Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd VC

Name: Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd

Conflict: Second World War

Gazetted: August 20, 1940

Service: Royal Air Force

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Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd VC
Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Folkestone, Kent/February 5, 1913

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Flight Lieutenant (later Wing Commander)

Date of bravery: August 12, 1940

London Gazette citation:

Acting Flight Lieutenant Roderick Alastair Brook LEAROYD (37860).

This officer, as first pilot of a Hampden aircraft, has repeatedly shown the highest conception of his duty and complete indifference to personal danger in making attacks at the lowest altitudes regardless of opposition. On the night of 12th August, 1940, he was detailed to attack a special objective on the Dortmund-Ems Canal. He had attacked this objective on a previous occasion and was well aware of the risks entailed. To achieve success it was necessary to approach from a direction well known to the enemy, through a lane of especially disposed anti-aircraft defences, and in the face of the most intense point blank fire from guns of all calibres. The reception of the preceding aircraft might well have deterred the stoutest heart, all being hit and two lost. Flight Lieutenant Learoyd nevertheless made his attack at 150 feet, his aircraft being repeatedly hit and large pieces of the main planes torn away. He was almost blinded by the glare of many searchlights at close range but pressed home this attack with the greatest resolution and skill. He subsequently brought his wrecked aircraft home and, as the landing flaps were inoperative and the undercarriage indicators out of action, waited for dawn in the vicinity of his aerodrome before landing, which he accomplished without causing injury to his crew or further damage to the aircraft. The high courage, skill and determination, which this officer has invariably displayed on many occasions in the face of the enemy, sets an example which is unsurpassed.

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Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death: Rustington, Sussex/January 24, 1996

Grave/memorials: Worthing Crematorium, Sussex; RAF Memorial, St Clement Danes Church, London

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased privately, 1989

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum