Who's Who - Lanoe Hawker

Lanoe Hawker Lanoe George Hawker (1890-1916) was the first fighter pilot to be awarded the Victoria Cross.

Born in Hampshire in 1890 Hawker enlisted with the British Royal Flying Corps (RFC) before war broke out in 1914.

Once war was underway however Hawker quickly distinguished himself, receiving the DSO in April 1915 for his overtly aggressive tactics with 6 Squadron in successfully attacking - with hand grenades - a German Zeppelin shed at Gontrode.

The following year, on 25 July 1915 in the skies above Ypres, Hawker succeeded in bringing down two German aircraft by - unusually - deploying a variant of the Lewis Gun as a weapon on the starboard side of his Bristol Scout aircraft.  This remarkable success (which included forcing a third aircraft to land) earned Hawker the Victoria Cross, the first for an airman.

Promoted to Major Hawker, whose motto was simply "attack everything", was given command of 24 Squadron in February 1916 while flying the DH2 aircraft.  Having established himself as the first Commonwealth air ace - he achieved seven victories in total - Hawker's remarkable run came to an end when, following a lengthy dogfight with Manfred von Richthofen - the Red Baron, he was downed and killed shot through the head on 23 November 1916 above Bapaume.  He was aged 25.

A bunker comprised a fortification largely built below ground level.

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