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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№ 630


13 December 2012

Hammer Price:

A good Second World War D.F.M. group of six awarded to Flight Sergeant W. Bamford, Royal Air Force, who completed an operational tour as an Air Gunner in Halifaxes of No. 78 Squadron and was elected to the membership of the Goldfish Club when his aircraft ditched after taking-off for a raid on Turin in December 1942

Distinguished Flying Medal, G.VI.R. (640255 F./Sgt. W. Bamford, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, clasp, France and Germany; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals 1939-45, mounted as worn, together with original embroidered Goldfish Club sleeve insignia, very fine or better (7) £1800-2200

D.F.M. London Gazette 11 June 1943. The original recommendation states:

‘This N.C.O. has completed 28 operational sorties and at all times has shown the greatest pluck. Some of his operations have taken him over the most heavily defended areas in Germany. He is recommended for the Distinguished Flying Medal.’

Walter Bamford commenced his operational career as an Air Gunner in No. 78 (Preston’s Own) Squadron, a Halifax unit then operating out of Middleton St. George in Co. Durham, in the summer of 1942, and flew his first sortie - against Bremen - on 25 June. At this time, No. 78 was commanded by Squadron Leader J. B. Tait, afterwards the much decorated leader of 617 Squadron.

Having then completed around half a dozen anti-submarine patrols in August-September, the Squadron moved to Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, and Bamford returned to more regular Bomber Command duties in November, with strikes on Turin and Stuttgart - on the latter occasion, on the night of 22nd-23rd, his Halifax was hit by flak and returned to base on three engines.

Having then participated in attacks on Frankfurt, Mannheim and Turin in the first half of December, he was elected to the membership of the Goldfish Club when his aircraft had to be ditched in the North Sea due to engine fire failure caused by fire - soon after having taken off for another attack on Turin on the 11th: fortunately for the crew, their dinghy was spotted by a passing Beaufighter and a lifeboat came to the rescue about two hours after ditching.

Notwithstanding this close encounter with the icy waters of the North Sea, Bamford was back on operations three nights later when detailed to carry out a “Gardening” operation; so, too, with a sortie to Dusseldorf on the 20th.

Then in the opening weeks of the New Year he completed no less than four trips to Lorient, two to Cologne, Nuremburg and Wilhelmshaven, and a single outing to Dusseldorf. And he ended his operational tour in March 1943, with attacks on Essen, Munich, Nuremburg, Stuttgart and St. Nazaire. He was awarded the D.F.M.