Cheshire, Geoffrey Leonard

Date of birth:
September 7th, 1917 (Chester, Great Britain)
Date of death:
July 31st, 1992 (Cavendish/Suffolk, Great Britain)
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Service number 72021.

Promotions:
October 7th, 1939: Pilot Officer
April 7th, 1940: Flying Officer
April 7th, 1941: Flight Lieutenant
March 1st, 1942: Temporary Squadron Leader
March 1st, 1942: Squadron Leader
September 30th, 1943: Wing Commander (war sub)
? : Group Captain
January 22nd, 1946: Commission relinquished due to disability
February 5th, 1981: awarded Order of Merit

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Unit:
No. 102 (Ceylon) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
December 6th, 1940
Action:
Citation:
"In recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy."
Details:
For bringing home a holed and burning Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Flying Officer
Unit:
No. 102 (Ceylon) Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
March 7th, 1941
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Pilot Officer
Awarded on:
March 17th, 1941
Mentioned in Despatches
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Acting Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 76 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
April 20th, 1943
Action:
Citation:
"Since the award of the DFC on March 7th, 1941, Wing Commander Cheshire has completed further operational sorties. Throughout his long and exceptionally distinguished flying career most of the credit for his squadron's outstanding efficiency and success has been due to his example. His magnificent achievements have been amply proved by photographic evidence."
Details:
Second DSO awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO.
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
April 18th, 1941
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Action:
Citation:
"This officer has commanded the squadron with notable success. Within recent months he has participated in many attacks on targets of vital importance to the enemy and the successes obtained are an excellent tribute to his outstanding tactical ability great courage and iron determination. He is a splendid leader, whose personal example and untiring efforts have contributed in a large measure to the high standard of efficiency and fine fighting qualities ol the squadron he commands."
Details:
Third DSO awarded as second bar for on the ribbon of the first DSO
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Wing Commander
Unit:
No. 617 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
November 13th, 1945
Victoria Cross (VC)
Action:
Citation:
“This officer began his operational career in June, 1940. Against strongly-defended targets he soon displayed the courage and determination of an exceptional leader. He was always ready to accept extra risks to ensure success. Defying the. formidable Ruhr defences, he frequently released his bombs from below 2,000 feet. Over Cologne in November, 1940, a shell burst inside his aircraft, blowing out one side and starting a fire; undeterred, he went on to bomb his target. About this time, he carried out a number of convoy, patrols in addition to his bombing missions. At the end of his first tour of operational duty in January, 1941, he immediately volunteered for a second. Again, he pressed home his attacks with the utmost gallantry. Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, Duisberg, Essen and Kiel were among the heavily-defended targets which he attacked. When he was posted for' instructional duties in January, 1942, he undertook four more operational missions. He started a third operational tour in August,. 1942, when he was given command of a squadron. He led the squadron with outstanding skill* on a number of missions before being appointed in March, 1943, as a station commander. In October, 1943, he undertook a fourth operational tour, relinquishing the rank of group captain at his own request so that he could again take part in operations. He immediately set to work as the pioneer of a new method of marking enemy targets involving very low flying. In. June, -1944, when marking a target in the harbour at Le Havre in broad daylight and without cloud cover, he dived well below the range of the light batteries before releasing his markerbombs, and he came very near to being destroyed by the strong barrage which concentrated on him.
During his fourth tour which ended in July,1944, Wing Commander Cheshire led his squadron personally on every occasion, always undertaking the most dangerous and difficult task of marking the target alone from a low level in the face of strong defences. Wing Commander Cheshire's cold and calculated acceptance of risks is exemplified by his conduct in an. attack on Munich in April, 1944. This was an experimental attack to test out the new method of target marking at low level against a heavily-defended target situated deep in Reich territory. Munich was selected, at Wing Commander Cheshire's request, because of the formidable nature of its light anti-aircraft and searchlight defences. He was obliged to follow, in bad weather, a direct route which took him over the defences of Augsburg and thereafter he was continuously under fire. As' he reached the target, flares were being released by our high-flying aircraft. He was illuminated from above and below. All guns within range opened fire on him. Diving to 700 feet, he dropped his markers with great precision and began to climb away. So blinding were the searchlights that he almost lost control. He then flew over the city at 1,000 feet to assess the accuracy of his work and direct other aircraft. His own was badly hit by shell fragments but he continued to fly over the target area until he was satisfied that, he had done all in his power to ensure success. Eventually, when he set course for base,
the task of disengaging himself from the defences proved even more hazardous than the approach. For a full twelve minutes after leaving the target area he was under withering fire but he came safely through
Wing Commander Cheshire has now completed a total of 100 missions. In four years of fighting against 'the bitterest opposition he has maintained a record of outstanding personal achievement, placing himself invariably in the forefront of the battle. What he did in the Munich operation was typical of the careful planning, brilliant, execution and contempt for danger which has established for Wing Commander Cheshire a reputation second to none in Bomber Command.”
Details:
Later promoted to the rank of Group Captain and Baron Cheshire of Woodhall.
Wing Commander Chesire’s Victoria Cross is publicly displayed at the Imperial War Museum in London, Groot-Brittanië.
Geoffrey Leonard Cheshire is buried at the Cavendish Churchyard,(opposite Cavendish Parish Church) Cavendish, Great Britain.

Sources

  • Photo 1: Wikipedia
  • Photo: Wikipedia
  • - Victoria Cross Reference
    - The Register of the Victoria Cross - published by This Engeland 1997 - ISBN 0906324270
    - Special thanks to Iain Stewart from The History of the Victoria Cross
    - The London Gazette Issue 35009 published on the 6 December 1940
    - The London Gazette Issue 35097 published on the 7 March 1941
    - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 35107 published on the 14 March 1941
    - Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 35983 published on the 16 April 1943
    - Fifth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36475 published on the 14 April 1944
    - Fifth Supplement to The London Gazette Issue 36693 published on the 5 September 1944
    - Flight Global - Archive