Title: A Medal For Life – Lieut. W.L. Robinson Worcestershire Regt & R.F.C

Author: Bills, Leslie

Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1990

ISBN: 9780946771563

Cover: Hard Cover without Dust Jacket – 148 pages

Comments: The story of William Leefe Robinson VC of the Royal Flying Corps.

He was the first British pilot to shoot down a German airship over Britain during the First World War. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the first person to be awarded the VC for action in the UK.

On the night of 2/3 September 1916 over Cuffley, Hertfordshire, Lieutenant Robinson, flying a converted B.E.2c night fighter No. 2693, sighted a German airship – one of 16 which had left bases in Germany for a mass raid over England. The airship was the wooden-framed Schütte-Lanz SL 11, although at the time and for many years after, it was misidentified as Zeppelin L 21. Robinson made an attack at an altitude of 11,500 ft (3,500 m) approaching from below and closing to within 500 ft (150 m) raking the airship with machine-gun fire. As he was preparing for another attack, the airship burst into flames and crashed in a field behind the Plough Inn at Cuffley, killing Commander Hauptmann Wilhelm Schramm and his 15-man crew.

This action was witnessed by thousands of Londoners who, as they saw the airship descend in flames, cheered and sang the national anthem, one even played the bagpipes. The propaganda value of this success was enormous to the British Government, as it indicated that the German airship threat could be countered. When Robinson was awarded the VC by the King at Windsor Castle, huge crowds of admirers and onlookers were in attendance.