1884 – 1955
Who was Lionel Rees?
Group Captain Lionel Wilmot Brabazon Rees VC, OBE, MC, AFC, RAF was a Welsh recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was credited with eight confirmed aerial victories, comprising one enemy aircraft captured, one destroyed, one "forced to land" and five "driven down". Rees and his gunner, Flight Sergeant James McKinley Hargreaves, were the only two airmen to become aces flying the earliest purpose-built British fighter airplane, the Vickers Gunbus.
Rees also had a keen interest in archaeology. While flying from Cairo to Baghdad in the 1920s, he took some of the earliest archaeological aerial photographs of sites in eastern Transjordan, and published several articles in Antiquity and the journal of the Palestine Exploration Fund. He is considered a father of the archaeological studies of this remote area, and a pioneer of aerial archaeology. He was also an accomplished sailor.