Orders, Decorations and Medals (8 September 2015)

Date of Auction: 8th September 2015

Sold for £1,600

Estimate: £700 - £900

The Great War ace’s M.C. group of three awarded to Lieutenant A. V. Blenkiron, Royal Flying Corps, late Somerset Light Infantry

Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse privately engraved, ‘2nd Lt. Alfred Victor Blenkiron, R.F.C., Mar. 3 1917’, in its case of issue; British War and Victory Medals (Lt. A. V. Blenkoron, R.F.C.), in their ink inscribed card boxes of issue, the last two recent official replacements, good very fine and better (3) £700-900

Footnote

Ex Glendining’s 24 June 1981, when the M.C. was sold by his brother; the latter subsequently applied for official replacements for his British War and Victory Medals.

M.C.
London Gazette 3 March 1917:

‘For conspicuous gallantry in action. Although wounded, he fired his machine-gun with great skill and brought down an enemy machine, thereby enabling his pilot to bring his machine safely home. On another occasion he displayed great courage when observing on patrol and brought down a hostile machine.’

Albert Victor Blenkiron was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire in July 1896 and was educated at Merchant Taylors and Croydon High School. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry in October 1915, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, trained as an Observer and was posted to No. 22 Squadron in France in March 1916. Remaining similarly employed until August, he next joined No. 23 Squadron but it was a short-lived appointment and he removed to No. 25 Squadron at the year’s end.

It was in this latter capacity that he won his M.C., namely for the destruction of a Halb. DII east of Lens on 23 January and an Albatross DII over Harnes on the 29th; on the latter occasion he was acting as Observer to 2nd Lieutenant A. W. Shirtcliffe in F.E. 2b A782, and was wounded in the thigh.

On recovering from his wounds, Blenkiron applied for pilot training and, having gained his ‘Wings’ in June 1917, was posted to No. 56 Squadron in France at the year’s end. One of the R.F.C’s crack squadrons, No. 56 numbered McCudden, V.C., among its pilots at this time; for his own part, Blenkiron gained two confirmed victories, an Albatross DV downed in a combat over Boulon Wood on 15 December 1917 and another south-west of Cambrai on 25 January 1918.

Afterwards ordered to the U.K. to join No. 151 (Night Fighter) Squadron, equipped with Camels, he returned to France with the unit later in the year and claimed his fifth victory in a combat on the night of 14-15 August 1918: spotting the enemy bomber silhouetted and trapped in the night sky by searchlights, he closed in to give the nocturnal intruder several short bursts which caused it to fall in flames near Bapaume.

Blenkiron was invalided home in the following month and admitted to hospital in London; he relinquished his commission on account of ill-health in February 1919.

A little over a year later, on 19 March 1920, and his wife having left him because of financial difficulties, he was found dead in his room at the Ashdown Park Hotel, Coulsdon. The subsequent coroner’s report attributed his death to poisoning; sold with a file of copied research, including combat reports, R.A.F. service record and newspaper reports in respect of his tragic end.