A dashing Ardoch military man, 1924-25

Hippolyte De La Rue


Hippolyte De La Rue (1891–1977) was a merchant seaman and air force officer. While he lived at Ardoch – 1924 and 1925 – his occupation was listed as ‘aviator’. Despite having a limited education, he achieved several accolades for his military service in both World Wars.

Hippolyte De La Rue joined the merchant navy in 1908 and was living overseas when WWI broke out. During the war, he helped transport soldiers and military equipment between France and England. Significantly, he was present at the Gallipoli landing in 1915 and went on to serve in the Dardanelles for almost eight months.

The following year De La Rue trained as a seaplane pilot and remained serving overseas participating in long-distance bombing, sea patrols and escort duties. He rose to the position of flight lieutenant and honorary captain of the Royal Air Force, being awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross (1918) and the Italian Silver Medal for Military Valour (1919).

He decided to return to Australia in 1919 and became a Flight Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) when it was established in March 1921; he was the RAAF’s only experienced sea-plane pilot at the time. Between 1921 and 1929 he served at various posts located at Point Cook, Laverton, Richmond and Air Force headquarters in Melbourne. By 1926 he had risen to the rank of Squadron Leader.

He returned to England, with the Liaison Office, between 1929 and 1931. On his return to Australia, he held various postings to Melbourne, Point Cook, Richmond (NSW) and Perth (WA) with two short stints in New Guinea during 1944 and Korea, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines during 1945. He was promoted to Wing Commander in 1932, Group Captain in 1936 and Air Commodore in 1941.

He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1944 and retired from the RAAF at the end of WWII in 1946.


Australian Dictionary of Biography

Chris Clark, ‘De La Rue, Hippolyte Ferdinand (1891–1977)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,

https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/de-la-rue-hippolyte-ferdinand-9946/text17619, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 14 December 2022.

National Archives of Australia service record


See also the Wikipedia entry on Hippolyte de la Rue.