I mentioned Flt Sgt RH Middleton RAAF in the thread on Newton VC, but he certainly deserves a thread of his own. His feat is one of the most moving examples of human endurance that I know of. "Ron" Middleton was born near Sydney on 22nd July 1916, and worked as a "Jackaroo" on the Wee Wang sheep station, near Brogan Gate NSW. On the night of 28th November 1942 he was captain of a Stirling bomber BF372 of 149 sqdn, on his 29th mission. They were to attack the Fiat works at Turin, which meant a flight across the Alps, four hours each way. Stirlings had limited altitude performance and only four out of the seven even managed to cross the Alps. Over the target, the aircraft was hit several times by anti-aircraft fire. A shell exploded in the cockpit. The windscreen was smashed. Middleton's right eye was torn from it's socket, his jaw was smashed, and he had more wounds in his body and legs. He lost consciousness temporarily, and his second pilot, Flt Sgt LA Hyder, who was also seriously wounded, managed to regain control at 800 feet and drop the bombs, before receiving first aid from the other crew. Middleton determined to bring his crew back to the UK. For four hours, in great pain and barely able to see, he stayed at the controls, back over the Alps in the dark; only the fact that his blood froze in his wounds in the 200mph blast through the windscreen prevented him from losing consciousness. They eventually staggered over the English coast with five minutes of fuel remaining. He ordered his crew to bale out, and five of them did so and survived, but the front gunner and flight engineer stayed to help their captain. Middleton knew that if he baled out at that point the aircraft would crash into densely-populated areas. He steered the aircraft out over the sea off Dymchurch, and he must have ordered the last two crew to bale out because they were found in the sea with their parachutes open; sadly they had died of exposure. Middleton went into the sea with the aircraft; his body was washed ashore at Dover on 1st February. He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. [The Wikipedia entry, which is not my sole reference, says that he was posthumously promoted to pilot officer, but I had not heard that this was done in the British armed forces, and I would prefer confirmation of this] The full crew were: F/S RH Middleton RAAF pilot + F/S LA Hyder 2/pilot P/O GR Royde Observer P/O NE Skinner W/Op Sgt JE Jeffery F/Eng + Sgt SJ Mackie F/Gnr + F/S D Cameron M/U/Gnr Sgt HW Gough R/Gnr Royde was awarded a DFC, Hyder, Cameron and Gough DFMs. Sadly Jeffery and Mackie could not be given awards due to the posthumousness rules.