Lost of Lanoe Hawker VC
Lost of Lanoe Hawker VC
On 23 November 1916, while flying an Airco DH.2, Hawker left Bertangles Aerodrome at 1300 hours as part of 'A' Flight which was led by Capt J. O. Andrews. Andrews led the flight in an attack on two German aircraft over Achiet. Spotting a larger flight of German aircraft above, Andrews was about to break off the attack, but spotted Hawker diving to attack. Andrews and Saundby followed him to back him up in his fight; Andrews drove off one of the Germans attacking Hawker, then took bullets in his engine and glided out of the fight under Saundby's covering fire. Losing contact with the other DH-2's, Hawker began a lengthy dogfight with an Albatros D.II flown by Leutnant Manfred von Richthofen of Jasta 2. The Albatros was faster than the DH2, more powerful and with a pair of lMG 08 machine guns, more heavily armed. Richthofen fired 900 rounds during the running battle. Running low on fuel, Hawker eventually broke away from the combat and attempted to return to Allied lines. The Red Baron's guns jammed 50 yards from the lines, but a bullet from his last burst struck Hawker in the back of his head, killing him instantly. His plane spun from 1,000 ft and crashed 200 metres east of Luisenhof Farm, just south of Bapaume on the Flers Road, becoming the German ace's 11th victim. German Grenadiers reported burying Hawker 250 yards east of Luisenhof Farm along the roadside. Richthofen claimed Hawker's Lewis gun from the wreck as a trophy and hung it above the door of his quarters. Major Lanoe George Hawker is listed on the Arras Flying Services Memorial for airmen lost with no known grave.
Hawker's original VC was lost when the Hawker family belongings were left behind after the fall of France in 1940. On their return after the Second World War, they found that their possessions, including the VC, had been stolen. A replacement was issued to Hawker's brother on 3 February 1960, and is now held by the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon.
A window (designed by Francis Skeat) commemorating Hawker was installed in St. Nicholas church, Longparish in 1967. The design features St. Michael above an airfield with two pilots in the foreground. There is a copy of the window at the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.
2016 is the centenary of the death of this early flight pioneer and knight of the skies we will be putting our bust of special offer at £16.95 for November 2016 in commemoration.