Special Collections

Sold on 12 December 2012

1 part


The Collection of Second World War and Modern Gallantry Awards formed by the late William Oakley

William Raymond Oakley

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№ 623


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A fine Second World War Aegean operations D.S.C. group of seven awarded to Commander D. F. Johnson, Royal Navy, who was also a recipient of a “mention” for gallantry in the Dieppe raid

Distinguished Service Cross, G.VI.R., hallmarks for London 1943, the reverse officially dated ‘1944’; 1939-45 Star; Atlantic Star, clasp, France and Germany; Burma Star; Italy Star; War Medal 1939-45, M.I.D. oak leaf; Naval General Service 1915-62, 1 clasp, Palestine 1945-48 (Lieut. D. F. Johnson, D.S.C., R.N.), good very fine and better (7) £2000-2500

D.S.C. London Gazette 4 April 1944:

‘For undaunted courage, determination and endurance in H.M. Ships and in Light Coastal Forces in many sweeps against enemy shipping in the Aegean under fierce and constant attack from the air, and in maintaining supplies to the islands of Kos and Leros until they fell to superior enemy forcers.’

David Frederick Johnson entered the Royal Navy as a Midshipman in January 1937 and was serving as a Sub. Lieutenant in the destroyer H.M.S. Witherington on the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939 - he subsequently served on convoy escort duties in the Western Approaches during the early part of 1940 and afterwards off Norway.

Removing to an appointment in Motor Anti-Submarine Boats (M.A.S.B.) at
Drake IV in September 1940, Johnson was advanced to Lieutenant in January 1941 and next joined, that October, the Coastal Forces base Attack at Portland, when he served in the 4th Motor Gun Boat Flotilla - and it was in the same capacity that he was mentioned in despatches for the Dieppe raid in August 1942 (London Gazette 2 October 1942 refers).

Then in May 1943, Johnson joined the destroyer
Fury as her Number One, in which capacity he remained actively employed up until her loss off Normandy in June 1944, the interim having witnessed a good deal of action in the Aegean and her part in the Salerno and Sicily landings.

But it was for
Fury’s part in a number of specific operations in the period 21 September to 18 November 1943 that he was awarded his D.S.C., the original recommendation stating:

‘During this period H.M.S.
Fury discharged into the island of Leros 340 military and naval personnel, 85 tons of drinking water and assisted in the destruction of one armed trawler, a loaded ammunition ship, six large landing craft with troops, north-east of Stampalia on 7 October 1943, and set on fire an ex-Italian destroyer which eventually beached itself and burned out on Cape Praso Nisi, south-west of Rhodes, on 23 September 1943. Bombardments of Kolymnos and Kos (twice) were carried out and H.M.S. Fury survived four separate bombing attacks, two of which were prolonged.’

Following a refit at Gibraltar,
Fury was ordered home in March 1944, when she joined the 4th Support Group at Scapa Flow and carried out convoy escort work, including the defence of HX-231 against a “wolfpack”. Shortly afterwards, however, she was assigned to Force E in readiness for the Normandy landings, where she carried out a bombardment on enemy positions near Courseulles on D-Day itself. Then from 7 June to her mining and demise on the 22nd, she operated in support of the Eastern Task Force Area - mined off the beachhead, Fury was driven ashore in a gale and became a ‘constructive total loss.’

Johnson’s final wartime appointment was as Number One in the destroyer
Rapid on the Far East Station from March 1945, where he was present in the Sabang operations, and it was in the same theatre of war that he removed to another destroyer, the Virago, in which he would witness further active service off Palestine in 1946-48.

Advanced to Lieutenant-Commander in January 1949 and to Commander in June 1953, he was placed on the Retired List in October 1956. He died in Haywards Heath, Sussex in October 1984.