By Leslie Wm. Bills
Published by Spellmount Limited, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Captain William Leefe Robinson, VC, RFC, was the first aviator to bring down an airship over England, at Cuffley, Hertfordshire, on 3 September 1916, for which feat he received the Victoria Cross for gallantry in the face of the enemy.
Robinson's fame immediately become world-wide and honours and gifts were showered upon him, to his embarrassment. Shortly after his triumph he was sent to France as a Flight Commander and met in combat the notorious 'Red Baron', Manfred von Richthofen. Taken prisoner, he escaped on many occasions, resulting in very harsh treatment by his German captors.
The author has received stories from elderly eye-witnesses to the destruction of the ill-fated airship, Shutte-Lanz SL11, many of whom sent letters of memories long forgotten, of 'crushes' on the airman who brought it down and the adulation of a grateful population.
William Leefe Robinson typified the courage and spirit of the young men who fought the first 'Battle of Britain' in the First World War.
In 1988 the decorations and memorabilia of this gallant gentleman were auctioned at Christie's, London, on the instructions of his niece, Mrs R. G. Libin, and the proceeds raised were used to fund a charitable trust entitled 'A Medal For Life' to help children suffering from Leukaemia. A proportion of the author's royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the Trust.