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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 E. B. Ted Sismore DSO DFC AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55
|Air Commodore Edward Barnes Sismore DSO, DFC, and two bars, AFC was born on the 23rd June 1921 at Kettering, Northamptonshire. Sismore joined the RAF in 1939 as aircrew but became a Flight Sergeant on the 29th of August 1942. He was posted to No 110 Squadron, operating Blenheims, and flew anti-shipping patrols and attacked ports in the Low Countries and France at night. Returning from one night-time operation, his Blenheim hit the sea – but his pilot managed to drag the aircraft clear and they made a safe landing. After 30 operations he was rested before converting to the Mosquito and joining No 105 Squadron under Wing Commander Hughie Edwards, VC. He was also later given an emergency commission as a general Duties Branch Pilot Officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, being given a permanent commission on the 1st of February 1945. On the morning of January 31 1943, Reynolds and Sismore led a small force of Mosquitos on the RAF's first daylight bombing attack on Berlin, a round trip of 1,100 miles. The bombers were ordered to arrive at exactly 11am, when Goering and Goebbels were due to address a rally commemorating the 10th anniversary celebrations of Hitler's regime. The Mosquitos flew at low level over Germany and, as they crossed the Elbe, climbed to 25,000ft for their attack, which was carried out exactly on time and photographed by Sismore as it happened. On their return the crews were able to hear a tape recording from German radio. As the announcer introduced Goering to the crowds, bombs could be heard exploding. Goering never delivered his speech, and his constant boasts about the security of the Fatherland were proved to be empty promises. Among those decorated after the attack was Sismore, who was awarded a DFC. Throughout the spring of 1943, Reynolds and Sismore — who was described by a colleague as the most brilliant navigator — led many daylight attacks, their targets including railway workshops, steelworks and power stations, some deep inside Germany. When Reynolds was appointed CO of No 139 Squadron, Sismore remained as his navigator. On May 27 1943 they led a force of six Mosquitos on the RAF's deepest ever daylight low-level penetration of Germany from Britain. The mission was to attack the Schott glass works and Zeiss optical works at Jena, near Leipzig. Visibility was very poor as they flew at treetop height over Germany, and was reduced to 1,500 yards as they approached the target. But Sismore's navigation was perfect, and as they dodged balloons and intense anti-aircraft fire, delayed action bombs were dropped — despite Reynolds being wounded. The aircraft was badly damaged but was nursed back to base. Reynolds was awarded a Bar to his earlier DSO and Sismore also received a DSO. Sismore continued on operations and transferred to No 21 Squadron as the navigation leader. In February 1944, by now recognised as the RAF's finest low-level navigator, he was instructed to plan an attack to release French Resistance leaders imprisoned in Amiens Jail in northern France. He was to lead the raid with Air Vice-Marshal Basil Embry (the commander of No 2 Group), but Embry's chiefs forbade him to fly because he was too valuable an asset. When Sismore indicated that he could fly with someone else, Embry retorted: No, you won't — if I don’t go, you don't go. The operation went ahead without them, and was a complete success, except that Embry's replacement as leader, Group Captain Charles Pickard (who had won three DSOs and a DFC) was shot down and killed along with his navigator. Once again flying with Reynolds, Sismore on October 31st 1944 led a force of 24 Mosquitos in a raid on the Gestapo headquarters lodged in the buildings of Aarhus University in Denmark. The surprise attack, in misty weather, was delivered from low level and was a complete success. The head of the SS was killed, one of his officers writing: A terrible disaster happened when our HQ was shot up by English airmen. For their outstanding leadership, both Reynolds and Sismore received a Bar to their DFCs. Sismore continued to lead low-level daylight precision raids. On March 20th 1945 he led a force to attack the Gestapo HQ in the Shell House, Copenhagen. Once again his precise navigation resulted in a successful attack by the leading formation, and the building was destroyed. Tragically, a following Mosquito was shot down and crashed on a school, killing many children. However, 30 Danish patriots escaped and 150 Gestapo men were killed. The Danish Resistance asked for one more attack to release prisoners, this time from the Gestapo HQ in Odense. Sismore navigated the formation of six aircraft on the last of the 'Mosquito daylight spectaculars', and the small force destroyed the heavily camouflaged building. For his part in these two operations, Sismore was awarded a second Bar to his DFC. After the war Sismore remained in the Royal Air Force and with Squadron leader Mick martin (former Dambuster) broke the flying record for the London to Cape Town, 6,727 mile journey, completing it in 21 hours and 31 minutes. He was later awarded the Royal Aero Clubs Britannia Trophy for 1947. In 1962 Sismore was promoted to Group Captain and later became Station Commander of RAF Bruggen in Germany and in the late 1960s became commanding Officer of the Royal Air Force Central Reconnaissance Establishment at RAF Brampton. Air Commodore Edward Barnes Sismore died March 22nd 2012.|
Air Commodore John Ellacombe CB DFC* (deceased)
*Signature Value : £35
|John Ellacombe joined the RAF in 1939 and was posted to 151 Squadron in July 1940, immediately converting to Hurricanes. On 24th August he shot down a He111, but a week later his Hurricane was blown up in combat and he baled out, with burns. Rejoining his squadron a few months later, in February 1941 was posted to 253 Squadron where he took part in the Dieppe operations. On 28th July, flying a Turbinlite Havoc, he probably destroyed a Do217. Converting to Mosquitos, John was posted to 487 Squadron RNZAF, and during the build up to the Normandy Invasion and after, was involved in many ground attacks on enemy held airfields, railways, and other targets of opportunity. He completed a total of 37 sorties on Mosquitos. Flying a de Havilland Mosquito XIII with a devastating set of four 20mm cannon in the nose, John Ellacombe flew deep into occupied France on the night before D-Day searching out and destroying German convoys and railway targets. As the Normandy campaign raged on, 151 Squadron intensified its interdiction sorties - including night attacks on Falaise and the Seine bridges. On August 1st Ellacombe took part in the famous attack by 23 Mosquitoes on the German bar-racks in Poitiers, led by Group Captain Wykeham Barnes. Ellacombe had first joined 151 Squadron during the Battle of Britain, direct from Flying Training School. Within weeks he had scored his first victory but also force landed in a field, having shot down a He 111, and baled out of a blazing Hurricane. He baled out a second time during the Dieppe Raid in 1942 but was picked up safely. Postwar he had a long and successful career in the RAE. Air Commodore John Ellacombe, who has died aged 94, survived being shot down three times during the Second World War - twice during the Battle of Britain. On August 15th 1940 the Luftwaffe launched Adler Tag (Eagle Day), with the object of destroying Fighter Command by attacking the ground organisation and drawing the RAF's fighters into the air. Nine Hurricanes of No 151 Squadron were scrambled during the afternoon and met enemy fighters near Dover at 18,000ft. Ellacombe attacked a Messerschmitt Bf 109 and fired three bursts. The enemy fighter rolled on to its back and dived into the sea. There was heavy fighting over the next few days, and on August 24 Ellacombe engaged a Heinkel III bomber. His fire hit its engines and the bomber crash-landed in Essex . During intense fighting on August 30 he attacked a formation of Heinkels head on. He hit one, which crashed, but return fire damaged the engine of his Hurricane and he was forced to land in a field, where a farmer accosted him with a pitchfork. On the following day Ellacombe damaged two Bf 109s before attacking a Junkers 88 bomber. When the Junkers returned fire, setting his Hurricane's fuel tank ablaze, he bailed out. As he drifted to the ground, a member of the Home Guard fired on him. He was then marched to a police station where he was assaulted by a constable who thought he was German. Later in life Ellacombe remarked: In two days, a farmer had attempted to kill me, the Home Guard had shot at me and a policeman had tried to kill me — quite apart from the Germans. I wondered whose side I was on. He received hospital treatment for his burns, and his fighting days during the Battle of Britain were over. After several months convalescing Ellacombe returned to No 151, which had been reassigned to night fighting. Equipped with the Hurricane and the Defiant, the squadron had little contact with the enemy; but Ellacombe developed a reputation for flying at night in the worst weather, and in April 1942 he was awarded a DFC for his service in the Battle of Britain and for showing the greatest keenness to engage the enemy. Posted to No 253 Squadron as a flight commander, he found night fighting dull, and volunteered for daylight operations. He flew in support of the ill-fated raid on Dieppe, and as he attacked a gun battery his aircraft was hit by flak. Ellacombe managed to get over the sea before bailing out and being picked up by a Canadian landing craft. After a rest tour, Ellacombe converted to the Mosquito before joining No 487 (NZ) Squadron, flying low-level intruder missions over France and the Low Countries. He attacked V-1 sites in the Pas de Calais and bombed roads and railways in support of the Normandy landings. He saw constant action attacking targets in support of the Allied armies and during the breakout from the Falaise pocket. After 37 intruder bombing patrols Ellacombe was rested and awarded a Bar to his DFC. He spent the remainder of the war on training duties, but still managed occasionally to take a Mosquito on an operational sortie. The son of an English doctor who had served during the Boer War, John Lawrence Wemyss Ellacombe was born at Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia, on February 28 1920 and educated at Diocesan College (Bishops) in Cape Town. In May 1939 he went to Britain to join the RAF, trained as a pilot and in July 1940 was posted to No 151 Squadron; he had never flown a Hurricane. Post-war he remained in the RAF, most of his flying appointments being in Fighter Command. After service in Aden he led No 1 Squadron, flying Meteor jets, and he commanded the Fighter Development Unit at the Central Fighter Establishment, developing tactics for the Hunter and Lightning . He served in Washington as a liaison officer with the USAF on fighter operations before commanding the RAF flying training base at Linton-on-Ouse, near York. Ellacombe was the senior serving representative at the Defence Operational Analysis Establishment, and on promotion to air commodore in 1968 was appointed Air Commander of Air Forces, Gulf, with headquarters at Muharraq, Bahrain. The withdrawal of British forces from Aden was scheduled for the end of that year, and Muharraq became a key staging post and support airfield . Ellacombe's calm handling of affairs in Bahrain was recognised by his appointment as CB. His final appointment was in the MoD, and he retired in 1973. Ellacombe then became Director of Scientific Services at St Thomas's Hospital in London, and later administrator to the hospital's trustees. A good cricketer and rugby player in his younger days, he played golf three times a week until he was 88, and he was a keen follower of Middlesex CCC. He particularly enjoyed watching his grandchildren play cricket (some of them at county junior level, including a granddaughter who turned out for Essex Ladies). John Ellacombe's wife, Mary, whom he married in 1951 when she was serving in the WRAF, had served on Winston Churchill's staff and been appointed OBE. She died in 2007, and he is survived by their son and two daughters. Air Commodore John Ellacombe, born February 28 1920, died May 11 2014.|
|Flight Lieutenant Douglas Hadland|
*Signature Value : £35
|Joining the RAF in 1941, Douglas completed his training in Canada and qualified as a navigator, returning to the UK to spend a brief time with the Navigation Research Flight before being posted to 162 Squadron in No.8 Pathfinder Group at Bourn, near Cambridge, flying Mosquitos. At the end of the war he went briefly to Black Bush Airport flying operations, dropping diplomatic mail in Oslo, Visbarden and Brussels before being posted back to 8 group with 692 Squadron Light Night Strike Force to prepare for the then proposed invasion of Japan.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mosquito||Used as a night fighter, fighter bomber, bomber and Photo-reconnaissance, with a crew of two, Maximum speed was 425 mph, at 30,300 feet, 380mph at 17,000ft. and a ceiling of 36,000feet, maximum range 3,500 miles. the Mosquito was armed with four 20mm Hospano cannon in belly and four .303 inch browning machine guns in nose. Coastal strike aircraft had eight 3-inch Rockets under the wings, and one 57mm shell gun in belly. The Mossie at it was known made its first flight on 25th November 1940, and the mosquito made its first operational flight for the Royal Air Force as a reconnaissance unit based at Benson. In early 1942, a modified version (mark II) operated as a night fighter with 157 and 23 squadron's. In April 1943 the first De Haviland Mosquito saw service in the Far east and in 1944 The Mosquito was used at Coastal Command in its strike wings. Bomber Commands offensive against Germany saw many Mosquitos, used as photo Reconnaissance aircraft, Fighter Escorts, and Path Finders. The Mosquito stayed in service with the Royal Air Force until 1955. and a total of 7781 mosquito's were built.|
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