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British Industrial History

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John Aidan Liddell

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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.

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

He was 26 years old, and a captain in the 3rd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's), British Army, and Royal Flying Corps during the First World War.

On 31 July 1915, while flying reconnaissance over Ostend-Bruges-Ghent, Belgium, 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.

Liddell died of his wounds a month later at De Panne, Flanders, Belgium, on 31 August 1915, aged 27.

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