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

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

Sold for £1,300

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A 1945 ‘V.I.P. Flight’ A.F.C. awarded to Dakota pilot Flight Lieutenant A. Bollington, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who was heavily engaged with 575 Squadron for both the Normandy Landings of June 1944, and as part of Operation Market Garden for the airborne operations over Arnhem in September 1944. He later flew V.I.P. flights during the latter part of 1945, including for the King and Queen, Marshal of the R.A.F. Sir Charles Portal, Field Marshal Montgomery, Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan

Air Force Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1945’, unnamed as issued, in Royal Mint case of issue, mounted on original investiture pin, with Free French Air Force badge, bronze and enamel, enamel damage, reverse numbered ‘52’, good very fine £1400-1800

Footnote

A.F.C. London Gazette 7 September 1945.

Alfred Bollington was born in December 1904, and resided at Deepdene, London Road, Morden, Surrey. He learned to fly prior to the Second War, and was commissioned as Pilot Officer into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in June 1940. Bollington carried out further training at No. 22 E.F.T.S. and at No. 9 S.F.T.S. throughout 1941. Subsequent postings included to No. 4 Signals School (later renamed No. 4 Radio School), Madley, where he flew Dominies between December 1941 - May 1943.

Bollington converted to Wellingtons at No. 104 O.T.U., Nutts Corner, in May 1943, before being posted to No. 1527 B.A.T. Flight, Prestwick, the following month. He flew Wellingtons and Dakotas with No. 1 Ferry Pool from October 1943, before being posted to 512 Squadron (Dakotas), Hendon, in January 1944. He stayed at Hendon and transferred to 575 Squadron (Dakotas) the following month. The Squadron immediately began training with airborne forces for the invasion of Europe, and Bollington flew a number of glider towing and parachute dropping exercises before embarking on leaflet dropping flights over France in April.

575 Squadron were engaged with the invasion of Normandy throughout June 1944, and on D-Day the Squadron sent twenty-one aircraft on the initial paradrops. Bollington’s Log Book gives the following, 5 June 1944, ‘Invasion of Normandy. Dropped 19 Paratroops & 6 containers holding mortar gun ammo., barbed wire etc on DZ “K” N.E. of Caen. Dropped stick of bombs on beach prior to going in’; 6 June, ‘Dropped panniers containing H.E. & petrol on DZ “N”’; 18 June, ‘575 Sqd. Formation Leader - Took cargo of bombs & detonators to landing strip near R. Orne. On return shot up by flak 64 holes in aircraft to Cambridge return’; 21 June, ‘Took detonators to Landing Strip’; 25 June ‘Took bombs to Landing Strip near Bayeux.’

From July the Squadron were tasked with a mixture of casualty evacuation flights to France, and general duties flights. Bollington’s Log Books gives 30 July 1944, ‘Newspapers to Normandy. 18 stretcher cases & 6 other casualties on return’; 11 August, ‘Jeep & trailer to Normandy. Return - casualties (24).’

575 Squadron were engaged throughout Operation Market Garden, and provided forty-eight glider-towing aircraft in the first two days of the landings , followed by thirty-eight resupply missions. Bollington’s Log Book gives the following, 18 September 1944, ‘Holland. Took in Glider containing Jeep - Trailer & two motor cycles to Arnhem’; 19 September ‘Brussels return with ammo for front line’; 20 September ‘Arnhem - dropping supplies to 1st Airborne Division - Five holes in fuselage - flak heavy’; 21 September ‘Supplies to Arnhem’; 23 September ‘To Brussels on detachment (immediate supply for Arnhem); 25 September ‘Situation at Arnhem desperate. Took in supplies by pannier. Shot up by flak unable to reach Arnhem through load coming adrift.’

Having advanced to Flight Lieutenant, Bollington was posted to 24 Squadron (Dakotas), Hendon, in January 1945. The Squadron formed part of Ferry Command, and were tasked with mail and passenger flights to Malta, Italy and further afield. Bollington flew a number of V.I.P. flights from May onwards, including: the Commander in Chief of the Czech Air Force; the Commander in Chief of the Polish Army; Air Marshal Cochran; Air Marshal Lloyd and Marshal of the R.A.F. Sir Charles Portal. In July 1945, Bollington’s passengers included the King and Queen; Anthony Eden and Harold Macmillan. He carried out a number of flights for Field Marshal Montgomery in August 1945.

Sold with the following items: Civil Pilot’s Log Book (11 November 1938 - 19 July 1941); two Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Books (24 July 1941 -31 December 1943 and 4 January 1944 - 8 August 1945); Royal Air Force Service and Release Book; a portrait photograph of recipient in uniform and a copy of Pilot’s Notes for Dakota I & III.