A Fine Collection of Medals Relating to Rhodesia and South Africa

Date of Auction: 10th May 2017

Sold for £4,600

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

The extremely rare Second War ‘Pathfinder Force’ D.F.C., Army Best Shot Medal group of eight awarded to Hampden and Lancaster Navigator, Flight Lieutenant R. V. Allan, 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron and 97 (Strait Settlements) Squadron, who flew in at least 50 operational sorties - including the first three Thousand Bomber Raids. Very much a Lancaster Specialist, he also took part in the famous Le Creusot Raid, 17 October 1942, and a number of daylight operations. Returning to Southern Rhodesia after the war, Allan’s shooting prowess was recognised with the award of the Queen’s Medal in 1953.

Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated ‘1945’; 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, 1 clasp, France and Germany; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Efficiency Decoration, E.II.R., silver and silver-gilt, reverse engraved ‘V1082 Capt. R. V. Allan D.F.C.’, with integral ‘Rhodesia’ top riband bar; Efficiency Medal, G.VI.R., 2nd issue, Southern Rhodesia (CR.3351 F/Lt. Robert V. Allan. D.F.C.) edge prepared prior to naming; Army Best Shot Medal, E.II.R., 1 clasp, 1953 (Capt. R. V. Allan. D.F.C. R. Rhodesia. Regt. (T.F.)) surname of last officially corrected, generally very fine (8) £4000-5000


D.F.C. London Gazette 13 April 1945:

‘F/L Allan took part in his first operational sortie in October 1941, when he operated in Hampdens against such targets as Bremen and Kiel. After a short rest, during which he played a notable part in the development of the Lancaster aircraft at Boscombe Down, he resumed operations, participating in the thousand bomber raids against Cologne, Bremen and Essen. During this tour, he navigated his crew to most of the heavily defended targets in Europe, including Bremen (2), Kiel (2), Osnabruck (2), Munchen and Hamburg.

On one operation against Bremen 25.6.42, on the way to the target, the aircraft’s hydraulics were shot completely away, and one engine failed. F/L Allan with great determination and skill navigated the aircraft to Emden, which was bombed to great advantage. Even though his radar aids were destroyed, his pilot’s instruments unserviceable and it was not possible to take advantage of astro-navigation, F/L Allan navigated the aircraft back to Cranwell, where an emergency landing took place. For a short while during this tour, he took part with 120 Squadron on Coastal Command work, protecting convoys and striking against enemy shipping.

At the end of a most distinguished operational tour, this Officer was posted to a Lancaster Conversion Unit, where he spent the next year in imparting his knowledge to new crews.

On August 5th, 1944, he volunteered to return to operational duties and was posted to 61 Squadron, where he carried out another six sorties, of which two were daylight. It was due in no small measure to his efforts that the efficiency of the crew so improved that they were selected for Pathfinding.

As a Radar navigator, F/L Allan has continued to distinguish himself, and has carried out blind illuminating at such targets as Munchen-Gladbach, Karlsruhe, Brunswick, Hamburg and Munchen.

He is most strongly recommended for the non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.’

Robert Victor Allan was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, in August 1920. He was educated at Archbishop Holgate’s School, York, England and Prince Edward School, Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia. He was employed in the Treasury Department of the Southern Rhodesian Civil Service in 1938. He joined the Southern Rhodesia Territorial Force in September 1939, and transferred to the Southern Rhodesian Air Force in March of the following year. He was embodied into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in June 1940. After travelling to the UK, he was posted for operational service as a Navigator/Bomb Aimer with 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron (Hampdens and Lancasters), Waddington, in October 1941. He flew in five operational sorties with the squadron, including: Dunkirk; Schermonnikoog; Bremen, Le Havre and Kiel. At the start of November 1941 he converted to Lancasters and aided in their development at Boscombe Down, before resuming operations with 44 Squadron at the start of May 1942.

Allan flew in a further 23 operational sorties with the squadron (in addition to at least a further two when attached to 120 Squadron on Coastal Command duties in August 1942), including: Gironde Estuary (2); the first three Thousand Bomber Raids to Cologne, 30 May 1942, Essen 1 June 1942 and Bremen 2 June 1942; Hamburg; Saarbrucken; Osnabruck (2); Mainz; Karlsruhe; Bremen; Munchen; Wismar; Bornholm; Warnemunde; Maastricht; Kiel, Le Creusot (Schneider Factory), 17 October 1942; Genoa (2); Milan (Daylight) and Turin.

At the end of 1942, having completed his tour, Allan was posted for instructional duties to a Lancaster Conversion Unit. He volunteered to return to operational flying, and was posted to 61 Squadron (Lancasters), Skellingthorpe, in August 1944. He flew in six operational sorties with the squadron, including: Caen; Chattelerault; Bordeaux (2 - both daylight); Russelheim and Stettin. The efficiency of his crew was recognised, and they were selected for Pathfinder Force. He was posted to 97 (Straits Settlements) Squadron (Lancasters), Coningsby, in October 1944. He flew in 14 operational sorties with the squadron, including: Reydt; Karlsruhe; Wilhelmshaven; Brunswick; Gravenhorst (2); Harburg; Munchen; Heilbronn; Giessen; Gdynia; Politz and Horten.

Having advanced to Flight Lieutenant, Allan was released from service in December 1945. After the war he returned to Southern Rhodesia and rejoined the Civil Service as an Administrative Officer on formation of the Federal Department of Civil Aviation. He served as Quartermaster in the 1st Battalion, Royal Rhodesia Regiment, 1948-1954, and in 1953 was the winner of the Queen’s Medal for Shooting, Southern Rhodesian Forces. He was posted to the Regimental Reserve with the rank of Captain.

Sold with photographic image of recipient.