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|Signatures on this item|
|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Air Commodore John Searby DSO DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40 (matted)
|John Searby joined the RAF in 1929 as a Halton apprentice but was a Sergeant Pilot flying bombers when war broke out. Joining 106 Squadron he flew Lancasters with Guy Gibson and eventually took over as Squadron Commander when Gibson left for 617 Squadron. A specialist in navigation, he was then chosen by Arthur Harris to take command of No.83 Pathfinder Squadron at Wyton. Searby quickly developed a superb reputation as a Pathfinder and was involved in countless precision raids including his role as Master Bomber on the Peenemunde raid, coordinating the attack by over 600 heavy bombers. He died on 14th January 1986. |
Citation for the award of the Distinguished Service Order
Acting Group Captain John Henry SEARBY, D.F.C., Royal Air Force, No.83 Squadron. One night in August, 1943, this officer participated in a bombing attack on an important target at Peenemunde. Enemy fighters were extremely active over the target area, but in spite of this Group Captain Searby executed his difficult task with consummate skill. He displayed faultless leadership, great courage and resolution throughout. (London Gazette – 7 September 1943)
Air Vice Marshall Donald Bennett (deceased)
*Signature Value : £60 (matted)
|Born in Australia, Bennet had joined the RAF before the war. He became widely experienced in flying all types of aircraft including fighters, flying boats and heavy bombers commanding 77 squadron, flying Halifaxes. In 1942, whilst commanding 10 Squadron, he was shot down on one of the attacks on the Tirpitz, but evaded capture and returned to England. Widley regarded as a navigation expert beyond comparison, he was personally selected by Arthur Harris to form the Pathfinder Force and his uncompromising attitude and ceaseless devotion to his men made him a legendary figure in WWII history. He died 15th September 1986.|
Group Captain Hamish Mahaddie DSO DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £60 (matted)
|Group Captain Thomas Gilbert "Hamish" Mahaddie. DSO, DFC, AFC.. CzMC. Nos 7, 55, and 77 Squadrons. Born In Keith, Edinburgh, on 19 March 1911. He joined the RAF as a part of the 17th Entry at Halton in 1928 and trained as a metal rigger, after which he was posted to Cranwell on ground servicing duties. In 1933 he boarded a troopship bound for the Middle East where he joined No 4 FTS at Abu Suler for pilot training. He gained his wings in 1935 and his first air crew posting was to No 55 Squadron at Hinaldi flying Westland Wapitis. On his return to England in 1937 he joined No 77 Squadron flying Whitleys from Driffield. During World War II he completed a tour of operations with No 77 Squadron before moving to Klnloss to instruct with No 14 OTU. He completed another tour, this time with No 7 Squadron at Oakington on Stirlings, before joining HQ Staff of No 8 (Pathfinder) Group. Group Captain Mahaddie finished the war as Station Commander at RAF Warboys, home of PFF Navigation Training Unit. In June 1945 he was appointed to command No 111 Wing in Germany followed by a spell at the Staff College, Haifa, In 1947. His postwar duties also included two tours of duty at the Air Ministry, as OC Flying Wing at Binbrook, and also as Station Commander at Sylt and Butzwellerhof in Germany. He finally retired from the RAF in 1958 and has since been involved with the film Industry as an aviation consultant specialising in electronics for all three services. Hamish Mahaddie died 16th January 1997.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Halifax||Royal Air Force heavy Bomber with a crew of six to eight. Maximum speed of 280mph (with MK.VI top speed of 312mph) service ceiling of 22,800feet maximum range of 3,000 miles. The Halifax carried four .303 browning machine guns in the tail turret, two .303 browning machines in the nose turret in the MK III there were four .303 brownings in the dorsal turret. The Handley Page Halifax, first joined the Royal Air Force in March 1941 with 35 squadron. The Halifax saw service in Europe and the Middle east with a variety of variants for use with Coastal Command, in anti Submarine warfare, special duties, glider-tugs, and troop transportation roles. A total of 6177 Halifax's were built and stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1952|
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