Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (3 December 2020)

Date of Auction: 3rd December 2020

Sold for £4,000

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

An extremely rare ‘Crowned Head’ A.F.M. group of six awarded to Flight Sergeant (Pilot) F. N. Paxman, Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, who served as an Air Mechanic on the Western Front prior to retraining as a Pilot post war. He went on to amass at least 2,500 flying hours in a large variety of aircraft, including: Avros, Bristol Fighters, DH9A’s, Vickers Vimys, Vickers Victorias, Vickers Virginias, Heyfords, Wildebeests and many more whilst serving with “B” Flight, Performance Testing Section, at the Aircraft & Armaments Experimental Establishment, Martlesham Heath

Air Force Medal, G.V.R., 2nd ‘crowned bust’ issue (4490. F/Sgt. (Pilot) F. N. Paxman. R.A.F.); 1914-15 Star (4490 2.A.M. F. N. Paxman. R.F.C.); British War and Victory Medals (4490. Sgt. F. N. Paxman. R.A.F.); Jubilee 1935; Royal Air Force L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (4490. F/Sgt. F. N. Paxman. R.A.F.) mounted for wear, light contact marks overall, generally very fine or better (6) £3,000-£4,000


Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, November 1996.

A.F.M. London Gazette 1 January 1935.

Approximately 20 ‘Crowned Head’ A.F.M.’s awarded.

Frederick Neal Paxman was born in Kent in January 1899. He served during the Great War as an Air Mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps in the French theatre of war from 9 May 1915. He advanced to Sergeant and transferred to the Royal Air Force in April 1918. After the war, Paxman carried out pilot training at No. 1 F.T.S., and the first record in his Log Book shows him in “C” Flight, 1 F.T.S., in November 1921, with his first solo flight being in an Avro, 16 March 1922. Paxman had his first instruction on a Bristol Fighter on 12 June, and flew solo on 5 December 1922. After further instruction on DH9A’s, he was posted, in June 1923, to 7 Squadron at Bircham Newton in Norfolk, where he had instruction on the Vickers Vimy. In December 1923, Paxman was posted to 216 Squadron at Heliopolis in Egypt, flying Vickers Vimys. He was graded ‘above average’ as a pilot in April 1926, and moved on to fly Vickers Victorias and Virginias.

Whilst on No. 22 Instructors Course, Central Flying School, Wittering, in 1927 Paxman flew the Avro Lynx and Bristol Fighters, again being graded as ‘above average’. On 10 May 1927 he rejoined 7 Squadron as a fully qualified pilot, and took part in the Air Pageant at Hendon, 1 July 1927. By September 1928 Paxman had flown 1,015 hours in the air. In November 1928 he was posted to No. 2 F.T.S. at Digby, remaining there for the next three years flying Vickers Vimy and Tiger Moth aircraft. Paxman rejoined 7 Squadron in January 1931 and re-qualified as 1st Pilot (Night) the following March at R.A.F. Worthy Down. He reached 2,000 hours flying in July 1934. In June 1935 Paxman is shown piloting a Vickers Virginia for an R.A.F. film by Gaumont British Film, and in July 1935 he took part in the Royal Review at Mildenhall.

In September 1935 Paxman joined “B” Flight, Performance Testing Section, at the Aircraft & Armaments Experimental Establishment, Martlesham Heath. Here he flew a wide variety of aircraft, including the Heyford, Wildebeest, Hendon, Vincent, Valencia, Bristol Trooper, DH90, Anson, Blenheim, Wellington and Whitley. Paxman was rated ‘exceptional’ as a pilot in 1936 by which time he had amassed 2,500 hours flying. The last entry in his Log Book was made on 1 September 1937 when he flew a Harrow at Martlesham for 35 minutes. In later life he resided at 5 Dolphin Street, Deal, and died in November 1977.

Sold with 8 Royal Air Force Pilot’s Flying Log Books, including 5 Book 425’s, covering the period November 1921 - September 1937.