Lot Archive


№ 421


11 June 1996

Hammer Price:

A Great War Scout Pilot’s M.C. group awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel S. B. “Nigger” Horn, 3rd Dragoon Guards and Royal Flying Corps, credited with 13 enemy victories and a Flight Commander under Captain W. A. Bishop, V.C.
Military Cross, G.V.R.; 1914 Mons Star, copy clasp (2.Lieut., 3/D. Gds.); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. (Capt., R.A.F.); France and Germany Star; Defence and War Medals; Norway, Order of St. Olaf, 4th class breast badge with swords, silver-gilt and enamels; Freedom Cross 1945, silver-gilt and enamels, nearly very fine or better (9)

M.C. London Gazette 18 October, 1917; citation published in London Gazette 7 March, 1918. The following is taken from the original recommendation and gives more detail than the published citation: ‘For skill and gallantry. On August 5th he shot down a hostile scout in flames over Hendecourt. Previously on the 9th August, he shot down an Albatros scout over Cagnicourt, during a fight with 8 Enemy Aircraft. On the 25th August he attacked a two-seater Enemy Machine at 2,000 feet East of Gillemont Farm. This machine was observed by Anti-Aircraft to fall in flames.
On the 5th instant, although alone he attacked 4 Enemy Aircraft and succeeded in shooting down one completely out of control before machines of No. 60 Squadron came up and drove off the remaining Enemy Aircraft. He has also co-operated with an Infantry attack on two occasions, diving to a very low altitude through a heavy barrage. This officer has shown great skill and gallantry on all occasions, and has been of great assistance to his leader in attacks against enemy formations.’

Spencer Bertram Horn’s parents lived in Australia, where his two elder brothers were born. However, he was born in England, 18 April, 1895, the day after the ship carrying his family there had docked. He was gazetted 2nd Liuetenant in the 3rd Dragoon Guards in September 1914, and served with his regiment in France until he joined the Royal Flying Corps in April 1917. After training in France and England he went to Major Jack Scott’s crack 60 Squadron in 1917, flying Nieuport Scouts. He flew with this unit from April to November, received an M.C. and claimed six victories. When Captain ‘Billy’ Bishop, V.C., left 60 Squadron in August, Horn was given command of ‘C’ Flight, having served under Bishop in that Flight since joining the squadron. Horn observed of Bishop, describing him as ‘a fantastic shot but a terrible pilot.’ Leaving for a spell on Home Establishment, he instructed at Ayre until the new year. In March 1918 Bishop, who was forming 85 Squadron, asked his old friend to be one of his flight commanders, and Horn quickly agreed. Returning to France with the squadron in May, he brought his score to 13 before the end of the war.
It is interesting to note that when in 60 Squadron, Horn had two kills in SE 5A ‘A8936’, the same aircraft in which ‘Billy’ Bishop claimed 11 of his victories. Again, in 85 Squadron, Horn claimed his last five victories in SE 5A ‘C1904’, Bishop’s own steed for the last eleven of his 72 claimed victories. Bishop had been recalled to Canada in June and presumably Horn inherited his successful machine. The squadron command was now given to Major Edward Mannock who drew his first blood with 85 by shooting down two Fokker DVII’s on 7 July. Horn was with him on this occasion in his ‘new’ aircraft and himself bagged two Fokkers. Mannock, of course, did not live to see the end of that month, being shot down on the 26th and later posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross. Horn retired from active service with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel, having returned to the Army at the conclusion of hostilities. One of his brothers, Major K. K. Horn, commanded No. 54 Squadron during 1917.
During the Second World War Horn saw service at home and in Norway where he commanded the Military Disarmament Unit in the Tromsø Zone in the north of the country during 1945. He received both of his Norwegian decorations for his services there, where he had to deal with approximately 50% of the total German strength in Norway. The group is sold with further research including comprehensive details on 60 Squadron and extracts from Bishop’s biography.