Corporal G. Whitehead, Royal Air Force, late Royal Flying Corps, who was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre for his gallantry under fire as a ground wireless operator attached to No. 59 Squadron - he was later killed in a gas shell attack in March 1918.
George Whitehead was born in Norwich in July 1897, where his father George was employed as a domestic electrician. Enlisting in the Royal Flying Corps soon after the outbreak of hostilities, he was trained as a ground wireless operator, in which capacity he went out to France in August 1915.
Among his subsequent appointments was a balloon unit, while in February 1917 he joined the strength of No. 59 Squadron at St. Omer. And it was in this latter capacity that he was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 15 April 1918, refers), the recommendation stating:
‘On the morning of 29 November 1917, several items of equipment were required by various batteries in order to enable them to be ready for action, among them a tuner for a siege battery in La Vaqueire. On arriving in the vicinity of La Vaqueire it was seen that not only the battery position itself, but the roads round about the battery, were being heavily shelled. This N.C.O. nevertheless proceeded to the battery and delivered the tuner at very great personal risk. This N.C.O. has always shown great coolness in visiting batteries under fire and a fine sense of duty in undertaking his work.’
Sadly, however, he was killed in a gas shell attack during the German Spring Offensive on 28 March 1918. He was buried in Bienvillers Cemetery, west of Arras. source
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