Bomber Command’s First VC

Of the 32 VCs awarded during World War Two, 19 went to members of RAF Bomber Command. The first was given to Flt Lt (later Wg Cmdr) Roderick Learoyd

Along with many of his comrades, Roderick Alastair Brook Learoyd was not an obvious candidate for the supreme honour of a Victoria Cross.

He was born in Folkestone, Kent on February 5, 1913; the son of an Army Major, and was educated at Hydreye House Prep School in Sussex and later Wellington College in Berkshire before attending Chelsea College of Aeronautical and Automobile Engineering.

There followed a short spell in Argentina as a fruit farmer and a period as a motor engineer before Learoyd decided to join the RAF and learn to fly. He was accepted for pilot training in March 1936 on a short service commission and undertook his ab initio flying at Hamble, Hampshire.

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