Military Cross awarded to Major Oliver 'Stewpot' Stewart, Royal Flying Corps, 1917
Silver cross with obverse decorated with imperial crowns and royal cypher for King George V in the centre, with white and purple ribbon.
Stewart served with 2/9th Battalion The Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1915, receiving his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate on a Maurice Farman biplane at Military School, Thetford, in March 1916. Serving with 54 Squadron, flying the Sopwith Pup in 1917, he was credited with despatching five German aircraft, qualifying him as an ace.
His Military Cross citation (London Gazette, 17 September 1917) refers to his conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whist undertaking bomber escort duties and offensive patrols, when he showed, 'great fearlessness and skill during severe fighting at close range with enemy machines, successfully holding his own, although on several occasions outnumbered by them.' After retiring from the Royal Air Force Stewart became an aviation journalist.
The Military Cross is a gallantry medal awarded for 'Awarded for an act or acts of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land'. During World War One (1914-1918) the award was restricted to captains or officers of lower rank up to warrant officer.
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