol College, Oxford, where he took the Honours Course in Zoology.

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.[1]

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.[2] 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:[3]

IN MEMORY OF

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
AUGUST 1915

PRESENTED BY HIS BROTHER OFFICERS OF THE

3rd (RESERVE) BATTALION.

A memorial to him was also erected at Balliol College, on the west wall of the Chapel passage.[4] His VC is on display in the Lord Ashcroft Gallery at the Imperial War Museum, London.

A plaque also exists in the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling, close to Stirling Castle, home of his regiment.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29272. pp. 8373–8374. 20 August 1915. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ CWGC entry
  3. ^ War Memorial
  4. ^ John Jones (1999). "Memorial inscriptions". Balliol College Archives & Manuscripts. Balliol College, Oxford. Retrieved 23 November 2010. 

External links[edit]