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 £280

Estimate: £250 - £300

Three: Flight Sergeant S. J. Lytle, Royal Air Force, who was killed in action while serving as a Wireless operator / Air Gunner in No. 44 Squadron in a strike on the marshalling yards at Hamm in July 1941 - a raid led by Wing Commander R. A. B. “Babe” Learoyd, V.C.

1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; War Medal 1939-45, together with the recipient’s original Air Ministry issuance and condolence slips, the latter in the name of ‘Flight Sergeant S. J. Lytle’, and somewhat defaced card forwarding box, addressed to ‘J. S. Lytle, Esq., The Square, Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, N.I.’, extremely fine (3) £250-300


Samuel John Lytle enlisted in the Royal Air Force just prior to the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 and, having qualified as an Wireless Operator / Air Gunner in March 1941, was posted to No. 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron, then operating in Hampdens out of R.A.F. Waddington and commanded by Wing Commander R. A. B. “Babe” Learoyd, V.C.

Between May-July 1941, Lytle completed no less than four strikes on Cologne, in addition to further sorties to Lorient, Duisburg and Brest, the latter to target enemy capital ships in the harbour - official records stating that a huge explosion was seen through the haze.

But his Hampden failed to return from its next mission, a strike on the marshalling yards at Hamm on 8 July, a mission led by Learoyd, V.C. It was later ascertained that it had been hit by heavy flak over the target and crashed nearby. None of the crew survived and, having been buried by the Germans near Hamm, were re-interred in the Reichswald Forest Cemetery after War. Lytle, the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Lytle of Coalisland, Co. Tyrone, had recently celebrated his 21st birthday.

Sold with a file of research, including photocopied O.R.B. entries for all of the recipient’s operations in No. 44 Squadron, and a copied local newspaper cutting with a portrait photograph.