Guy Gibson gold wings brooch

9th May 2014

A gold RAF wings brooch, given by one of the most iconic British pilots, Guy Gibson, to his secretary, is to be sold at auction this month by Burstow and Hewett of Battle.

Soon after the famous Dambuster raids on the Mohne dam in 1943, known as operation Chastise, Gibson was awarded the Victoria Cross by the King, and went on a promotional tour of America and Canada.  He returned in 1944 and wrote a book “Enemy Coast Ahead”, which was typed by his secretary Joyce Meads.  The original transcript of the book is in the RAF museum at Hendon, and was donated by Gibson’s wife.

As a token of his appreciation, Gibson sent a gold RAF wings brooch, accompanied by a touching and personal letter.  The gift was sent on 18 September 1944, the day before Gibson tragically died in a plane-crash in the Netherlands at only 26 years of age.  Meads replied by letter to thank Gibson for his gift, but the letter arrived too late, and was returned to her by the Air Ministry.  His death was not actually formally announced until 8 January 1945.

Included with the gold brooch is the original letter from Guy Gibson, the reply letter from Joyce Meads, and a copy of the book.  Any items connected with Gibson or the Dambusters are extremely rare and are hardly ever seen on the open market  they were all held in such high regard in Britain and abroad.  Churchill said: “We have lost in this officer one of the most splendid of all our fighting men.  His name will not be forgotten.  It will forever be enshrined in the most wonderful records of our country”.

Naturally there is expected to be great interest in this unique collection, which will be sold on 21 May at the Abbey auction gallery in Lower Lake, Battle.  The pre-sale estimate is only £300-500, but the bidders will decide what it’s really worth and of course – the sky’s the limit!

UPDATE:  Sold on 21 May for £9400.

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