Grave cross

Captain Robert Little

During the night of 27 May 1918, Captain Robert Little took off from Le Hameau, France, in a Sopwith Camel aircraft on a mission to attack German Gotha bombers in the area. He was struck by a single bullet in the groin, resulting in a crash landing near Noeux. His body was discovered the following day, and he was buried in the village cemetery. His comrades erected a wooden cross over his grave. He was 22 years old.

Credited with shooting down 47 German aircraft during one year with a front-line squadron, Little remains the most successful Australian fighter pilot. He was known for his aggressive flying style, which saw him shoot at enemy aircraft from the closest possible range, colliding with them on at least two occasions.

Little attempted to join the Australian Flying Corps in 1915, but was unsuccessful due to the limited positions available at the Central Flying School, Point Cook. Determined to become a pilot, he paid his own way to travel to England and after learning to fly at the London & Provincial School in Hendon joined the Royal Naval Air Service. For his service, Little was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and Bar, Distinguished Service Cross and Bar, and the French Croix de Guerre.