A Collection of Awards to the Royal Air Force between the Wars (1919-1939) formed by Group Captain JE Barker

Date of Auction: 6th December 2017


Estimate: £3,600 - £4,000

A rare North West Frontier ‘Crowned Head’ D.F.M. group of five awarded to DH9A and Wapiti pilot Sergeant, later Flight Lieutenant, F. A. Robinson, 27 Squadron, Royal Air Force, who amassed over 800 flying hours during a 5 year tour of operations on the North West Frontier, including taking part in some of the earliest recorded flights to Kabul - to evacuate civilians from the European legations during the uprising against King Amanullah, December 1928

Distinguished Flying Medal, G.V.R., 2nd ‘crowned bust’ issue (334098. Sgt. F. A. Robinson. R.A.F.) solder repair to suspension; India General Service 1908-35, 1 clasp, North West Frontier 1930-31 (334098. Sgt. F. A. Robinson. R.A.F.); Defence and War Medals 1939-45; Royal Air Force L.S. & G.C., G.V.R. (334098. Sgt. F. A. Robinson. R.A.F.) mounted for display, generally very fine, unless otherwise stated (5) £3600-4000


Provenance: Spink, March 1994 and DNW, March 2000 (Defence and War Medals subsequently added).

D.F.M. London Gazette 26 June 1931:

‘For gallant and distinguished service rendered in connection with the operations on the North West Frontier of India between 23rd April and 12th September 1930.’

Approximately 22 D.F.M’s issued with the crowned head bust of George V in the period 1931-37.

Frank Arthur Robinson was born at Lobb Quarry, Todmorden, Yorkshire, in June 1901. He enlisted in the Royal Air Force after the conclusion of the Great War, and undertook training as a pilot in 1926. He was posted as a Sergeant Pilot to 27 Squadron (DH9A’s) at Risalpur, India, the following year. At the end of 1927 the Squadron was engaged in the suppression of small tribal uprisings, and in December the following year Robinson flew in some of the earliest flights to Kabul to evacuate civilians from the European legations during the Afghan difficulties. The Squadron provided 12 DH9A’s to work in-conjunction with Vickers Victorias provided by 70 Squadron, for the evacuation of women, children and baggage during the uprising against King Amanullah.

Robinson is mentioned for his time on the North West Frontier in Albert Cowton’s book With the First in the Field, which includes Cowton’s period in India with 27 Squadron. In the last chapter Cowton records that his final visit to successfully assist at an emergency landing ground at Sararogha was to help Robinson, who was stranded there with an overheating engine. Robinson returned the favour when he piloted Cowton’s final flight out of Kohat, 12 March 1929, at the start of his return to the UK.

27 Squadron continued operations on the North West Frontier throughout 1930-31, and Robinson was awarded the D.F.M. for his gallant conduct in operations between April - September 1930. During the latter operations he amassed 120 flying hours and dropped 12 tons of bombs. Robinson’s final posting of the tour was to the Aircraft Depot at Karachi. He returned to the UK in October 1932, having amassed over 800 flying hours over the North West Frontier.

Robinson was awarded the L.S. & G.C. in October 1937. He was commissioned Pilot Officer, Technical (Engineer) Branch, Royal Air Force in May 1942, and advanced to Flight Lieutenant in January 1946. Robinson retired in July 1956, and died at R.A.F. Hospital Cosford in October 1967.

Sold with a group photograph including recipient in uniform; a Life Membership Card and Receipt for the Blackpool branch of the R.A.F.A.; and a copied file of research.