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

Date of Auction: 25th March 2014

Sold for £260

Estimate: £200 - £250

Three: 2nd Lieutenant J.H. Dickson, Royal Air Force, late Black Watch and Royal Flying Corps, who completed numerous missions in D.H. 9s of No. 27 Squadron before being killed in a collision on returning from an operation in August 1918

1914-15 Star (2565 Pte. J. H. Dickson, R. Highrs.); British War and Victory Medals (2 Lieut. J. H. Dickson, R.A.F.), edge bruising and polished, thus good fine (3) £200-250


John Hetherington Dickson was born in 1896, the son of John and Martha Dickson of Knock, Belfast. Enlisting in the Black Watch in November 1914, he went out to France in May 1915 and, according to one local newspaper cutting, ‘participated in much of the hard fighting which took place in the two succeeding years.’

Having then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, he qualified for his “Wings” and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1917, following which he was posted to No. 27 Squadron, flying D.H. 9s, in the summer of 1918. And, as verified by squadron records, he completed no less than 24 sorties that July, a bombing mission on the 20th being a case in point:

‘Bombed Fere-en-Tardenois. Unobserved, 14 Fokker biplanes attacked formation over Soissons area at 12,000 feet at 7.45 p.m., and followed to South of the objective when driven off by arrival of S.E. 5s. E.A. were yellow and black with blue band round fuselage. A.A. fairly heavy and accurate. 250 rounds fired at E.A.’

However, on returning from a strafing mission in poor visibility on 14 August, he collided with another D.H. 9, all the crew concerned being killed, including his 19 year old Observer, Sergeant Bernard Percival, who held the French Croix de Guerre and Medaille Militaire. The fatalities from the other D.H. 9 were 2nd Lieutenant John Lee and his Observer, 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Millar, a Canadian, and all four men rest side by side in Wanquetin Communal Cemetery Extension; sold with a file of research, including O.R.B. entries for all of the recipient’s operational sorties.