Orders, Decorations and Medals (7 April 1994)

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Date of Auction: 7th April 1994

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £1,200 - £1,400

A fine Great War Balloonatic's M.C., D.F.C. group awarded to Captain T. G. G. Bolitho, Royal Air Force (Balloon Section), late Royal Flying Corps

MILITARY CROSS, G.V.R., reverse engraved (Lieut., R.A.F., April 1917); DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS, G.V.R., reverse engraved (Capt., R.A.F., Nov. 1918); BRITISH WAR AND VICTORY MEDALS (Capt., R.A.F.) mounted court-style, good very fine and better (4)

Footnote

M.C., London Gazette ,17 April, 1917. 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty when his balloon was attacked by a hostile aeroplane. He saw his Observer safely out, and then descended by parachute himself. He has at all times set a fine example, and has done much to preserve a high standard of efficiency in his section.'

D.F.C., London Gazette, 1 January, 1919 (General Citation).

Thomas Gerald Bolitho was born on 21 May 1890 and entered the Royal Flying Corps in November 1915, his commission as a Lieutenant being confirmed on 1 December, 1916. Appointed to the Balloon Wing, he first saw active service with No. 2 Section between March and December 1916. Next posted to No. 9 Section, a unit with which he remained until August 1917, Bolitho was four times compelled to take to his parachute, a total which equalled that of only one other officer. In fact by the Summer of 1917 he had completed 325 hours operational duty, in itself a major feat given the dangers and stress of the job, a fact humourously confirmed by his entry under the ‘Married or Single’ column in a completed application form for No. 11 Section, his last wartime posting: ‘Single!’

Sold with related research including a short history of No. 9 Balloon Section. This latter documentation states: 'The first day the (new) Drachen-type balloon ascended it was attacked by three hostile planes and burnt. Lieutenant Bolitho parachuted successfully. A new balloon was inflated and two days later was unsuccessfully attacked by hostile planes. The following day the balloon when in the air was heavily shelled and badly holed. Lieutenant Bolitho again parachuted successfully. The next day, whilst the balloon was in the air, it was again attacked by hostile planes . . . and Lieutenant Bolitho made a safe descent by parachute. He afterwards received the Military Cross...'