A Collection of Medals to Second World War Royal Air Force Casualties

Date of Auction: 17th July 2019

Sold for £260

Estimate: £240 - £280

Three: Sergeant (Wireless Operator / Air Gunner) K. O’Connelley, 102 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who was killed when his Halifax crashed during an air test at Baldersby, Yorkshire, 14 April 1942

1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; War Medal 1939-45, with named Air Council enclosure, in card box of issue, addressed to ‘Mrs. J. O’Connelley, Front Street, Esh, Co. Durham’, extremely fine (3) £240-£280


Kenneth O’Connelley served during the Second World War as a Wireless Operator / Air Gunner with 102 (Ceylon) Squadron from 12 August 1941, and, flying Whitleys, took part in his first operational sortie on 14 August 1941 when he was part of a crew sent to bomb railway facilities in Hannover. From September to November 1941 he took part in raids including Kassel, Le Harve, Stettin, Mannheim, Duisberg and a full moonlight raid on Hamburg. The squadron did not operate during December 1941 and carried out its last raids in Whitely bombers in January 1942. February and March 1942 were spent converting crews to the newer Halifax four engined heavy bomber.

O’Connelley was killed when Halifax R9488, piloted by Light Lieutenant H. M. Williams, whilst undergoing air testing prior to beginning its operational use, crashed near Baldersby, Yorkshire, on 14 April 1942. The cause of the crash was later identified as a rudder overbalance which was responsible for many crashes until rectified. The entire crew of eight, all experienced airmen, were killed.

O’Connelley is buried in Newcastle-upon-Tyne (West Road) Churchyard. His medals were sent to his mother, Jane O’Connelley.

Sold with copied research.