In 1915, Alan Jerrard was a student at Birmingham University when he volunteered for the army. Commissioned in the South Staffordshires on 2 January 1916, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in August. A year later, he was sent to France to join 19 Squadron. On his second patrol over the lines, he was seriously injured when his SPAD VII crashed on 5 August 1917. After recovering from a broken nose and fractured jaw, Jerrard was assigned to 66 Squadron in Italy on 22 February 1918. For his actions on 30 March 1918, he was credited with three victories for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. On that day, Peter Carpenter and Harold Eycott-Martin accompanied Jerrard on his last patrol of the war. After engaging several Albatros scouts and attacking the Austro-Hungarian aerodrome at Mansue, Jerrard's Sopwith Camel was shot down by Benno Fiala von Fernbrugg of Flik 51J. Jerrard was captured but managed to escape several months later. When the war ended, Jerrard remained in the Royal Air Force, served in North Russia, and retired as a Flight Lieutenant in 1933.
Lt. Alan Jerrard, Royal Air Force (formerly of the South Staffordshire Regiment)
When on an offensive patrol with two other officers he attacked five enemy aeroplanes and shot one down in flames, following it down to within one hundred feet of the ground.
He then attacked an enemy aerodrome from a height of only fifty feet from the ground, and, engaging single-handed some nineteen machines, which were either landing or attempting to take off, succeeded in destroying one of them, which crashed on the aerodrome. A large number of machines then attacked him, and whilst thus fully occupied he observed that one of the pilots of his patrol was in difficulties. He went immediately to his assistance, regardless of his own personal safety, and destroyed a third enemy machine.
Fresh enemy aeroplanes continued to rise from the aerodrome, which he attacked one after another, and only retreated, still engaged with five enemy machines, when ordered to do so by his patrol leader. Although apparently wounded, this very gallant officer turned repeatedly, and attacked single-handed the pursuing machines, until he was eventually overwhelmed by numbers and driven to the ground.
Lt. Jerrard had greatly distinguished himself on four previous occasions, within a period of twenty-three days, in destroying enemy machines, displaying bravery and ability of the very highest order.