Alan Arnett McLeod, VC

Discussion in 'World War 1' started by liverpool annie, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod, V.C. (April 20, 1899 - November 6, 1918) of Stonewall, MB was a Canadian WWI Reconnaissance pilot. In the spring of 1918, within seconds after shooting down an enemy aircraft, seven members of Barron von Richtofen's squadron attacked McLeod and his observer.

    Alan Arnett McLeod was born in 1899 in Stonewall, Manitoba. He had a simple childhood typical of the early 1900's. He was a shy and unassuming child, slight of build and quiet. His father was the medical doctor in Stonewall, and later Winnipeg. Being the area doctor he owned an early Ford, and Alan enjoyed driving it down the back country roads. Early on he developed an affinity for the military. He enrolled in The 34th Fort Garry Horse in 1913, at age 14. He was 4 years under age, but the officers looked the other way. It was peace time and there was little doing. Mostly he groomed horses, shovelled manure and the like. But he was thrilled, they even let him wear a uniform.

    When the "Great Adventure" started in 1914, Alan was sent home, with a riding crop as a souvenir, the officers were not so callous as to take a 14 year-old boy to France. He tried several times to enlist in the army in Winnipeg, but he was rebuffed each time and sent back to home and school. He tried to enroll in the cadet wing of the Royal Flying Corps then taking enlistment in Toronto. They insisted on a birth certificate, when they saw he was 17 he was rejected, but they promised to process his application when he turned 18. As soon as he turned 18 he quit school and headed to Winnipeg to start his enrollment in the RFC. His imagination had been captured by stories of flying and fighting in the air. He was signed up as a pilot-in-training and sent to Long Branch just outside of Toronto for pilot training. He turned out to be a natural at it, throwing his AVRO 504 around the sky with abandon. An 18-year old's ignorance of mortality probably played a big role in his abandon. He soloed on his fifth day of in-flight instruction with only 3 hours of experience in aircraft. He proceeded on to Camp Borden for "intermediate" training and graduated with fewer than 50 hours of flying experience. On August 20, 1917 he was shipped off to France in the Matagama as a new 2nd Lieutenant in the RFC.

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