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  • Christina Drummond

Flight Lieutenant David Lord VC, DFC, Royal Air Force

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1944, Flight Lieutenant David Lord VC, DFC, Royal Air Force, was killed during the Battle of Arnhem.

The son of a Warrant Officer in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, he enlisted in the RAF in 1936 (after working as a journalist, and also considering entering the priesthood). He became a Sergeant Pilot in 1939, flying in the Middle East and India, then in 1942 on supply missions over Burma. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943, and took part in the D-Day operations the following year.

On the day of his death he flew through intense enemy anti-aircraft fire, was twice hit and had one engine burning. Towards the end of the run he knew that one of his wings might collapse at any moment but he still made a second run to drop the last of the supplies as they were desperately needed. He then ordered his crew to bail out, but moments later the Dakota crashed in flames with its pilot and six crew. The navigator, Flight Lieutenant Harold King, was the only survivor - he was flung out while trying to help the others with their parachutes and then taken prisoner. It was only on his release in 1945 that the story was known, and Flight Lieutenant Lord was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. He is buried alongside his crew in Arnhem Oosterbeek War Cemetery, near Arnhem.

These words are from the VC citation: "His task completed, Flight Lieutenant Lord ordered his crew to abandon the Dakota, making no attempt himself to leave the aircraft, which was down to 500 feet. By continuing his mission in a damaged and burning aircraft, descending to drop the supplies accurately, returning to the dropping zone a second time and, finally, remaining at the controls to give his crew a chance of escape, Flight Lieutenant Lord displayed supreme valour and self-sacrifice."

David, from Cork in Ireland, was 30 years old.

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