Teenage WW1 hero who shot down 12 German planes is selling his medals for £30,000

Teenage WW1 hero who shot down 12 German planes is selling his medals for £30,000

The military decorations of a juvenile World War I aviator, who later became the first person to fly nonstop from Britain to India, are anticipated to fetch £30,000 at auction the next week.

In July 1917, at the age of 18, Squadron Leader Arthur Gordon Jones-Williams was awarded the Military Cross for engaging 12 German aircraft simultaneously and destroying one and bringing down another.

He repeated the act weeks later, for which he was awarded a Bar to his Military Cross, demonstrating ‘extreme courage’ and ‘the finest offensive spirit’

The citation for the award read: ‘On multiple instances, he attacked enemy formations despite their numerical superiority, fighting them in more than one case single-handedly and displaying the highest level of offensive zeal.

He destroyed many machines while utterly out of control and fought until his ammunition ran out.

In 1929, he became the first pilot to fly nonstop from Britain to India, a journey that lasted more than 50 hours.

Now, the pilot’s World War I medals are being auctioned off by Dominic Winter Auctioneers in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, among logbooks, trophies, and other memorabilia.

Henry Meadows, the auctioneer, remarked, “Opportunities to purchase a collection like this are becoming increasingly rare, and I do not anticipate seeing other archives that are so comprehensive.

“The provenance of the medals is astounding. In addition to being a courageous pilot, Squadron Leader Jones-Williams was also the first pilot to fly nonstop from Cranwell to India.

“Such collections from the First World War, especially from pilots, are quite exceptional.

At this period, flying was highly experimental and quite risky.

I anticipate a great deal of interest from RAF and civil aircraft collectors worldwide.

The notes Jones-Williams and his co-pilot exchanged throughout their record-breaking trip are particularly intriguing.

Prior to the invention of radio, this was the only means for co-pilots to communicate, and the messages reveal how uncertain they were about their ability to complete the journey.

Arthur Gordon Jones-Williams, born in British Columbia in 1898 and educated at a boarding school in Sussex, joined the Welsh Regiment at the onset of the First World War before switching to the Royal Flying Corps.

Between April and September 1917, he suffered two wounds and was sent home to recover.

He returned to the Western Front as 65 Squadron’s Flight Commander and resumed flying a Sopwith Camel.

After the war, the French gave him the Croix de Guerre, another medal in his collection.

Participating in a bombing mission against Sheik Mahmoud, who was waging a revolution against the Baghdad government, he spent time in Kurdistan.

In 1927, he transported the air secretary, Sir Philip Sassoon, to the United States to meet with President Calvin Coolidge.

The next year, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and began planning his record-breaking flight to India.

Forty message slips that he passed to his co-pilot Norman Jenkins during the flight are included in the transaction.

One communication stated, “Oil is blowing up through the hole in the cabin’s floor; I cannot locate a leak, and the tank and pressure appear to be fine..” Watch your pressure.’

Another comments, “I fear we have no chance in Karachi (India)”

Despite their concerns, they made it to India in 50 hours and 48 minutes, travelling 4,130 miles in a Fairey Long-Range Monoplane.

They were only 336 miles away from breaking the world record for nonstop flight travel.

Later in the year, the two attempted a second journey, this time to South Africa.

Both men were killed on December 16, 1929, when their aircraft crashed in Djebel Lit, Zaghouan, a mountainous region south of Tunis.

Lucy Jones-Williams, Sq Ldr Jones-mother, Williams’s was awarded the gold Aero Club medal for her son’s accomplishments after his death, and it is included in the collection.

The sale occurs on November 23.

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