Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (13 January 2021)

Date of Auction: 13th January 2021

Sold for £3,400

Estimate: £2,400 - £2,800

A fine Great War D.F.C. group of six awarded to Squadron Leader C. L. Rayment, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, late Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force

Distinguished Flying Cross, G.V.R., the reverse privately inscribed, ‘Lt. C. L. Rayment, 55 Squadron, R.A.F., July 1918, Awarded While Acting with the Independent Air Force’; British War and Victory Medals (Lieut. C. L. Rayment, R.A.F.); Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Special Constabulary Long Service Medal, G.V.R., 1st issue (Cecil L. Rayment) mounted for display purposes with the D.F.C. on original-design horizontal striped riband, good very fine and better (6) £2,400-£2,800


Provenance: Dix Noonan Webb, December 2012.

D.F.C. London Gazette 21 September 1918:
‘This officer has taken part in 35 successful operations and his work throughout has been distinguished by clearness, accuracy of observation and disregard of danger, notably on one occasion when he was Observer to the leader of our first formation which was vigorously attacked by four hostile machines. In spite of this the formation was led over the target, which was effectively bombed. Subsequently the formation was attacked by five hostile machines but owing to skilful leadership the fire of our Observers was so well controlled and directed that the enemy were kept at a distance and the formation returned in safety.’

Cyril Lancelot “Pip” Rayment, a native of Ewell, Surrey, was born in March 1895, and was employed by the Prudential Assurance Company in the City of London prior to the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914. It may well be that he was also a member of the Prudential’s pre-war Special Constabulary contingent, for although granted a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Land Forces in December 1914, his R.A.F. service record suggests that appointment was not taken up until September 1917, when he was described as a ‘Temporary 2nd Lieutenant on probation on the General List’. In the same month he joined the Royal Flying Corps and commenced training as an Observer at Reading.

Duly qualified, Rayment joined 55 Squadron out in France as an Armourer and Observer in December 1917, and was appointed a Flying Officer (O.) in March 1918 - this then the commencement of his operational career, for given the 35 sorties cited above, he must have completed around 20 of them before he commenced his time with the newly established Independent Air Force in June, when in common with other attached squadrons, 55 Squadron was charged with carrying out raids on targets deep behind enemy lines.

Having then flown three photographic reconnaissance sorties in the first half of July, Rayment teamed-up with Lieutenant D. J. Waterous as his pilot, and the pair of them would go on to complete numerous sorties, starting with attack on the powder factory at Rottweil on 22 July, an attack carried out in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire, followed by a protracted combat with four or five Albatross DVs.

During an attack on the railway sidings at Offenburg in the middle of the following month, the Squadron’s D.H. 4s were once more intercepted by numerous Albatross DVs and Rayment claimed another one as out of control - watching the enemy aircraft approach from 45 degrees, he opened fire with his twin Lewis guns and watched it turn on its wing tip and spin away. The remainder of the month witnessed a brace of long-distance reconnaissances and attacks on Coblenz, Treves, Luxembourg and Conflans - on returning from Luxembourg on the 25th, the Squadron was intercepted by six Pfalz Scouts, and the concentrated fire Rayment and two other Observers sent one of them down in a steep dive and out of control.

Finally, on the last day of the month, and on this occasion with Captain J. R. Bell as his pilot, Rayment participated in a costly attack against the railway sidings at Thiornville - of their section, which was jumped by Red Fokker DVIIs, only their aircraft made it back to base. Rayment, moreover, claimed another down out of control.

Back with Waterous in early September, Rayment participated in two strikes against the enemy airfield at Buhl on the 2nd, while on the 7th they were assigned to a solo photographic-reconnaissance mission. Independent Force, by Keith Rennles, takes up the story:
‘Crossed the lines at Balmont at 19,000 feet, exposed plates over Buhl and two aerodromes near Sarrebourg. Waterous and Rayment were taking photographs of an aerodrome between Phalsbourg and Sarrebourg when they noticed three aircraft 300 ft. below them. All three attacked and were joined by four more from 500 ft. below. Six of the enemy aircraft were Fokker DVIIs which were able to fire while literally hanging on their propellers: the other aircraft was described as a Hannover. Rayment fired at one scout which went down out of control. Trying to distance themselves from their attackers, one enemy scout stayed with them for speed and climb, and when Rayment ran out of ammunition the scout closed and shot up the D.H. 4 badly. Waterous only had one option which was to stuff the nose down and hope the machine stayed together and in fact he managed to cross the lines at 6,000 ft. D.H. 4 A7942 was patched up and flew again.’

Transferring to the Unemployed List in early 1919, Rayment returned to life in the City of London, and was among members of the Prudential Assurance Company’s Special Constabulary contingent to be presented to the Prince of Wales at Olympia in January 1921, an accompanying newspaper feature noting that there were ‘four M.Cs, two D.F.Cs, four D.C.Ms, two M.Ms and two M.S.Ms, as well as 21 men wearing the Mons Medal’ among the Prudential’s men alone. He was recalled in the 1939-45 War and served as a Squadron Leader in the R.A.F.V.R., latterly with an appointment in No. 92 Group.

Sold with a quantity of original documentation and related artefacts, including the recipient’s commission warrants for the rank of Second Lieutenant, Land Forces, dated 18 December 1914; Buckingham Palace telegram and admittance tickets (2), regarding his D.F.C. investiture on 10 December 1919; the recipient’s R.A.F. Service and Release Book, stamped 29 November 1946; two group photographs; various telegrams, letters, and newspaper cuttings; and other ephemera.