Special Collections

Sold on 6 July 2004

1 part


Prize, Training Ship, Nursing & Other Medals from the James N. Spencer Collection

James N Spencer

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№ 937


6 July 2004

Hammer Price:

Royal Air Force College Cranwell, The King’s Medal, G.VI.R. , by Humphrey Paget (James M. N. Pike, 1937), 44mm., 18ct. gold, 57.47g., Ref: B.H.M. 4373 sim., extremely fine £650-750

Ex Glendining’s 16 September 1991, lot 403 (part). The recipient’s Stowe School Medal was sold in D.N.W. 19 June 2002 Coin Auction, lot 687.

London Gazette 4 September 1942. Wing Commander James Maitland Nicholson Pike, D.F.C. (33200), No. 248 Squadron. ‘This officer is a gallant and skilful leader. By his untiring efforts and unceasing devotion to duty he has played a large part in the splendid work accomplished by his squadron. In August, 1942, he led a formation in an attack on aerodromes in Sardinia. In spite of heavy anti-aircraft fire, a large number of enemy aircraft were destroyed and damaged. Wing Commander Pike’s careful planning before the flight and his brilliant leadership during the sortie, contributed materially to the success achieved.’

D.F.C. London Gazette 18 February 1941. Acting Squadron Leader (33200), No. 203 Squadron. ‘During a period of four days in February, 1941, this officer carried out two low-flying attacks against enemy aerodromes. On the first occasion, as he arrived over the aerodrome, three enemy fighters were taking off to intercept him but Sqadron Leader Pike immediately dived on to the leading aircraft which he put out of action. He then carried out low-flying attacks on other aircraft on the ground and, although engaged by another fighter which was finally disabled, succeeded in setting fire to four and damaging a further four of the enemy’s aicraft. Although his own aircraft was severely damaged, Squadron Leader Pike flew it back to base and landed safely without injury to his crew. On the second occasion, he set fire to four enemy bombers, photographed the result and returned to base by night. During the past seven months, Squadron Leader Pike has also carried out 29 anti-submarine patrols and 24 convoy escort patrols. He has displayed great courage and devotion to duty throughout.’

James Maitland Nicholson Pike was born on 8 February 1916, son of Frank Pike of Glendarary, Achill Island, Co. Mayo, Ireland, and brother of Patrick J. K. Pike. He was educated at Stowe and thence the R.A.F. College, Cranwell, where he gained the Sword of Honour and the King’s Medal. He entered the Royal Air Force as a Pilot Officer in 1937, becoming a Flight Officer in 1939 and a Flight Lieutenant in 1940. During the war he served with distinction in Aden, the Middle East, the United Kingdom (Coastal Command), Malta and the Azores, gaining both the D.S.O. and D.F.C. At the time of his D.F.C. actions, he was flying Blenheim’s of No. 203 squadron out of Khormaksar, attacking Italian airfields in Somaliland. Following the war, he was on the staff at the R.A.F. College, Cranwell, 1945-47. Promoted Group Captain in 1955, he commanded at R.A.F. St. Mawgan and at R.A.F. Kinloss, 1955-57 and was S.A.S.O. R.A.F. Malta, 1958-60. Attaining the rank of Air Commodore in 1961, he was Air Officer Commanding R.A.F. Gibraltar, 1961-62 and served at the Imperial Defence College during 1963. During 1964 he was Air Commodore Intelligence at the Ministry of Defence and Director of Security R.A.F., 1965-69. Further employment with the Ministry of Defence followed until 1978.