Flight Sergeant Rawdon Hume Middleton V.C. Print Page
A plaque commemorates Flight Sergeant Rawdon Hume Middleton who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. The Victoria Cross was the first to be given to a member of the Royal Australian Air Force.
Rawdon Hume 'Ron' Middleton VC (1916 – 1942) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Flight Sergeant Middleton was captain and first pilot of a Stirling aircraft detailed to attack the Fiat works at Turin in November 1942. Great difficulty was experienced on the way to the target and while over the target the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Flight Sergeant Middleton was badly wounded and his right eye was destroyed. The second pilot was also badly wounded. The possibilities of abandoning the aircraft or landing in northern France were discussed but Flight Sergeant Middleton stated his intention to attempt to reach the English coast.
After crossing the Channel there was only sufficient fuel for five minutes flying. Flight Sergeant Middleton flew the aircraft parallel with the coast and ordered the crew to abandon the aircraft. Five of the crew left the aircraft and two remained to assist him. He steered the aircraft out over the sea, off Dymchurch, and ordered the last two crew to bale out. They then too bailed out, but did not survive the night in the English Channel. Middleton stayed with the aircraft, which crashed into the Channel. His body was washed ashore on 1 February 1943.
The last line of his Victoria Cross Citation reads: "His devotion to duty in the face of overwhelming odds is unsurpassed in the annals of the Royal Air Force".
|Address:||Newell Highway, Visitor Infomation Centre, Cooee Memorial Park, Gilgandra, 2827|
|GPS Coordinates:||Lat: -31.720852|
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
THIS PLAQUE IS IN MEMORY OF
FLIGHT SERGEANT RAWDON HUME MIDDLETON
A NATIVE OF GILGANDRA
WHO DIED IN ACTION IN EUROPE IN 1942
AND WAS POSTHUMOUSLY AWARDED
THE FIRST VICTORIA CROSS
TO BE GIVEN TO A MEMBER OF
THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN
Books donated to the Aviation Section
of the Gilgandra Shire Library
by the Gilgandra Aero Club Limited,
through the resources of the
Middleton V.C. Aerodrome Fund
are given in memory of
Flight Sergeant R.H. Middleton