A Collection of Awards to the R.F.C. and R.A.F. formed by Wing Commander Bill Traynor

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Date of Auction: 27th June 2007

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £500 - £700

Three: Lieutenant H. E. Easton, Royal Air Force, late London Regiment and Royal Flying Corps: having been wounded as an infantryman in 1915, he was commissioned into the Royal Flying Corps, and claimed 7 victories as an Observer and Gunner in No. 20 Squadron prior to being wounded again in a combat in March 1918

1914 Star, with clasp (2718 Pte., 9/Lond. R.); British War and Victory Medals (Lieut., R.A.F.), together with his original embroidered Observer’s brevet and a set of related miniature dress medals, generally good very fine (7) £500-700


Harold Edwin Easton, who was born in September 1894, originally enlisted in the 1/9th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen Victoria’s Rifles), in August 1914 and was embarked for France in the following month. Wounded on 27 May 1915, he was evacuated home, but rejoined his unit in the Field as a recently commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in June 1917, via an Officer Cadet Battalion course at Pembroke College, Cambridge.

Three months later, Easton transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, and, having graduated as an Observer, was posted to No. 20 Squadron, a Bristol Fighter unit, at the end of the year. On arrival in France, he teamed up with an American pilot, 2nd Lieutenant W. Beaver (who would shortly be advanced to Flight Commander and awarded the M.C.), and was quickly in action over the Western Front. On 3 January 1918, the pair of them destroyed an Albatros C. in a combat north-east of Moorslede, and three days later, in a scrap over Houthoulst Forest, claimed another as out of control. So, too, an Albatros DV on 3 February, confirmed as destroyed over the Roulers-Menin Road, and no less than three similar enemy aircraft as out of control over the same sector on the 4th and 5th. An identical fate was shared by Albatros C over Menin on the 16th, while a DV was confirmed as destroyed by them south of Roncq on 23 March, but three days later, Easton was badly wounded. Once more evacuated home, he was still in a hospital in Brighton that May, and saw no further active service. Having been advanced to Lieutenant in the newly established Royal Air Force, he was released in January 1919.

Sold with a quantity of original documentation and photographs, including several photographic postcards pertinent to the recipient’s time in Queen Victoria’s Rifles, one of them as sent by him to a brother or cousin (‘Do you see me squinting to keep the sun out!’); a letter of recommendation from his C.O. in the 9th Londons, dated 21 August 1916 (‘He is an expert motor cyclist who should prove to be a dependable despatch raider’); two or three documents pertinent to his time at No. 2 Officer Cadet Battalion, Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1917; his commission warrant for the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, 9th Battalion, The London Regiment, dated 16 May 1917; a movement order from No 1 Auxiliary School of Aerial Gunnery, Hythe, dated 30 October 1917, and further documents pertinent to his subsequent R.F.C. and R.A.F. career; a picture postcard of H.M. Hospital Ship
Oxfordshire; a letter from a fellow pilot in No. 20, dated 3 June 1918, keeping Easton informed of recent events (‘I am glad to learn that you are nearly O.K. ... If the old Hun disliked the Bristols before, they positively hate us now ... Beaver sends his love and may drop in and see you soon when he gets to the home establishment ... ’); his Officer’s Record of Services (Army Book 439) and Officer’s Protection Certificate, this last dated at Wimbledon 12 January 1919; a fine studio portrait photograph of him wearing his Observer’s brevet and 1914 Star riband, and another in full-length leather flying coat and fur gloves, together with two portrait photographs of ‘Billy Beard, my pilot, Bristol Fighter No. B1114’ - possibly his pilot on the occasion that he was wounded in March 1918?