Proudly on display at Leeds City Museum, Arthur Aaron’s Victoria Cross is a fitting tribute to the remarkable story of a true hero. Born and educated in Leeds, Aaron enlisted in the RAF in 1941 and was promoted to Flight Sergeant in 1943.
Over the next three months, he flew more than 20 bombing missions over Europe. On the night of August 12, 1943, he was captain of a Stirling aircraft that came under heavy fire.
Enemy fire killed a number of crewmen whilst Aaron lost the use of his right arm and part of his face.
Despite those injuries, he landed the plane in Algeria. He died nine hours later and was buried with full military honours at Bône Military Cemetery.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously, with Sir Arthur Harris, commander-in-chief of RAF Bomber Command, writing a letter to his parents which said: “In my opinion, never, even in the annals of the RAF, has the VC been awarded for skill, determination and courage in the face of the enemy of a higher order than that displayed by your son.”
Flight Sergeant Aaron was the only Leeds servicemen to be awarded the VC in the Second World War.
Coun Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s member for museums, said: “Arthur’s story is one of spectacular bravery that should never be forgotten.
“It is a fitting tribute to one of the city’s heroes that his Victoria Cross is displayed in the City Museum as a lasting reminder of his dedication, sacrifice and extraordinary courage.”