Medals to the R.F.C. and R.A.F. from the Collection Formed by the Late Squadron Leader David Haller

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Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £2,900

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,200

A Great War infantry subaltern’s Somme M.C., pilot’s D.F.C. group of eight awarded to Flight Lieutenant I. Welby, M.C., D.F.C., Royal Air Force, late Lincolnshire Regiment and Royal Flying Corps

Military Cross, G.V.R., the reverse privately engraved, ‘Ignatius Welby, July 2nd 1916’; Distinguished Flying Cross, G.V.R.; 1914-15 Star (2 Lieut. I. Welby, Linc. R.), an official but later impressed issue in small capitals; British War Medal 1914-20 (Capt. I. Welby, R.A.F.); Victory Medal 1914-19, M.I.D. oak leaf (Capt. I. Welby, R.A.F.), this last an official replacement stamped ‘R’ and dating from the 1970s; Defence Medal 1939-45; Belgium, Croix de Guerre 1914-18, together with a set of related miniature dress medals, generally good very fine (16) £1000-1200


M.C. London Gazette 24 August 1916:

‘For conspicuous gallantry. With two men he rescued under a heavy fire a wounded man who was lying 60 yards in front of the parapet.’

D.F.C. London Gazette 3 June 1919.

Ignatius Welby, who was born in 1891, was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Lincolnshire Regiment in early 1915, and went out to France with the 1/5th Battalion later in the same year, and was present at the Battle of Loos. His unit having been transferred to the Somme in the summer of 1916, he won his M.C. for rescuing a wounded soldier of the Sherwood Foresters from No Man’s Land on 2 July.

Transferring to the Royal Flying Corps in March 1917, he gained his “Wings” and was posted to No. 7 Squadron in April 1918, an R.E. 8 unit operating out of Droglandt, and it was in this capacity, as a Flight Commander, that he added the D.F.C. to his accolades, in addition to the Belgian Croix de Guerre (London Gazette 15 July 1919 refers).

Resigning his commission as a Flight Lieutenant in April 1921, Welby travelled extensively between the Wars, but returned to uniform on the renewal of hostilities. Owing, however, to a serious leg injury collected in an inter-war flying accident, he was appointed to ground duties and at one stage served as Adjutant to a Blenheim squadron - during the course of this appointment he is said to have wangled a few trips over the Channel and France.

Placed back on the Retired List in early 1945, Welby died alone in 1976; sold with several original Great War period photographs or postcards.