Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

 

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Airmen awarded the Military Medal


This section contains the citations that appeared in the London Gazette for RAF personnel, except for RAF Regiment personnel, whose citations are shown in the relevant squadron history.

351192 Corporal George William JONES.

900203 Aircraftman 2nd Class Cyril Geoffrey FAULKNER.

During a heavy attack on an aerodrome a burning British fighter aircraft landed.  Despite heavy bombs which were falling and enemy machine gunning, Corporal Jones and Aircraftman 2nd Class Faulkner took their ambulance across to the burning aircraft, assisted the pilot from it, extinguished his burning clothing and rendered first aid treatment. Both airmen displayed calm courage and devotion to duty.

(London Gazette - 5 November 1940)


914844 Aircraftman 2nd Class David Glyndwr ROBERTS.

During an air raid on an aerodrome, Aircraftman 2nd Class Roberts was in charge of a unit of the ground defences and, although under heavy fire, succeeded in destroying one enemy aircraft and causing damage to another.

(London Gazette - 5 November 1940)


881151 Sergeant Joan Eugene MORTIMER, Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

882988 Sergeant Helen Emily TURNER, Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

889552 Corporal (now Acting Assistant Section Officer) Elspeth Candlish HENDERSON, Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

During an intensive enemy air raid on an aerodrome, Sergeants Mortimer and Turner and Corporal Henderson remained at their posts and calmly carried out their duties.  They displayed courage and example of a high order.

(London Gazette - 5 November 1940)


901114 Leading Aircraftman Sydney LEDWARD.

In August, 1940, during an air raid on an aerodrome, this airman rendered first aid to twenty-five casualties and removed five others to safety whilst bombing was actually proceeding. Later in the month he remained cool and collected during another air raid and again rendered first aid when and where required. He has also acquitted himself in a praiseworthy manner when aircraft have crashed and burst into flames.

(London Gazette - 10 January 1941)


952466 Aircraftman and Class Oliver Henry HEWITT.

Immediately after a heavy bombing raid on a Royal Air Force station this airman volunteered to control a fire which threatened an ammunition store. Without hesitation, he drove the station crane from its partially demolished garage, though the petrol tank of the crane was punctured and petrol was pouring towards the fire. His calmness and courage, in spite of continued enemy air activity, undoubtedly saved the ammunition store.

(London Gazette - 10 January 1941)


881906 Acting Sergeant Jean Mary YOULE - Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

In August, 1940, Sergeant Youle was on duty in a Station telephone exchange when the Station was attacked and bombed by five enemy aircraft. Part of the building containing the telephone exchange suffered a direct hit and other bombs fell in very close proximity. The telephone staff were subjected to a heavy rain of debris and splinters and to the noise of the concussion of exploding bombs. It was solely due to the cool bravery of, and superb example set by Sergeant Youle, that the telephone operators carried on with their task with calmness and complete  efficiency at a most dangerous time for them. She has at all times set an excellent example of coolness and efficiency to all.

(London Gazette - 10 January 1941)


880847 Acting Corporal Joan HEARN-AVIS - Women's Auxiliary Air Force.

In August, 1940, during an enemy air attack, bombs were dropped on buildings of the unit doing very considerable damage.  Several heavy bombs fell alongside a block where Corporal Hearn-Avis was working alone controlling telephones. Every window was blown in and one of the main walls of two rooms was badly cracked. Throughout the attack Corporal Hearn-Avis remained at her post in a building which threatened to collapse about her, doing her work as far as the terrific noise would permit. This airwoman displayed .courage and devotion to duty of the highest order.

(London Gazette - 10 January 1941)


1351111 Aircraftman 2nd Class Cecil Frederick Mason BRIGHT.  No. 10 E. F. T. S.

Late on the night 4th January 1941, Weston-super-Mare was attacked by enemy aircraft. Orders were given for the dummy fires to be started, but the switches failed to ignite the fires. Aircraftman Bright, observing this, proceeded from his shelter to the dummy hangers, 600 yards away, with a quart bottle of petrol. He immediately set fire to the largest one by hand, with the aid of petrol. This fire took hold very, quickly and before he could take further action the enemy attacked the site with bombs. He then proceeded to the other three dummies, firing them by hand before returning to shelter. The main enemy attack was then transferred from Weston-super-Mare to this site. This airman, at considerable risk to himself and by his gallantry, initiative, and prompt action, saved the town of Weston-super-Mare from further damage, and possibly, an attack on the aerodrome was averted.

(The award was announced in the London Gazette - 7 March 1941, but the citation was not published)


532737 Sergeant Victor Clement CORDERY.

747865 Sergeant George Cyril STARKEY. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (missing).

In April, 1941, Sergeants Cordery and Starkey were members of the crew of an aircraft which, whilst at its moorings, was attacked by a formation of seven Junkers 87's flying in line astern. When the leading pilot dived to make a front gun attack; Sergeants Cordery and Starkey coolly withheld their fire until the enemy was in close range and continued these tactics against the remainder; who attacked at short intervals.  During the action, the aircraft was repeatedly hit about the wings, midship section and free gunner's position, and on the third attack the inner tanks caught fire and the aircraft rapidly became a mass of flames. Nevertheless Sergeants Cordery and Starkey remained at their posts and kept up their fire during the seven attacks, and  destroyed one of the enemy aircraft and hit others. It was not until further action was impossible that Sergeants Cordery and' Starkey left their posts. They were last to leave and the aircraft sank five minutes later. Both airmen displayed great courage and devotion to duty throughout.

(London Gazette - 19 August 1941)


 939506 Sergeant William Allan THYNNE.

520175 Sergeant Edgar William Henry ZIETHING.

In May, 1941, Sergeants Thynne and Ziething were, respectively, air gunner and observer in an aircraft which carried out an attack on a fort at Rutbah. After the attack Sergeant Thynne drew the attention of his pilot to an aircraft burning on the ground.  A figure waving was seen to be beside the aircraft. The pilot landed alongside and Sergeant Ziething, who jumped out before the aircraft had completely stopped, went to rescue the survivor. Meanwhile, Sergeant Thynne went to the burning, wreckage, where Sergeant Ziething shortly joined him and, in the face of 'enemy fire from armoured cars and despite ammunition exploding in all directions, both airmen searched the wreckage in an attempt to discover the remainder of the crew.  Unable to find any traces of them, Sergeants Thynne and Ziething returned to their own aircraft which flew off with the rescued officer on board.  Both these airmen displayed great courage and complete disregard for their own safety.

(London Gazette - 19 August 1941)


550781 Corporal George Eric BANFIELD.

During the intensive bombardment prior to and during the enemy invasion of Crete, when telephone communication had been destroyed, Corporal Banfield maintained contact by wireless telegraphy between the station and operations room at Heraklion. For over three days he continued to pass vital information, whilst working in a tent without protection from machine gun fire and bombing. Later, when the unit of some50 Royal Air Force personnel, mainly untrained in fighting, were cut off from the defended area at Heraklion and it  became necessary to fight a way through German forces, Corporal Banfield displayed conspicuous bravery and was always the first to volunteer for any difficult or dangerous task.  On two occasions he led small parties in outflanking enemy posts which were keeping the main body under fire, destroying their posts and capturing prisoners. When the main body were unable to enter our own lines, as our troops failed to recognise them, Corporal Banfield was the first to volunteer for a small party which succeeded in getting through and warning our troops of the approach of the main body. Corporal Banfield, by his courageous efforts, contributed materially to the^ability of the unit to fight its way through a numerically superior enemy force.

(London Gazette - 19 August 1941)


625329 Aircraftman 1st Class Marcel Gerard COMEAU

In the course of a heavy bombing and machine gun attack on an aerodrome, a bomb exploded on a trench causing 2 soldiers, both Greeks, to be buried in the debris. AC Comeau, displaying great bravery, left the shelter of his trench and although the station was under continuous fire, managed to dig them out with his hands. One of them subsequently died. Later on in the face of enemy fire AC Comeau secured from another position a gun which greatly improved the defence of his own position.

(London Gazette - 17 October 1941)


654123 Aircraftman 1st Class George Alfred COTTRILL.

In February, this airman was a of a machine gun crew on board a transport which was subjected to a series of dive-bombing attacks covering a period of 4 hours.  He used his gun with great skill, and his courageous and determined example inspired his fellow gunners so that, after the first attack the enemy aircraft kept at a respectful distance a fact which undoubtedly assisted in the eventual safety of the ship.  During the attack, Aircraftman Cottrill shot down an enemy aircraft.

(London Gazette - 7 April 1942)


745340 Sergeant Oliver Barton JAMES, DFM, No.83 Squadron

This airman was a member of the crew of an aircraft which was shot down in Northern France on 22nd March 1941. Sergeant James was captured by the Germans and taken to hospital where his left arm was amputated. He was imprisoned in Germany for some time and, with ultimate escape in view eventually succeeded in getting himself removed to France under the repatriation scheme. When this was abandoned, Sergeant James in company with Sergeant Magrath, and in the face of many difficulties and physical handicaps, succeeded in escaping from the prison camp and showing the utmost determination made his way after many adventures through France and Spain to Gibraltar, from where he was repatriated.

(The award was announced in the London Gazette - 26 May 1942. Citation from Public Record Office Air 2/5684)


581464 Sergeant William John Quirke MAGRATH, No.82 Squadron

"This airman was a member of the crew of an aircraft (Blenheim IV, R2772) which attacked an aerodrome at Aalborg on 13th August 1940. After leaving the target they were attacked by fighters and compelled to descend in a fjord. Sergeant Magrath, who was badly injured, was imprisoned in Germany for some time and was eventually removed to France under the repatriation scheme. When this was abandoned, Sergeant Magrath in company with Sergeant James, and in the face of many difficulties and physical handicaps, succeeded in escaping from the prison camp and, showing the utmost determination, made his way after many adventures through France and Spain to Gibraltar, from where he was repatriated.

(The award was announced in the London Gazette - 26 May 1942. Citation from Public Record Office Air 2/5684)


1438523 Leading Aircraftman Frank Alan RANGER, R.A.F.V.R.

Leading Aircraftman Ranger was infiltrated by parachute to the Epirus area in Greece on 11th June, 1943. He was placed in charge of a wireless set and later moved to Area H.Q., as wireless operator and remained in that capacity until August, 1944. During the period October, 1943,  to January, 1944, Leading Aircraftman Ranger operated his wireless set very close to the Germans. On 3ist October, 1943, when the British H.Q., in the village of Lafina, was hemmed in, Leading Aircraftman Ranger assisted to dismantle the wireless set, load the mules under fire, and taking advantage of cover led his part of the convoy to safety. Later in the morning of the same day, whilst operating the wireless set in the open, he came under cross machine gun-fire, but once more he played a leading part in saving the equipment. It was largely due to his   initiative and prompt obedience to orders that no casualties or material damage was suffered during this difficult period. In the 3 months, October to 1 December, 1943, he carried out his duties so efficiently that wireless contact with Cairo was possible at all times, although subjected to bad weather during forced marches through difficult country.

 (London Gazette 5 January 1945)


931758 Flight Sergeant Bernard Frederick BROOKS.

This N.C.O. has .been employed on police duty in Greece.  During the difficult conditions prevailing in Athens in December, 1944, Flight Sergeant Brooks displayed outstanding devotion to duty.  Under heavy fire he led a relief party and successfully evacuated a sergeant and six men from a position, which had become untenable. Later, he volunteered to drive a truck -through enemy-held territory to fetch much-needed arms and ammunition.  He completed the journey successfully.

(London Gazette - 6 Jul 1945)


902670 Sergeant. Percy PITTMAN.

Sergeant Pittman has always carried out his duties in an exemplary manner. When his police headquarters was besieged by E.L.A.S. forces for 6 days he displayed devotion to duty of the highest order. During, that period he was always amongst those who immediately volunteered for the more dangerous tasks. On one occasion he not only drove through the enemy lines in daylight to fetch urgently .required rations, but, on learning that ammunition was available at Hassani, he collected a load and, in daylight, he drove it through a route which was only open to armoured cars at night. This N.C.O.'s leadership, initiative and courage have been most noteworthy.

(London Gazette - 6 Jul 1945)


1407205 Leading Aircraftman Cyril James FONES, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 662 A.O.P. Squadron.

On 13th April, 1945, Leading Aircraftman Fones was a member of the advance party at Vechta airfield awaiting the arrival of flight aircraft.  As soon as the first aircraft had landed the enemy opened fire with an 88 mm gun, at 1,500 yards range.  The pilot of the aircraft ordered Leading Aircraftman Fones to start the engine to enable the aircraft to take off.  Leading Aircraftman Fones had difficulty in starting the engine but, regardless of the shelling, he continued his efforts until he had succeeded. He then guided the pilot through shellfire to the runway. By his cool action and devotion to duty Leading Aircraftman. Fones was largely responsible for saving the aircraft from serious damage or destruction. It was only when the aircraft was airborne that Leading Aircraftman Fones took cover.

(London Gazette - 8 March 1946)


Other RAF recipients of the Military Medal

P/S4/236974 Sergeant. A. S. Allan (16 July 1918)

522521 Aircraftman 1st Class, James Leslie Lee Crerar (13 December 1938)

Aircraftman 1st Class, Cobley

1073812 Sergeant John Collins BARR

655944 Sergeant Arthur Dennis BEBBINGTON

1282960 Sergeant Alfred Ernest Thomas Christopher FRAMPTON

754718 Flight Sergeant James Atterby McCAIRNS (18 August 1942)

569019 Sergeant Victor Thomas MCFARLANE (18 August 1942)

1360001 Sergeant Thomas Arnold OLDALE

Sergeant E Watson (for evading)

742172 Flight Sergeant Lionel Richard WILLIS (18 August 1942)

 

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