The Military Sale - A Fresh Format 2012 saw three major players in the UK fine art and collectibles industry (Apex, Baldwin’s and Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions) combine to create the UK’s newest ‘top 5’ generalist auctioneer under th
a number of fascinating items including, lot 37, a rare and emotive South Africa 1879 Casualty Medal, estimated at £10,000 – 12,000; lot 153, a pair of silver-mounted flintlock pistols for presentation to a Potentate, estimated at £2,000 - £3,000 and lot 175, An 1878 Pattern Home Service Officer’s Blue Cloth Helmet belonging to Henry Singleton Pennel VC Derbyshire & Sherwood Foresters (1874 - 1907), estimated at £1,200 – 1,500.
The full catalogue for this auction can be viewed online at www.baldwin.co.uk or at www.dnfa.com.
Lot 6 A Superb and Extremely Rare WWII Pathfinder’s CGM & DFM Group of 5 awarded to Warrant Officer Solomon Joseph Harold Andrew, No.35 Squadron, No.8 (Pathfinder Force) Group, Royal Air ForceVolunteer Reserve; a veteran of a staggering 89 operational sorties and 315 hours of operational flying over France and Germany between November 1943 and April 1945, he was awarded the CGM and DFM for his role as an Air Gunner ‘of outstanding ability’ and considered to have skill ‘second to none’ in the Halifax and Lancaster bombers of No.8 Group - one of only 11 such gallantry combinations awarded, comprising: Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying), GVIR (1715306 F/Sgt. S. J. H. Andrew. R.A.F.), Distinguished Flying Medal, GVIR. (1715306. F/Sgt. S. J. H. Andrew. R.A.F.), 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with copy ‘France and Germany’ clasp, War Medal 1939-45; the first two officially engraved, the remainder unnamed as issued, group court-mounted on board by Spink & Son Ltd, with reverse pin for wear. Group lightly toned with a few light hairlines and tiny contact marks in places, otherwise good extremely fine, and an extremely rare and desirable combination of awards. (5)
ex Spink, 11th of May, 2001, lot 777 (cover group), sold for £8,050 hammer
CGM London Gazette 26.10.1945
DFM London Gazette 8.12.1944
Warrant Officer Solomon Joseph Harold Andrew was born in early 1924, in Lanner, near Redruth, Cornwall. Having previously worked as an agricultural labourer, he enlisted into the RAFVR in June 1942 at the age of 18. His remarkable operational career began in late 1943, being drafted into the elite Pathfinder Force of No.8 Group, No.35 Squadron, RAF - based at Gravely near Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Initially equipped with Halifax Bombers (the squadron converted to Lancasters in March, 1944) the Pathfinder Force was comprised of picked, specialist crews of high skill and navigational ability, intended to precede the large-scale RAF bombing assaults by laying down target indicators to assist the following Bomber formations in finding their targets, all the while enduring the gruelling anti-aircraft ‘flak’ fire, harassment by enemy fighter aircraft and the general navigational difficulties of night-time raids.
Flight Sergeant Andrew made his first sortie on the night of the 22nd of November, 1943, and was very much ‘thrown in at the deep end’, taking part in a bombing raid on Berlin itself. From this point onwards he was almost continuously involved in bombardment of strategic targets over France and Germany. After less than a year, in September 1944, he was