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Most Decorated Airman Of Both Wars Remembered In Ceremony

Discussion in 'Military History' started by GRW, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

    Oct 26, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Stirling, Scotland
    "A moving ceremony has taken place to remember one of the most highly-decorated airman of both world wars.
    Lieutenant Colonel Louis Strange, who was nicknamed 'The Flying Rebel', cheated death on two occasions, 25 years apart.
    But despite winning a number of medals for his heroism in both the first and second world wars, Lt Col Strange's headstone was left in a 'sorry state' without any mention of what he did for his country.
    The grave in a churchyard in Worth Matravers, Dorset has now been given a makeover fitting for the valiant pilot.
    In 1915 Lt Col Strange was thrown out of his biplane at 2,000ft when the aircraft flipped over as he stood in the cockpit to change the ammunition drum of his mounted machine gun.
    He grabbed hold of the drum and dangled in mid-air as his inverted plane hurtled to the ground.
    He managed to claw himself back into the cockpit using his legs and right the aircraft in the nick of time. The escapade was later recorded in a cartoon in the military magazine Top Spot.
    In the Second World War the then 50-year-old pilot was the last man to leave an RAF aerodrome near Dunkirk as the Germans rapidly advanced and he took off in an unarmed Hurricane while being shot at from the ground.
    As he climbed he encountered eight Messerschmitt 109 fighter planes that chased after him.
    Unable to fight back, he used all his aviation skills to fly at tree-top height to dodge them until he reached Royal Navy ships in the English Channel which gave him covering fire.
    Lt Col Strange developed the concept of shooting and bombing from a plane during the First World War and helped form the Parachute Regiment in the Second World War.
    He also assisted in the planning of D-Day and witnessed the negotiations for the German surrender in Reims, France, in 1945.
    He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Bar and the Military Cross. He was the only airmen to win a DFC in both world wars.
    He received the Military Cross for gaining 'ace' status with six 'kills'.
    Between the wars and afterwards, Lt Col Strange worked as a farmer in the Dorset village of Worth Matravers.
    He donated his set of 12 medals to a local military museum in the 1950s when he feared his estranged wife would take them.
    He died home in 1966 aged 75.
    Last year volunteers from the Keep Military Museum in Dorchester embarked on a search for Lt Col's Strange's lost grave.
    Military historian Peter Metcalfe and Captain Colin Parr eventually found his headstone and gave it the treatment deserving of a hero."
    George Patton, lwd and CAC like this.

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