Yesterday Lieut. William Leefe Robinson was summoned to Windsor Castle to receive his Victoria Cross from the King in person, in recognition of having been the first person to shoot down a German airship over England.
The crowds lined the street to greet him, but horror of all horrors, his car broke down on the way and he was late!
He has become something of a national hero and his account of the events of that night makes most interesting reading:
“I had been up something more than an hour when I saw the first Zeppelin; she was flying high and I followed her, climbing to get a position above. But there was a heavy fog and she escaped me. I attacked her at long range, but she made off before I could see if I had done any damage.
The next ship I saw, I determined I would attack from the first position I found. I met her just after two o’clock (Sunday morning, the 3rd). She was flying at 10,000 feet. Soon she appeared to catch fire in her forward petrol tank. The flames spread rapidly along her body. She made off eastwards on fire. In several minutes she dipped by the nose and dived slowly in flames to the earth.
I was so pleased that, in my excitement, I pulled the ‘joystick’ and looped the loop several times.”
William has also become entitled to claim over £3,500 in rewards offered by certain private dignitaries for the first person to bring down an airship on English soil.
Maybe a new car will be in order?