A well-documented Great War Pilot’s M.C
Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800
ca. US$1,914 - US$2,461
Price realised: £2,400
A well-documented Great War Pilot’s M.C. group of three awarded to Captain T. Owen, South Staffordshire Regiment, attached Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, who, having flown RE8s with 4 Squadron in France, was wounded in action with 14 Squadron in Palestine, and was decorated for his gallantry in undertaking numerous successful low level reconnaissance and ground attack sorties Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; British War and Victory Medals (Capt. T. Owen R.A.F.) nearly extremely fine (3) £1,400-£1,800 A well-documented Great War Pilot’s M.C. group of three awarded to Captain T. Owen, South Staffordshire Regiment, attached Royal Flying Corps and Royal Air Force, who, having flown RE8s with 4 Squadron in France, was wounded in action with 14 Squadron in Palestine, and was decorated for his gallantry in undertaking numerous successful low level reconnaissance and ground attack sorties Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; British War and Victory Medals (Capt. T. Owen R.A.F.) nearly extremely fine (3) £1,400-£1,800 M.C. London Gazette 26 July 1918: ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He has carried out many successful low reconnaissances, bringing back good reports. When on artillery patrol, he succeeded in completely disorganising the traffic on a main road, getting direct hits on troops and transport by artillery. On this occasion it is estimated that forty lorries were destroyed. He also attacked enemy troops and transport with bombs and machine-guns with success.’ Thomas Owen, born in 1889, was a native of Meifod, Powys, who lived most of his life in Aberystwyth. He was gazetted Second Lieutenant to a Regular Army battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment on 26 July 1915, with an almost immediate attachment to 2/10 Battalion, Middlesex Regiment. He was posted to Egypt in December and transferred to the Royal Flying Corps, training as a Pilot partly in Egypt and partly at the Central Flying School, Upavon, Wiltshire. He was gazetted Flying Officer on 16 March 1917 and three months later was posted to France where, from 30 June 1917 he was on active service as a pilot with 4 Squadron (RE8s) at a time when the average life of a pilot was a fortnight. Owen survived a close call on 21 September 1917, when he and his Observer, Second Lieutenant L. V. W. Clark, in RE8, ‘A4298’, eventually extricated themselves and got home safely following a fraught combat with five enemy machines above Polygon Wood. Sent out to 14 Squadron in Palestine, he was wounded in action in the leg during a photo-reconnaissance patrol on 9 January 1918 and was awarded the Military Cross on 13 May 1918. Captain Owen returned to the Home Establishment on 4 June 1918 and left the R.A.F. via the Unemployed List, on 27 May 1919, later becoming an Inspector of Schools. Note: Hal Giblin and Norman Franks in ‘The Military Cross to Flying Personnel of Great Britain and the Empire 1914-19’ state in error that Owen served in Gallipoli from August 1915 until evacuated to Egypt in December. Owen’s Medal Index Card indicates no entitlement to the 1914-15 Star. Sold with the following items and ephemera: the recipient’s captioned photograph album documenting his time in Egypt, October 1916 - January 1917, 48 pictures; album of family related photographs, containing a good portrait photograph of the recipient in South Staffordshire Regiment officer’s uniform; identity bracelet, in 9 carat gold, front of fob engraved ‘Capt. T. Owen, M.C. Cong: R.A.F.’ and the reverse engraved ‘To Tommy from Major R. E. Saul, Comdg. 4, Squadron R.A.F.’; cloth R.F.C wings; cloth R.A.F. wings; Military Cross riband bar; R.A.F. brass ’eagle and crown’ cap insignia; wound stripe; Royal Flying Corps cap badge; a small piece of rock on which handwritten in ink ‘Alabaster, Pyramids, 2.7.16’; an annotated aerial photograph of the area of land between Armentieres and Lille taken 16 July 1917; two original Temporary Commission documents - 2nd Lieutenant in Land F
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