Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (28 February & 1 March 2018)

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Date of Auction: 28th February & 1st March 2018

Sold for £5,500

Estimate: £3,400 - £3,800

An unusual Second War 1944 D.F.C., and 1945 Second Award Bar group of five awarded to Lancaster and Flying Fortress pilot, Flight Lieutenant, W. D. Austin, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, a Radio Counter Measures Specialist who flew in at least 50 operational sorties with 101 and 214 (Federated Malay States) Squadrons, including five consecutive trips to Berlin and back, and during the first operational use of the Airborne Cigar or A.B.C. - Stuttgart, 7 October 1943

Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1944’, with Second Award Bar, reverse officially dated ‘1945’; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Palestine (6975996 Fsr. W. D. Austin. R. Ir. Fus.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe, 1 clasp, France and Germany; War Medal 1939-45, mounted for display, generally good very fine (5) £3400-3800


D.F.C. London Gazette 11 February 1944:

‘Flight Lieutenant Austin has completed 30 extremely successful and well thought out Operational Sorties with this Squadron. He has attacked a great variety of targets including 13 in the Ruhr and Berlin on five consecutive attacks. An exceptionally capable Pilot with considerable experience he has been of great value to the Squadron, having on several occasions taken over the duties of Flight Commander and assisting in the training of new Crews.

The completion of his Operational Tour is a great loss to the Squadron for his imperturbable manner and complete disregard for all enemy opposition inspired confidence among all with whom he came in contact, while his efficiency as a Captain of Aircraft was second to none.

Flight Lieutenant Austin’s outstanding skill and ability has been worthy of high praise and his devotion to duty has been in keeping with the highest standards of the Service. It is recommended that his fine record of achievement be recognised by an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Remarks by Station Commander:

Flight Lieutenant Austin has maintained a steady and constant progress throughout his first operational tour which not only has been greatly impressive but has been marked by a calm determination and deep devotion to duty.

His skill as a Pilot is equalled only by his tenacity of purpose and eager enthusiasm to attack the enemy. These qualities have been a source of admiration amongst all members of the Squadron whose high morale has been attained in great part due to his fearlessness and leadership.

I recommend that his outstanding achievements and untiring and resolute efforts are fully worthy of recognition by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’

D.F.C. Second Award Bar London Gazette 26 October 1945:

‘As a second tour Captain, F/Lt. Austin crewed up with a first tour crew. By his splendid example and exceptional qualities of leadership his crew soon became one of the mainstays of the Squadron, and were well known for their operational reliability and unusually good discipline in the air and on the ground. By his skill, courage and determination he won the esteem and admiration of his Squadron, and was of great assistance to his Flight and Squadron Commanders.

Remarks by Station Commander:

An outstanding captain of aircraft who led and inspired his crew to an exceptionally high standard of efficiency. A pilot and officer who proved most reliable and who offered a fine contribution to Squadron and Station morale.’

William Donald Austin joined the Army as a musician, aged 16 years and 6 months, in 1927. He served with the Royal Irish Fusiliers in Palestine, prior to the expiration of his ten year service period. Having left the Army, Austin returned to the UK and joined the Police Force. He was serving in the Police Force at the outbreak of the Second War, and due to his occupation being a Reserved one he was unable to rejoin the Army.

Austin was allowed to volunteer as a L.A.C. for pilot training with the Royal Air Force, on the proviso that if he failed his training he would return for service with the Police Force. He carried out initial training at No. 31 E.F.T.S., De Winton, Alberta, Canada, from February 1942. Austin advanced to Corporal, and carried out further training in Harvards at No. 32 S.F.T.S., before returning to the UK and being posted to No. 14 (P) A.F.U., Ossington, in October 1942. He was posted to No. 27 O.T.U., Lichfield, in January 1943. Whilst at the latter Austin advanced to Pilot Officer and carried out training in Wellingtons.

Austin was posted to No. 1656 C.U., Lindholme, in April 1943. He initially trained in Halifaxes prior to converting to Lancasters the following month. Austin was posted as a pilot for operational flying to 101 Squadron (Lancasters), Holme-on-Spalding Moor, in May 1943. He flew in 30 operational sorties with the Squadron, including: Dortmund; Dusseldorf (3); Essen (2); Wuppertal (2); Bochum; Cologne (2); Gelsenkirchen; Turin (2); Hamburg (3); Leverkusen; Hanover (3), including 22 September 1943, ‘Excellent trip. Good prang. “Achtung English Bastards Coming.” A.B.C. experimented, complete success’ (Log Book refers); Stuttgart, 7 October 1943, ‘A.B.C. 100% First operation operated by A.B.C.’ (Ibid); Leipzig (2) and Berlin (6).

During his first tour of operations, Austin had advanced to Flight Lieutenant, been on five consecutive trips to Berlin and back, and had also flown using the Airborne Cigar or A.B.C. - the first time it had been used operationally. This apparatus searched out and jammed enemy radio transmission frequencies, and was accompanied by a specially trained German speaking operator.

Austin was posted to No. 1699 Training Flight, Oulton, in January 1945. He carried out a conversion course on Flying Fortresses, and returned to operational flying when he was posted to 214 (Federated Malay States) Squadron (Flying Fortresses), Oulton, in February 1945. The Squadron was part of No. 100 (Bomber Support) Group, and was employed on radio counter-measures, detecting and jamming enemy radio and radar equipment. Austin flew in 20 operational sorties with the Squadron (the vast majority being ‘Window Stooge’s’), including: Bonn; Dortmund; Munchen Gladbach (2); Neuss; Sylt; Freiburg; Delmonhurst; Chemnitz, 5 February 1945, ‘Circled target 15 mins. No opposition. Fighter interception en route. Evasive successful. V.H.F. Jostle.’ (Ibid) ; Fehmarn Island; Munster; Wurzburg; Hanau; Halle; Stade; Lubeck; Plauen; Kiel; Pilsen and Komotau.

Sold with the following related documentation: Royal Canadian Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Book (18 February 1942 - 18 April 1945); named D.F.C. enclosure slip; Second War campaign medal enclosure slip; letter of congratulation to recipient from Air Vice-Marshal E. A. B. Rice, C.B., C.B.E., M.C., dated 13 February 1944; 17 operational photographs, two group photographs and copied research including a typed statement supposedly from the recipient in later life.