Lot Archive


№ 292


1 December 1993

Hammer Price:

A magnificent Battle of France Ace's D.F.C. group to Flight Lieutenant R.D.G. 'Widge' Wight, who was killed in action during the Battle of Britain leading three Hurricanes against a formation of sixty Messerschmitts

DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated '1940', contained in a contemporary display case with silver label inscribed (F/Lt. R.D.G. Wight, D.F.C., R.A.F., 'Widge') together with original Royal Millt case of issue; 1939-45 STAR, clasp, Battle of Britain; AIR CREW EUROPE STAR; WAR MEDAL, these last three contained in the official card forwarding box addressed to his father J.E. Wight, Esq., together with original condolence slip; together with the Great War pair awarded to his father (Lieut. J.E. Wight, R.A.F.) and numerous other effects listed below, generally extremely fine and a rare group (6)

Included with this lot are the following items:
a. Two framed portrait photographs of R.D.G. Wight, one coloured and surmounted by the painted crest of 213 Squadron.
b. Silver Christening spoon, named and dated December, 1915, and hallmarked Glasgow, 1867.
c. Silver cigarette case engraved on the outer lid with Royal Flying Corps crest, J. Eric Wight Dec. 1916, and with the various squadrons he flew with in France and Italy, the inside engraved with numerous signatures, hallmarked Birmingham 1915.
d. Various letters and documents including one from Sgt. E.G. Snowden, the sole survivor of 'Widge's' last combat.
e. A quantity of original photographs mostly relating to the R.A.F. service of Lieutenant J.E. Wight.
f. Official booklet and Order of Service for the unveiling and dedication of the Battle of Britain Memorial Chapel in Westminster Abbey 10 July, 1947; Memorial Card from St. George's Chapel of Remembrance, R.A.F. Biggin Hill.

Ronald Derek Gordon Wight was born in Skelmorlie, Ayreshire, in December, 1915, and joined the R.A.F. on a short service commission in March 1934. He was posted to S. F.T.S. at Sealand on 3 April, 1934. After training he joined 64 Squadron at Martlesham Heath in March 1936 remaining with it until June 1938, when he went to S.H.Q staff at R.A.F. Wittering. He was posted to 213 Squadron there on 7 February 1939, as a Flight Commander. The Squadron was sent to Merville on 17 May 1940 to support the hard-pressed squadrons in France. The fighting was most confused but he had destroyed four enemy aircraft by the 20th, and shared three others. The Squadron withdrew on the 21st, Wight's flight going to R.A.F. Manston. Over Dunkirk on the 27th he shot down two Bf 109s, shot down two more the next day, and on the 31st he got another brace, bringing his score to 10 enemy planes destroyed. 'Widge', as he was affectionately known, was awarded the D.F.C. (London Gazette 21 June 1940). He next saw action on the 11th August, when, in Hurricane N2650, he led the Hurricanes of Sergeant Butterfield D.F.M. and Sergeant Snowden to attack a large formation of Messerschmitt Bf 110s. The following extract from Sgt. Snowden's letter to 'Widge's' parents describes his final combat: 'Your grief which I share, may be offset somewhat by the knowledge that he died in an extremely brave fashion, as he would have wished to die. He was leading a formation of three machines to attack no less than sixty Me 110 twin-engined fighters. He sailed unfalteringly into the middle of them, and I caught a glimpse of him shooting one down, before I pressed home my attack. The third member of the formation, Sergeant Butterfield, D.F.M., was also killed; I escaped with minor injuries, which are now healed.'