Aaron AL

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Arthur Louis Aaron
Flight Sergeant
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Born: 5th March 1822
Leeds, United Kingdom

On 12 August 1943 during a raid on Turin, Italy, Flight Sergeant Aaron's bomber was hit by gunfire ( possibly from a night fighter, but may have been friendly fire from another Stirling). The Stirling was very badly damaged; Three engines were hit, the windscreen shattered, the front and rear turrets put out of action and the elevator control damaged, causing the aircraft to become unstable and difficult to control. The navigator, Canadian Cornelius A. Brennan was killed, other members of the crew were wounded, and Flight Sergeant Aaron's jaw was broken and part of his face was torn away. He had also been hit in the lung and his right arm was useless. Despite his terrible injuries he managed to level the aircraft out at 3,000 ft. Unable to speak, Flight Sergeant Aaron urged the bomb aimer with gestures to take over the controls. The crippled bomber made for the nearest Allied bases in North Africa.

Aaron was then assisted to the rear of the aircraft and given morphia. After resting he insisted on returning to the cockpit where he was lifted back into his seat where he made a determined effort to take control and fly the aircraft although his weakness was evident and he was eventually persuaded to desist. In great pain and suffering from exhaustion he continued to help by writing directions with his left hand.

Five hours after leaving the target fuel was now low, but Bone airfield was sighted. Flight Sergeant Aaron summoned his failing strength to successfully direct the bomb-aimer in belly-landing the damaged aircraft in the darkness.

He died nine hours after the aircraft touched down.