The Keith Holshausen Collection

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Date of Auction: 16th September 2010

Sold for £850

Estimate: £400 - £500

Four: Lieutenant M. B. Clur, South African Air Force, a member of the “Flying Cheetahs” who flew 75 sorties as a Mustang pilot in the Korea War

South African Medal for Korea 1950-53 (2/Lt. M. B. Clur); United States of America, Air Medal, with oak leaf cluster; U.N. Korea Medal; South Korean Government’s Medal for Korea, together with U.S.A. Presidential Unit Citation riband, in gilt frame, the first with heavy contact marks and edge bruising thus fine, the remainder very fine and better (5) £400-500


Melville Brandon “Mel” Clur, who was born in Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape in January 1930, graduated as a pilot from the S.A.A.F. Central Flying School in May 1951 and was posted to No. 2 “Flying Cheetahs” Squadron in Korea that December. Between then and May 1952, he completed 75 operational sorties in the Squadron’s F-51 Mustangs, and was awarded the American Air Medal, the citation for the former stating:

‘2nd Lieutenant Melville B. Clur did distinguish himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flights against the North Korean invaders. By successfully completing numerous combat missions in F-51 type fighter aircraft between 27 December 1951 and 18 January 1952, he greatly enhanced the efforts of the United Nations Forces. 2nd Lieutenant Clur, flying at extremely low altitudes, did strafe, rocket, and bomb enemy troops, artillery, armament, and other war material. During these flights he was in constant danger from enemy aircraft, ground fire, and artillery. By his display of aeronautical skill and intrepid aggressiveness, 2nd Lieutenant Clur proved to be a credit to himself, and the United States Air Force. His actions are in keeping with the high tradition of the South African Air Force.’

Clur added an oak leaf cluster to his American decoration in General Orders 282, H.Q. Fifth Air Force, dated 14 May 1952, the citation covering similar operations up until the end of March 1952. Returning to South Africa, he resigned his commission in November 1953 and joined the Rand Flying Club as an instructor. Sadly, however, he was killed in a flying accident in the following year; sold with a large quantity of research, including his copied S.A.A.F. record of service.