RAF Medals Flying High in Sheffield

There had been plenty of pre-sale interest prior to Sheffield Auction Gallery’s Medals & Militaria Auction on 2nd July, particularly in an interesting medal group, consigned for auction by a local Sheffield Client.

A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group, made up of a Distinguished Flying Medal, Africa Star, Italy Star, France Germany Star, 1939-45 Star, War Medal to Flight Lieutenant 1045555 Thomas Dickinson, RAF. Also included in the Lot was the original flying log, photographs, Kings Badge, memoirs and other associated items.

A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group
A WWII RAF DFM Medal Group

Thomas Dickinson was born 1923 and trained with The Royal Canadian Air Force and qualified as a first pilot on Wellington’s and Halifax in December 1942/ January 1943. By March 1943 Sgt Dickinson was with RAF 148 Squadron, a Special Duties Squadron based in Libya flying Halifax aircraft, many for the Special Operations Executive. In May 1943 Dickinson piloted a Halifax on a mission to drop Bill Deakin (later Sir William Deakin) to meet up and act as GCHQ representative with the Yugoslav Resistance and Tito. Deakin was parachuted in over the mountains Montenegro. Due to bad weather Dickinson spent over two hours near the drop zone waiting for the weather to clear. It was for this mission Dickinson was awarded the DFM. A copy of the RAF bulletin is in the lot and makes a typical “SOE” mention of the task. The episode is also mentioned in Deakins biography, “The Embattled Mountain”. By early 1944 Dickinson had retrained on Mosquito’s and joined 692 Squadron flying missions over Europe. On June 28th 1944, with over 1000 logged flying hours, Dickinson was forced to crash land his Mosquito in a corn field near Antingham in East Anglia following engine failure. A crash he was lucky to survive. There is a letter with a first-hand account of the crash by his navigator in the lot. F/L Thomas Dickinson did not fly again in the war, leaving the RAF in July 1946 and returning to Gateshead.

Footnote: Bill Deakins wife was Pussy Deakin, an SOE Operative on whom Ian Fleming based his James Bond character “Pussy Galore” in Goldfinger.

On the day the sale commenced with substantial bids on the auctioneers book, against the room, telephone and internet bidders. The lot opened at £2100 and quickly rose to a final bid of £3800 (plus 17.5% BP) to a telephone bidder (against the internet).

Sheffield Auction Gallery’s next medals & Militaria Auction will be 23rd October and Specialist Valuer John Morgan invites entries for this Sale.

For more information please visit our Sheffield Auction Gallery website.

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