Tucked away near a landmark Harrow pub and restaurant lies the grave of a man who shot down a German airship during the First World War.

Lieutenant William Leefe-Robinson destroyed Zeppelin L21 late on September 2, 1916, after patrolling for two hours in his bi-plane.

The Leefe-Robinson VC was named in his honour, starting life as a pub built in Uxbridge Road after the Second World War, before becoming a Bernie Inn then a Beefeater Steakhouse.

The local landmark is now owned by firm Miller and Carter.

Having survived the war, Leefe-Robinson died in the flu pandemic that swept the world soon after.

And although the encounter took place over Cuffley in Essex, Leefe-Robinson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery, was buried in Harrow Weald.

The Shutte-Lanz SL-11 was nearly all wood and the hydrogen gas it used to stay aloft meant it soon caught fire when Leefe-Robinson caught it with his machine guns.

Some contemporary sources report looters making off with parts of the airship after the crash.

The German crew was found in nearby fields - some burnt alive, others unscorched having jumped to their deaths.

Leefe-Robinson was quickly hailed as a hero by a Britain fearful of the German bombing raids.

On September 5, The London Gazette announced the airman would be honoured "For most conspicuous bravery".

Four days later he was awarded the VC by the King at Windsor.

As he left he was mobbed by a crowd that had waited to meet him.

Soon afterwards, the Daily Sketch reported: "After the investiture came the other rewards. Colonel Joseph Cowen, proprietor of the Newcastle Daily Chronicle, presented Robinson with £2,000. Lord Michelham of the Bankers Herbert Stern contributed another £1,000, £500 came from William Bow, a Paisley shipbuilder; another £500 from L A Oldfield Esq. Robinson was presented with a silver cup by the residents of Hornchurch for which close on 300 subscriptions had been raised, and with a gold watch by the members of the Overseas Club. Messrs G Wigley and J Ball donated £100, and many smaller gifts were received."

Soon afterwards, Leefe-Robinson married a widow whose husband had died while serving with the Devonshire regiment.

Leefe-Robinson was made a captain and by October he was the Royal Flying Corps' most famed airman.

In a letter to his parents he wrote: "I do really feel ashamed for not writing to you darling old people before, but still, there it is - you know what I am. Busy - !! Heavens, for the last seven weeks.

"I won't say much about 'strafing' the Zepp L21 for two reasons; to begin with most of it is strictly secret and secondly I'm really so tired of the subject and telling people, so I will only say a very few words about it.

"When the colossal thing actually burst into flames of course it was a glorious sight - wonderful! It literally lit up all the sky around and me as well of course - I saw my machine as in the fire light - and sat still half dazed staring at the wonderful sight before me, not realising to the least degree the wonderful thing that had happened!

"My feelings? Can I describe my feelings. I hardly know how I felt.

"As I watched the huge mass gradually turn on end, and - as it seemed to me - slowly sink, one glowing, blazing mass - I gradually realised what I had done and grew wild with excitement."

He also wrote of the adulation he received after the encounter.

"I've had endless other small presents - some of the nicest are paintings of the burning Zepp.

"By the by about five artists have offered to paint my portrait for the Royal Academy. As I daresay you have seen in the papers - babies, flowers and hats have been named after me, also poems and prose have been dedicated to me - oh, it's too much!

"I am recognised wherever I go about town now, whether in uniform or mufti - The city police salute me - The waiters, hall porters and pages of hotels and restaurants bow and scrape - visitors turn round and stare - oh, it's too thick!"

He was later posted to France where he was shot down and captured.

Returned to Stanmore after the war, he died in December 1918.

Miller and Carter, owners of his former namesake, said the company was building a new sign to incorporate the building's old name with that of its new owner.