David Lord VC memorial, Wrexham

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This memorial commemorates the bravery of RAF Flight Lieutenant David Lord, who received the Victoria Cross after this death in 1944. A plaque in his memory is located in St Mary’s Cathedral, Wrexham.

He was born in Cork in 1913 to Samuel Beswick Lord and of Mary Ellen Lord. He was educated in various places during his father’s military career, before the family settled in Wrexham. David studied at St Mary’s School, Wrexham, followed by St Mary’s College, Aberystwyth. In Spain he studied to become a Roman Catholic priest, but as Spain toppled into civil war he returned to Britain and enlisted with the RAF in 1936.

David developed an expertise in supplying troops by air, carrying out this operation over various countries including India and Egypt. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1943.

On 19 September 1944 he took off from RAF Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, in a Douglas C47 Dakota marked YS-L. It was one of a group of planes from 271 Squadron loaded with supplies to be parachuted to Allied troops encircled at Arnhem, Netherlands, after an airborne invasion intended to start releasing countries from Nazi occupation. As David approached the drop area, his plane’s starboard engine was hit and caught fire. The plane was clearly doomed, and this was the moment for the crew to bail out.

David flew on, determined to drop the supplies in the correct location. Anti-aircraft gunners focused on the ailing plane, but David kept it level enough for the crew to push out most of the supplies. The plane was losing altitude, but he turned and passed over the area a second time. With all supplies unloaded, he ordered the crew to leave. It was too late. The plane exploded and crashed. The sole survivor was flung out while helping his fellows to fasten their parachutes.

His VC citation records that he flew the crippled plane for eight minutes. It concludes: “By continuing his mission in a damaged and burning aircraft, descending to drop the supplies accurately, returning to the dropping zone a second time and, finally, remaining at the controls to give his crew a chance of escape, Flight Lieutenant Lord displayed supreme valour and self-sacrifice.”

He is buried at Arnhem Oosterbeek war cemetery.

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Postcode: LL12 7AG