Lot Archive


№ 495


10 October 1995

Hammer Price:

A fine B.E.M. group of five awarded to Sergeant L. V. Fossleitner, No. 149 Squadron, Royal Air Force, later killed on active service
British Empire Medal (Military) G.VI.R. (912925 Sergt., R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Defence and War Medals, the first with some polishing, otherwise good very fine (5)

B.E.M. London Gazette 29 December, 1942.
“Flight Sergeant Philip and Sergeants Reardon and Fossleitner were Captain, front gunner and navigator respectively of an aircraft which attacked Munich on a night in September 1942. On the return flight the engineer reported that there would only be sufficient spare fuel to operate for 15 minutes, on arrival at base. Flight Sergeant Philip therefore obtained permission to land at a nearer airfield. When nearly to the airfield, however, one of the engines failed and it was necessary to descend onto the sea off the coast. Although the aircraft was kept level, it broke in four partson impact with the water and these three airmen together with the wireless operator and the mid upper gunner were thrown into the sea. Flight Sergeant Philip who is a strong swimmer, volunteered to swim ashore alone to get help. He abandoned this intention however, as it was necessary to help the mid upper gunner, and in company with Sergeant Reardon, started to swim to shore, taking the mid upper gunner with them. They were picked up by a fishing boat after swimming for three and a half hours, but unfortunately the gunner was found to be dead. In the meantime, Sergeant Fossleitner, although badly shaken, had volunteered to remain behind on one of the wings and support the wireless operator, whose spine was fractured. He supported him for two and a half hours, until eventually both were picked up by an Air-Sea Rescue Launch. The courage and fortitude displayed by Flight Sergeant Philip and Sergeants Reardon and Fossleitner were of the highest order.”
Louis Victor Fossleitner was killed on active service on 10 November, 1942, when his Stirling bomber crashed following a fire in the starboard outer engine, coming down just to the East of Kingsway Road, Mildenhall, Suffolk, killing the entire crew.