Meritorious Service Medal Groups from the Collection of Ian McInnes

Date of Auction: 20th September 2002

Sold for £800

Estimate: £800 - £1,000

Five: Senior Mechanic Class 1 R. G. F. Hoffman, Royal Air Force, late Border Regiment and Royal Flying Corps

1914 Star, with ‘slide-on’ clasp (296 Sjt., R.F.C.); British War and Victory Medals (296 S.M. 2, R.A.F.); Army Meritorious Service Medal, G.VI.R., 2nd issue (296 W.O. Cl. 1, Border); Royal Air Force L.S. & G.C., G.V.R., coinage head (296 S.M. 2, R.A.F.) the last with minor official correction to surname, the earlier awards with contact wear, edge bruising and polished, about very fine and better, the M.S.M. nearly extremely fine (5) £800-1000


Robert George Frederick Hoffman, who was born at Walthamstow, London in March 1886, enlisted in the Border Regiment in August 1906. Advanced to Corporal in May 1911, he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in August 1912 and was advanced to Sergeant in that Corps in April of the following year.

On 12 August 1914, he crossed to France with No. 3 Squadron, among his comrades being ‘892 1 A.M. McCudden’, afterwards, of course, the famous ace with a V.C, D.S.O. and Bar, M.C. and Bar, and M.M. to his name. Hoffman remained actively employed in France until late August 1919, during which period he was advanced to Flight Sergeant in October 1914, to Quarter-Master Sergeant in November 1915 and to Master Mechanic (S.M. 2) on the formation of the Royal Air Force in April 1918. Latterly employed with No. 2 Wing and No. 3 Aircraft Depot, he was appointed a Sergeant-Major 2nd Class in January 1919. Sent his 1914 Star in July 1921, he did not actually receive his clasp and rosettes until April 1928.

In September 1923 Hoffman was posted to Iraq and remained there at the Aircraft Depot until late 1926, when he returned to the U.K. His service in this region did not, however, qualify him for the G.S.M. or King Feisal’s Medal. But he was awarded his L.S. & G.C. Medal, the award being promulgated in Air Ministry Order 21 of January 1925. Then, following a brief stint at No. 2 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, he was embarked for China, arriving at Shanghai in May 1927, a short lived posting since he was back in the U.K. at the end of the year.

Hoffman ended his career with a series of appointments at R.A.F. Manston, gained advancement to Sergeant-Major 1st Class in March 1929 and was discharged on a pension in August 1930. And in Army Order 156 of December 1953, he was awarded his Army M.S.M., the award bearing his R.A.F. number and rank, but old Army unit; see A Contemptible Little Flying Corps by Ian McInnes and J.V. Webb for further career details and photograph.

Hoffman stated on his discharge papers that he hoped to find employment with either the Blackburn Aeroplane Company or G.P.O. He died in December 1961, aged 75 years.