Leonard Cheshire

Recipient of the Victoria Cross

Group Captain Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire, Baron Cheshire, VC, OM, DSO and Two Bars, DFC was a highly decorated British RAF pilot during the Second World War. Among the honours he received as a bomber pilot is 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.… Read More

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1917 Birth Born on September 7, 1917.


1936 18 Years Old He went to stay in Germany in 1936 with the family of Ludwig von Reuter in Potsdam and whilst there, witnessed an Adolf Hitler rally. … Read More
1937 19 Years Old During his university years, Cheshire learned basic piloting skills with the Oxford University Air Squadron, receiving a commission as a pilot officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 16 November 1937.


1939 21 Years Old Following the outbreak of war, Cheshire joined the RAF on 7 October 1939 with a permanent commission. … Read More
1940 22 Years Old 1 More Event
Promoted to flying officer on 7 April 1940, he was posted that June to 102 Squadron, flying Armstrong Whitworth Whitley medium bombers, from RAF Driffield.
In January 1941, Cheshire completed his tour of operations, but then volunteered immediately for a second tour.
1942 24 Years Old He was posted to No. 35 Squadron with the brand new Handley Page Halifax and completed his second tour early in 1942, by then a temporary squadron leader. Cheshire was promoted to the substantive rank of squadron leader on 1 March. August 1942 saw a return to operations as an acting wing commander and commanding officer of No. 76 Squadron RAF. … Read More
1943 25 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1943, Cheshire published an account of his first tour of operations in his book, Bomber Pilot which tells of his posting to RAF Driffield and the story of flying his badly damaged bomber ("N for Nuts") back to base. … Read More
1944 26 Years Old 1 More Event
It also gave special mention to a raid against Munich on 24/25 April 1944, in which he had marked a target while flying a Mosquito at low level against "withering fire". … Read More
1945 27 Years Old …  In 1945, in the Vanity Fair club in Mayfair, he joined a conversation about religion. "It was absurd," he said, "to imagine that God existed, except as a convenient figure of speech. … Read More
1946 28 Years Old After the war, Joan Botting (widow of Dambusters pilot Norman Botting) lived with Cheshire at the "VIP (for Vade in Pacem – Go in Peace) Colony" he established for veterans and war widows at Gumley Hall, Leicestershire – one of several new ventures he started after leaving the RAF in 1946. … Read More


At the beginning of 1948, Cheshire heard about the case of Arthur Dykes, who had been one of Cheshire's original "VIP" community at Le Court, and was suffering from cancer. … Read More
1953 35 Years Old In 1953, Cheshire founded the Raphael Pilgrimage to enable sick and disabled people to travel to Lourdes. … Read More


1959 41 Years Old On 5 April 1959, in Bombay's Roman Catholic Cathedral, he married Sue Ryder, also a Roman Catholic convert and humanitarian. … Read More


1992 75 Years Old Cheshire died of motor neurone disease aged 74 on 31 July 1992.
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