31 December 1918 We Lost 179
William Leefe Robinson VC
Captain William Leefe Robinson VC (Royal Air Force) dies at the Stanmore home of his sister, the Baroness Heyking, from the effects of the Spanish flu pandemic after his release from a prisoner of war camp. On the night of 2nd/3rd September 1916 over Cuffley, Hertfordshire, Lieutenant Robinson, flying a converted BE2c night fighter, sighted a German airship – one of 16 which had left bases in Germany on a mass raid over England. The airship was the wooden-framed Schütte-Lanz SL11 Robinson made an attack at an altitude of 11,500 ft approaching from below and, closing to within 500 ft, raked the airship with machine-gun bullets. As he was preparing for another attack, it burst into flames and crashed in a field behind the Plough Inn at Cuffley, killing the crew of 16. For his actions he was awarded the Victoria Cross. His wife’s first husband died of wounds in November 1914.
Today’s losses include:
- A Victoria Cross winner whose wife lost her first husband to wounds in November 1914
- The son of a member of the clergy
- A man whose father died das a prisoner of war in November 1915
Today’s highlighted casualties include:
- Lieutenant Colonel Frederick Meredyth Mangin (Royal Army Medical Corps) dies in India at age 51. He is the son of the Reverend James Mangin of King’s School Canterbury.
- Captain Alexander Ralph Abercrombie DSO MC (Royal West Surrey Regiment) dies of influenza at home at age 22. His father died of wounds as a prisoner of war in November 1915.