An extremely rare Korean War D.F.M. group of seven awarded to Master Signaller G. J. F. McCourt, No. 205 Squadron, Far East Flying Boat Wing
Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R., 2nd type (1625446 Sgt., R.A.F.); Defence and War Medals; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya, G.VI.R. (Sgt., R.A.F.); Korea 1950-53 (Sgt., R.A.F.); Royal Air Force L.S. & G.C., E.II.R., 2nd issue (M.Sig., R.A.F);U.N. Korea, mounted as worn, good very fine and better (7)
D.F.M. London Gazette 31 August, 1951. The first award and one of only eight D.F.M.’s to the Royal Air Force for Korea. This, together with a further two to the R.A.A.F., were the only such awards made in 1951.
The lot is sold with letters of congratulation from Wing Commander D. MacKenzie, D.F.C., Far East Flying Boat Wing, R.A.F. Seletar, and Air Commodore W. A. Opie, C.B.E., R.A.F. Seletar, Singapore, and a Central Chancery invitation to attend an Investiture at Buckingham Palace on 17 February, 1953.
The following details were announced in The Straits Times at the time of the award: “The D.F.M. awarded to Sergeant/Signaller G. J. F. McCourt is partly for his skill as a radar operator during 32 sorties, many of them in bad weather in which his efficiency played a big part in the safety of his aircraft.”
‘At the commencement of hostilities the R.A.F.’s Far East Flying Boat Wing was made up of three squadrons of Sunderland Mark V Flying Boats, the squadrons being numbers 88, 205 and 209. The Wings task in Korea was the offensive blockade of the Korean coastline and this was achieved by round the clock reconnaissance in conjunction with the United States Navy, flying Martin Mariners. Three main areas were covered. Firstly, to the West over the Yellow Sea towards Shanghai, then North to the East of the Shantung Peninsula and down the West coast of Korea. Secondly, the Tshushima Straits between Korea and Japan, and finally the East side of Korea as far as the U.S.S.R. and then back to Iwakuni across the Sea of Japan.
These patrols, normally flown at a height of one thousand feet, were of ten to fifteen hours and watch was both visual and by radar with turrets manned and each and every contact carefully logged. The biggest enemy was the weather. In the winter months it was not unusual to experience temperatures of minus twenty degrees Centigrade which, in a draughty, unheated Sunderland, was no joke. Coffee often froze solid in the cup and incredible feats of navigation were performed in blinding blizzards. Acute icing problems and low ceilings were a particular hazard off the Korean coast where the terrain was one of peaks and off-shore islands which rose sharply from the sea.
The endeavours of the Far East Wing and the gallant crews of the Sunderland aircraft contributed in no small way to the success of a blockade which meant that by the end of the war, unfriendly shipping movements in the area had been brought to a complete standstill. Constant vigilance ensured that the enemy could not deny to the United Nations the freedom of the seas. Thus the vital supply lines were kept open.’ (Ref. The 38th Parallel by Peter Gaston).