Lot Archive


№ 1277


17 September 2004

Hammer Price:

A particularly fine and early Second World War D.F.M. group of five awarded to Flying Officer G. Guest, Royal Air Force, who flew operationally in Blenheims of the famous 601 “Millionaires” Squadron 1939-40, in Whitleys of No. 58 Squadron 1940-41 and in Coastal Command Halifaxes of No. 502 Squadron 1944-45

Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R. (624141 Sgt. G. Guest, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence and War Medals, good very fine and better (5) £1400-1600

D.F.M. London Gazette 7 March 1941. The original recommendation states:

‘Sergeant Guest has been continuously employed since August 1940 on operations against the enemy involving 173 hours of operational flying. He has not failed to maintain communications with base even in the worst weather and in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire and thus has enabled his aircraft to return safely from long distance flights. Sergeant Guest has shown great coolness in the face of the enemy and his work has been of the highest standard throughout.’

George Guest, who was born in Birmingham in 1915, entered the Royal Air Force in the late 1930s, and first gained some flying experience in Demons of No. 601 (“Millionaires”) Squadron between June 1937 and October 1938. Interestingly, his log book entries for the period in question reveal that he flew on several occasions with Flight Lieutenant Roger Bushell, afterwards the driving force behind the famous “Great Escape”, in which he was murdered by the Gestapo, and at least once with Flying Officer “Max” Aitken, son of Lord Beaverbrook and afterwards a celebrated fighter ace.

The advent of hostilities found Guest as a qualified Wireless Operator (w.e.f. May 1939), and in the following October he passed an Air Gunner’s course. He was immediately posted back to No. 601 Squadron, now flying Blenheims out of Biggin Hill and between then and March 1940, by which stage the Squadron had moved to Tangmere, he completed 12 operational sorties. Throughout this period he flew with a number of well-known squadron pilots and personalities, among them Pilot Officer Richard Demetriadi, the son of Sir Stephen Demetriadi, K.B.E., and his brother-in-law, Flying Officer William Rhodes-Moorhouse, the son of the Royal Flying Corps V.C. - both men were killed in action in the Battle of Britain. So, too, with Flying Officer Tom Hubbard and Flight Lieutenant Christopher Riddle, both of whom survived the War.

His first sortie with No. 601 was also the first operation to be mounted by the squadron in the War, namely a strike against the enemy seaplane base at Borkum on 28 November 1939. On this occasion Guest flew in a Blenheim piloted by Hubbard, one of twelve chosen for the raid, and ‘the enemy defences were taken completely by surprise, the guns of the Blenheims straddling seaplanes at their moorings. All twelve aircraft made the return crossing of the North Sea to land at Debden, Essex, without damage or casualty to the crews. This was the first crossing of Nazi territory by British fighters ...’ (
Twenty-One Squadrons, The History of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force 1925-1957, by Leslie Hunt, refers).

On 6 December, with Rhodes-Moorhouse as his pilot, Guest flew on a North Sea patrol, and again on the 24th, in a sweep over Dover-Calais, during which their Blenheim was attacked by some over zealous Hurricanes, but without serious damage. In January 1940, he participated in five more operational patrols over the Channel, twice with Riddle at the controls and once with Hubbard, but over the next eight weeks just two more outings got off the ground, the last of them with Rhodes-Moorhouse over the North Sea on 6 March.

Guest was posted to No. 7 Squadron at Upper Heyford later that month, and thence to No. 12 O.T.U. at Benson and to No. 10 O.T.U. at Abingdon, at which latter unit he converted to Whitleys. Then in August 1940, he commenced an operational tour with No. 58 Squadron, flying in the same aircraft type out of Linton-on-Ouse. His first sortie was to Frankfurt on the 10th, and by the end of February 1941 he had participated in 27 other trips, targets including Amsterdam, Bremen (thrice), Brest (thrice), Dusseldorf, Krefeld, Le Havre, Leuna, Mannheim (six times - including the R.A.F’s first “area” raid on the 16 December), Stettin (twice), and Wilhelmshaven. He was awarded the D.F.M.

Between March 1941 and February 1943, Guest was “rested” as an instructor at R.A.F. Kinloss, and between March and September 1943 he attended No. 11 Radio School. Then in February 1944 he commenced his third operational tour with No. 502 Squadron, a Halifax unit of Coastal Command, completing his first patrol on the 28th. Between then and mid-May 1945, he flew on 30 or 40 assorted patrols, several of them over the Bay of Biscay and others off Scandinavia and, as evidenced by his log book entries, a number of them resulted in strikes against enemy shipping (e.g. 26 February 1945: ‘Ops. Attacked 2 M/Vs 3000 Tons - 1 Hit’). He had, meanwhile, been commissioned as a Pilot Officer in July 1944 (
London Gazette 16 January 1945 refers), and ended the War as a Flying Officer.

Sold with the recipient’s original Flying Log Book, covering the period June 1937 to May 1945,
binding weak but contents good; together with printed copies of several congratulatory signals sent by the C.-in--C. Bomber Command in August and September 1940.