Chicago Collector's Medals And Orders To Be Sold In London Auction Gallantry medals, Orders and Decorations collected by the late Peter Maren will be sold by specialist London coins and medals auctioneer Morton & Eden. The sale is on Tuesday July 2.
under all conditions serve as an inspiration to his fellow flyers. His actions on all these occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of the United States." His Air Medal recognised 'ten fighter combat missions over enemy occupied Continental Europe.'
Smart was born in Kansas in 1913 and after graduating from high school in 1931, he worked as a salesman and store manager. He received his Student Commercial Pilot's Licence at Seagrove, Texas, in September 1940 and a year later, he enrolled at the Polaris Flight Academy, Glendale, California, a British flying training school providing U.S. pilots for the Royal Air Force.
He arrived in England in December 1941 and was based eventually at Biggin Hill when the 'Eagle' Squadrons were absorbed into the USAAF. His 133 Squadron became 366 Fighter Squadron, and was relocated to RAF Debden, flying Spitfires and then Thunderbolts. He flew 76 combat missions and logged over 500 hours' flight time.
It was at Debden that he met his future wife, Marjorie, who was working as a telephonist with the London Fire Brigade and they married in January 1943. He was discharged at the end of 1945, she becoming one of the first 'war brides' to return to the United States.
The pair of medals will be sold with extensive documentation, photographs, and related items including logbooks, one of which has a pen-and-ink drawing on the reverse of a cartoon eagle wearing boxing gloves. Among the entries is one dated Mar 29: 1944. It reads: '..Bailed out in North Sea 10 miles off Aldeburgh at 15:45 hours, was picked up 16.00 by Walrus of 2277Sqdn. Martlesham. Taxied all way to Felixstowe, arrived at 20:30 hours...damn lucky boy. Joined Caterpillar & Goldfish Club as of today.' A postscript to the entry on April 4 reads: 'Taken off Ops. Apr. 5th, broke my heart too.'
The medals and associated material have been consigned by a descendant and are together estimated at $4,500-7,500.
A USA Treasury gold life saving medal in Mr Maren's collection was awarded in 1903 to Frank B. Chapman, one of the crew of the life-saving station at Charlotte, New York "In recognition of their gallant conduct in effecting the rescue on 15 December 1902 of four men and one woman from the wreck of the schooner John R. Noyes".
On the night in question, the tug used to tow the surfboat rescue vessel was icebound, so it was decided to carry it by special train, which had to be dug out of the snow at Windsor Beach, to Lakeside to reach the stricken vessel from there. No trace could be found that night, but she was spotted the next morning and the boat was launched again and pulled through high winds and waves in bitter cold eventually becoming covered in ice. They found the "John R. Noyes was smashed and helpless while those on board, having suffered constant exposure for over two days, had lost all hope of rescue and were