Airman wins VC

1/7/1916

Lionel Rees of Caernarvon was awarded the Victoria Cross for an act of exceptional bravery on this day while on patrol during the first hours of the Somme Offensive. He was flying an Airco DH.2, a single-seat fighter biplane, when a German formation of around ten planes attacked. On his own, Rees attacked and seriously damaged two German planes before chasing after others. By this time he had been shot in thigh, which meant that he temporarily lost control of the plane. Despite this, he continued to chase a German plane and used up all of his ammunition. He tried to use his pistol but dropped it somewhere in the cockpit. The German planes retreated and he landed safely back at base.

At the time, Rees was in command of 32 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps.