War Medals of a WWII Pilot Sold at Auction

Ronald Berry was a Spitfire pilot who won several war medals flying with the 603rd squadron during WWII. He flew well over four hundred missions during his career as an airmen for the British Royal Air Force, and was highly decorated as the result of his efforts. Now, his war medals have gone under the hammer and managed to fetch over one hundred and forty thousand British pounds.

The air commodore was only twenty-three years of age at the time he flew with his squadron. He managed to bring down at least ten enemy planes on his own while also helping to destroy another half a dozen. Among the numerous war medals he received were the CBE and Distinguished Service Order. Aside from the confirmed kills which helped him to win these medals, he also damaged an additional nine planes while potentially having brought down another eight. Altogether, he impacted about thirty-three planes, and those are just the ones on record, the BBC News reports.

Three of his confirmed kills were German Messerschmitt 109s that he took down within twenty-four hours of each other. This was in the very first year of WWII, and it won him the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar. This is one of the more valuable of the war medals he received for his efforts. He also helped to play a role in the Battle of Britain, in which the Royal Air Force lost over one thousand planes but brought down nearly two thousand of the Germans’.

Auctioneers were not surprised that Berry’s awards went for such a high bid, as they had expected them to be a top item at auction. They were sold as a lot rather than individually, though the bidder who won the items is unknown. The war medals went for £144,000 altogether, which includes a £24,000 commission charge. It is unknown whether or not the buyer collects such items or even if they are a British citizen.

The war medals of Air Commodore Ronald Berry managed to win nearly one hundred and fifty pounds at auction, and there were only about nine of them or so. There is no telling how much might be won from even larger lots. Since the winning bidder is unknown, their plans for Berry’s war medals cannot be assessed. That means there is no telling at this juncture whether or not the awards will ever appear on exhibit somewhere.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE