Where in February he was posted to the new No.74 Squadron, again as a flight commander. He returned to France with this unit at the end of March, claiming 36 more victories between the 12th of April ands the 16th of June, 17 of them in S.E.5a D278.
He claimed four in a day on the 21st of May, Three in a day on two occasions and two in a day on seven occasions. A warded a D.S.O. and bar, he was considered to be an outstanding Patrol Leader and on the 8th of June he was given command 0f 85 squadron when “Billy” Bishop was recalled to England.
He claimed seven further victories by the 22nd of July, but on the 26thof that month, having shared with his wingman in shooting down a two- seater, his 61st victory, when his aircraft was hit by ground fire when flying low over the German lines. And he crashed to his death in flames in S.E.5a E1295, in which he had claimed all his recent victories since joining the unit.
He was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross on the 18th of July 1919, the citation crediting with 59 victories. The 61 claims which he actually recorded ( or were made for him, as in the case of the last one ) Included 30 and 5 share destroyed, 3 and 2 shared captured, 1 balloon destroyed, plus 17 and 1 shared out of control.
Mannock was one of the most decorated men in the British armed Forces, He received the Victoria Cross the Highest British award for gallantry, The Distinguished Service Order with two Bars and the Military Cross twice.
(C) Damian Grange 2018