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: 21st September 2007

Sold for £4,300

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

An extremely rare Second World War Burma operations M.C. group of seven awarded to Squadron Leader A. I. Mitchell, Royal Air Force Regiment, attached Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment

Military Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1945’; 1939-45 Star; Burma Star; Defence and War Medals; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Cyprus (Sqn. Ldr., R.A.F.); Coronation 1953, contact marks, very fine and better (7) £3000-4000

Footnote

Just 84 officers of the Allied Air Forces were awarded the Military Cross in the 1939-45 War, and only around half a dozen of these were to members of the Royal Air Force Regiment.

M.C. London Gazette 9 February 1945. The original recommendation - written by the C.O. of the 6th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment - states:

‘On 29 September 1944, whilst on detachment to the 6th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment, in the South Mayu Range, Flying Officer Mitchell accompanied an assault party in the attack on the South Tit feature. When the Company Commander was killed, he immediately assumed command as the only remaining officer, and succeeded in capturing and consolidating the objective under accurate hostile shell fire. He remained completely calm and collected despite the unusual situation in which he found himself, and he showed initiative and resolution of a high order.

On 2 October 1944, Flying Officer Mitchell was attached to a Platoon of the 6th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment, which was detailed as a fighting patrol in the area of the Suniamarpara Pimples. The patrol was attacked three times by superior numbers of the Japs and was eventually surrounded. At about 1300 hours, the situation had seriously deteriorated and Flying Officer Mitchell gallantly volunteered to make his way back to the Company base to give news of the situation with a view to bringing down artillery support to assist the withdrawal. He made his way through scrubs and open ground that was continually swept by enemy automatic fire, and he eventually succeeded in getting through. His conduct throughout was most praiseworthy, and his efforts materially assisted in the successful withdrawal of the patrol. He showed marked courage and determination in carrying out an extremely difficult task.’

Angus Ian Mitchell, who was born in August 1921 and first commissioned in June 1942, went on to see action in Burma as a Flying Officer in 2942 Field Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment, on attachment to the 6th Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Regiment - several detachments of the R.A.F. Regiment operated with the Army in the Arakan, Mitchell’s exploits in the period September-October 1944 being a case in point. However, his immediate M.C. would appear to be unique to the R.A.F. Regiment for this theatre of war.

He was advanced to substantive Squadron Leader in June 1958 and was placed on the Retired List in January 1961, latterly having served in Cyprus and as C.O. of No. 37 Squadron, Royal Air Force Regiment.

Sold with a quantity of original documentation, including the recipient’s Buckingham Palace forwarding letter for his M.C., in the name of ‘Squadron Leader A. I. Mitchell, M.C., Royal Air Force Regiment’; a letter from Squadron Leader J. P. Pugh congratulating Mitchell on his exploits, dated 18 October 1944 (‘I hope that you have your just reward. At any event you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you and the other lads have shown what the Regiment can do, and when the facts are published, it will be a tremendous fillip to morale ... ’); a photograph of Mitchell greeting Lord Mountbatten at R.A.F. Akrotiri in April 1960, the former’s handwritten caption stating that he had done ‘one or two odds and ends for him [Mountbatten] at the end of a parachute in Burma’ and that his V.I.P. visitor ‘completely ignored’ the Station Commander pictured behind Mitchell; and an old copy of the London Gazette announcing the award of his M.C.