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Lot 3597    SESSION 13 (2.30PM THURSDAY 21ST NOV)    Other Properties - British Singles

Estimate $5,000
SOLD $24,000

DFM TO DAM BUSTER: Distinguished Flying Medal (GVIR Ind:Imp), with ribbon brooch bar. 1517241. Sgt. R.Wilkinson. R.A.F. Engraved. In case of issue by G Kenning & Son, a few dig marks at rank and initial in naming, otherwise nearly uncirculated.

Together with,
1) Miniature Group of Five: Distinguished Flying Medal (GVIR); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star with silver rosette emblem; Defence Medal 1939-45; War Medal 1939-45.
2) Certificate for qualifying for 1939-45 Star dated 30.11.42 and signed by CO of 15 Sqn, Bomber 3 Group.
3) Hexagonal fibre compound dog tag impressed, 'R.Wilkinson/Offr/C.E./174050/R.A.F.V.R'.
4) LAC (Leading Aircraftman) woven patches (2); AG (Air Gunner) embroidered badge.
5) Airman's Service and Pay Book for 1517241 Raymond Wilkinson.
6) Airman's Service and Pay Book for 2048439 Iris Edna May Wilkinson nee Riorden, Telephonist, ACW2 16.4.41, LACW 14.11.41, Cpl 28.11.42.
7) Statement of Service and Certificate of Discharge for Iris Wilkinson.
8) RAF Service and Release Book for 174050 F/Lt R.Wilkinson.
9) Observer's and Air Gunner's Flying Log Book for Sgt Wilkinson with some photos and drawings with details. Mention is made of Ops-Tirpitz Battleship sunk 12.11.44 and also low level attack on the Ruhr Dams 16.5.43.
10) Soft cover booklet titled, Evidence in Camera May 24th 1943 Volume 3 Number 8, issued by Air Ministry 'For Official Use Only', a weekly publication showing air combat photos or damage caused to enemy by RAF air raids.
11) Invitation from The Royal Air Forces Association, Associated British Pictures, and The Pathfinder Association to F Lt R.Wilkinson DFM to attend a reception for The Dam Busters No.617 Squadron at The Criterion Restaurant 14 May 1955.
12) Invitation letter and 2 tickets (S/Ldr Wilkinson & Mrs Wilkinson) (sic, rank attained was actually Flt Lt, see other documents for admission to Royal Enclosure and also 2 tickets for World Premiere of The Dam Busters 16 May 1955, with tickets and admit passes signed personally by Charles Penley ESQ, General Manager of the Empire Theatre. Also a Savoy Hotel Menu for a dinner on 16 May 1955.
13) Large program for World Premiere, The Dam Busters 16th May 1955, at Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London. Program lists Sgt R.Wilkinson in Aircraft K along with Pilot Off V.W.Byers R.C.A.F., Sgt A.J.Taylor, Flg Off J.H.Warner, Sgt A.Whittaker, Sgt C.McA.Jarvie, Flt Sgt J.McDowell R.C.A.F. On the aircraft and crew pages are noted in pencil the crews killed or missing. The program also has some autographs, those legible include (Aircraft L) Flg Off B.Goodale DFC, Flg Off J.Buckley DFC, Flt Lt D.J.Shannon DSO, DFC, RAAF, (Aircraft T) W/Cdr J.C.McCarthy DSO, DFC, RCAF, Flt Sgt W.C.Townsend CGM, DFM, Sqn Ldr D.A.McLean DFM, (Aircraft W) Sgt W.Howarth, also A.J.Gibson, father of W/Cdr Guy Penrose Gibson VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar who led the Dam Buster Raid and who died during operations on 19 September 1944 at the age of 26.
14) Four roneod foolscap size pages for Order of Precedence for Premiere. On page 3, Flt Lt R.Wilkinson DFM is listed as one of the thirteen members of 617 Sqn on the raid or the next-of-kin of those killed to be presented to HRH The Duke of Gloucester by Sir Frederick Bowhill and then to HRH The Duchess of Gloucester by Dr J.C.McGown.
15) News article featuring Princess Margaret attending the movie premiere.
16) 2 tickets (F/Lt Wilkinson & Mrs Wilkinson) for admission to Royal Enclosure and also 2 tickets for Repeat World Premiere of The Dam Busters 17 May 1955, with tickets and admit passes signed personally by Charles Penley ESQ, General Manager of the Empire Theatre.
17) Large program for Repeat World Premiere, The Dam Busters 17th May 1955, at Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London.
18) Large soft cover booklet for St Paul's Cathedral, A Service of Thanksgiving for The Life and Work of Sir Barnes Wallis CBE, FRS, 26 September 1887 - 30 October 1979, held on Wed. 27 February 1980. This service was attended by representatives of 617 Sqn RAF. Sir Barnes Wallis invented the bombs and procedure for the successful Dam Buster Raid by 617 Sqn.
19) 617 (R.A.F.) Re-Union Tour 1980, Adelaide-Australia, Thursday, 24th April - Tuesday, 29th April, 1980. Large soft cover booklet featuring a touring party of 120 with names and addresses including Ray and Iris Wilkinson now listed as residents of Noble Park, Victoria, Australia. The booklet features two pages of autographs of various attendees.

All items Ex the Estate of the Late Mrs Iris Wilkinson.

DFM: Supplement to LG 25/5/1943, p2361-2, to 1517241 Sergeant Raymond Wilkinson, No.617 Squadron.

Citation (for some members of 617Sqn involved in the Dam Buster raid): On the night of 16th May, 1943, a force of Lancaster bombers was detailed to attack the Moehne (sic), Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany. The operation was one of great difficulty and hazard, demanding a high degree of skill and courage and close co-operation between the crews of the aircraft engaged. Nevertheless, a telling blow was struck at the enemy by the successful breaching of the Mohne and Eder dams. This outstanding success reflects the greatest credit on the efforts of the following personnel who participated in the operation in various capacities as members of aircraft crew.

Recommendation (for Sgt R.Wilkinson and Sgt D.E.Webb): Sgt. Wilkinson has completed 22 sorties and Sgt. Webb 26 sorties with F/Sgt. Townsend. All have been against targets in Germany or Italy, and on all occasions these two Gunners have displayed courage and keenness of a high order. On 16th May, Sgt. Wilkinson was Rear Gunner and Sgt. Webb Front Gunner of a Lancaster aircraft captained by F/Sgt. Townsend, detailed to attack the Ennepe Dam. To and from the target the opposition was heavy from light flak, but by displaying complete understanding with the Pilot, and by skilful handling of their guns these two Gunners enabled their aircraft to make a successful attack on the dam and then return safely to base. I strongly recommend that the good work of these two gunners be recognised by the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal. Dated 20th May 1943. (Ennepe Dam was a secondary target of the Dam Buster's Raid.)

Raymond Wilkinson, joiner's apprentice, born 1922 in South Shields, County Durham, England; joined RAF in 1941; qualified as Air Gunner; eventually posted to 49 Sqn and flew 21 ops with the Sqn; posted to 617 Sqn 26Mar1943; on the Dam Buster Raid (Operation Chastise, in the Third Wave on Lancaster AJ-O ED886/G) he was credited with shooting out some searchlights near Ahlen and was one of those recognised for his contribution to the successful operation when he was awarded a DFM; he flew a few more ops and then posted to a training role; he re-joined 617 Sqn on 19Oct1944 as Flt Lt in the aircrew of the Australian pilot, Flt Lt Arthur Kell; their first op was a raid on the German ship, Tirpitz in Norway on 28Oct1944; intelligence indicated that the raid was not successful but in fact the ship had been badly damaged; on 12Nov1944 a similar raid was launched, Wilkinson again in Kell's aircrew and this time the Tripitz was capsized; Wilkinson flew in about 17 more ops before war's end including raids on the U-Boat pens at Ijmiiden and the Bielefeld viaduct and was on 617 Sqn's final wartime op on 25Apr1945; Wilkinson was one of only two aircrew to take part in 617 Sqn's first and last wartime operations and had the unique honour of being the only person to have taken part in both the Dams Raid and the final successful attack on the Tirpitz; to Flt Lt 10Feb1946; Disch.18Sep1946; emigrated to Australia after the 1955 premiere of The Dam Busters movie; Died in Victoria 27Jul1980.

In 1942 a British engineer, Barnes Wallis, developed a bombing technique whereby the bomb would bounce across the water and then sink before exploding like a depth charge. To put this new weapon to use Squadron 617 was formed in late 1943 under the command of 24-year old Wing Commander Guy Gibson and made up of aircrew from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and USA. After intensive low-level night training it was time to carry out a raid codenamed Operation Chastise on the dams of the Rhur Valley. The purpose of bombing the dams was to impact on Germany's industrial production. Although successful, the resultant damage to production was not as severe as first imagined, however the operation was a great morale boost for the allies. Of the survivors, 34 were decorated at Buckingham Palace on 22 June 1943. Wing Commander Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross and of the other recipients they received five distinguished Service Orders, ten Distinguished Flying Crosses and four Bars, two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals, eleven Distinguished Flying Medals and one Bar.

Operation Chastise was brought to life for the general public with the release in 1955 of a war movie titled The Dam Busters, in colour and with a cast that included Richard Todd playing the part of Wing Commander Guy Gibson and Michael Redgrave in the part of Barnes Wallis. The storyline was based on the books, Enemy Coast Ahead by Guy Gibson published in 1946 and The Dam Busters by the Australian fighter pilot and WWII prisoner of war, Paul Brickhill published in 1951. Paul Brickhill also wrote The Great Escape and Reach for the Sky. In 1999 the British Film Institute placed The Dam Busters among one of great British films of the 20th century.

With research.

Estimate / sale price does not include buyer's premium (currently 22% including GST) which is added to hammer price. All bids are executed on the understanding that the Terms & Conditions of sale have been read and accepted. For information on grading and estimates please refer to the Buying at Auction advice.

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