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Name: Lanoe George Hawker
Victoria Cross (VC)
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Lanoe Hawker
Country: England
Rank: Major
Service: Royal Flying Corps
Units: 6, 24
Victories: 7
Born: 30 December 1890
Place of Birth: Longparish, Hampshire, England
Died: 23 November 1916 Killed In Action
Place of Death: S of Bapaume, France
Memorial:
Image
Arras Flying Services Memorial, Pas de Calais, France
Hawker Memorial, Ligny-Thilloy, France
 
 
Lanoe George Hawker was the first ace of the British Commonwealth. An aggressive combat pilot, his motto was "Attack Everything!" Flying a B.E.2c armed with a few bombs and hand grenades, he successfully attacked the Zeppelin shed at Gontrode in April 1915 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. Hawker, with assistance from Air Mechanic Ernest Elton, devised a mount for attaching a Lewis gun to the Bristol Scout in June 1915. While testing his invention, he chased off one German aircraft and drove down two others. For this action, he was the first pilot to receive the Victoria Cross for aerial combat. Hawker was killed in one of the longest dogfights of the war. Flying the Airco D.H.2, he engaged an Albatros D.II behind German lines and was shot down by Manfred von Richthofen. Hawker was the Red Baron's eleventh victim.

"Attack everything." Operational order issued to 24 Squadron by Major Lanoe Hawker

"I attacked, together with two other planes, a Vickers one-seater at 3,000 meters altitude. After a long curving fight of three to five minutes, I had forced down my adversary to 500 meters. He now tried to escape, flying to the front. I pursued and brought him down after 900 shots." Manfred von Richthofen's combat report

Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
 
The Manchester Evening News, Manchester, England, Friday, 6 July 1917, page 3
 
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Lieutenant Lanoe George Hawker, Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps.
   For conspicuous gallantry on 19th April, 1915, when he succeeded in dropping bombs on the German airship shed at Gontrode from a height of only 200 feet, under circumstances of the greatest risk.
   Lieutenant Hawker displayed remarkable ingenuity in utilizing an occupied German captive balloon to shield him from fire whilst manoeuvring to drop the bombs.
 
Victoria Cross (VC)
Captain Lanoe George Hawker, D.S.O., Royal Engineers and Royal Flying Corps.
   For most conspicuous bravery and very great ability on 25th July, 1915.
   When flying alone he attacked three German aeroplanes in succession. The first managed eventually to escape, the second was driven to ground damaged, and the third, which he attacked at a height of about 10,000 feet, was driven to earth in our lines, the pilot and observer being killed.
   The personal bravery shown by this Officer was of the very highest order, as the enemy's aircraft were armed with machine guns, and all carried a passenger as well as the pilot.
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 21 Jun 1915 1945 6 Bristol Scout (1609) DFW C (OOC) Poelcapelle
2 25 Jul 1915 abt 1845 6 Bristol Scout (1611) Albatros C (FTL) Passchendaele
3 25 Jul 1915 1900 6 Bristol Scout (1611) Albatros C (CAP) SE of Zillebeke
4 02 Aug 1915 0800 6 F.E.2b (2864) 1 C (FTL) Wulverghem
5 11 Aug 1915 0645 6 F.E.2b (4227) 2 Aviatik C (DES) Houthem
6 11 Aug 1915 0715 6 F.E.2b (4227) 2 Fokker E (DES) Lille-Roubaix
7 07 Sep 1915 6 Bristol Scout (1611) EA (DES) Bixschoote

1 Observer Lt Payze
2 Observer Lt N Clifton
 
Books
The Air VCs
VCs of the First World War; Peter J. Cooksley / Hardcover / Alan Sutton 1997
Hawker, VC
Tyrrel M. Hawker / Hardcover / 1965
 
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