New for today a superb collection of vintage photographs, uniforms and memorabilia relating to the career of the British World War II pilot George Alastair Richards from 1942 onwards.
One of the beneficiaries of the Arnold Scheme, whereby British RAF Cadets learned to fly in safer US skies, Richards’ flight training was begun at Cochran Field (now Middle Georgia Regional Airport) in Macon, Georgia, USA on 18th February 1942. Training was completed in May of the same year where upon he appointed a Pilot Officer of the RAF Volunteer Reserve and returned to Britain.
Unfortunately we do not have the details of his wartime service but the ribbons on the service dress uniform show that as well as the 1939-1945 Star, the Defence Medal and the War Medal he was presented the Atlantic Star with clasp suggesting he may have seen action protecting Allied shipping in the Battle of the Atlantic. Following the war his effort was rewarded with the rank of Flying Officer in the RAF in June 1946. By 1950 he was a Flight Lieutenant and eventually rose to the rank of Squadron Leader.
Items included in the collection as follows.
‘Snaps and Scraps US Army Cochran Field’ photo album with illustrated suede cover. The album contains a superb collection of approx 50 black and white wartime photographs with superb content.
Included are of US training planes (Vultee BT-13s ? and open cockpit biplanes), pilots in uniform and US style flying gear, relaxed images of airmen on British airfields off duty or awaiting the call to action, images of men in RAF uniform in North Africa, images of Richards posing in the snow with a Hawker Hurricane and a Spitfire, a great image of airmen of various nations posing together in the snow.
Perhaps the best photographs in the album are a group of three images of the sky blue painted Supermarine Spitfire MD120 NX-O ‘Spirit of Kent’ flown by Squadron Leader J J O’Meara D.S.O, D.F.C, a hero of the Battle of Britain with 13 Victories to his name and an almost unequalled 509 hours operational flying time during the war. Two images show O’Meara in the cockpit. Also included is a close-up of another Spitfire (apparently also painted blue) on which the call signal NX-Z is visible.
An RAF Service Dress uniform jacket and trousers. Featuring embroidered RAF badge, medal ribbons including Atlantic Star with clasp and with squadron leader sleeve insignia. Chrome buttons by Gaunt of London. Good condition with fading around the collar.
An RAF Mess Uniform jacket and waistcoat by Moss Bros of Covent Garden. Gold embroidered RAF badge and gold squadron leader sleeve insignia. Brass buttons by Gaunt of London. Very good condition. Also black dress trousers and dress shirt.
Certificate dated 18th Feb 1942 appointing GA Richards a Corporal in the Flying Cadet Basic Training Group at Cochran Field.
US Army Diploma dated 16th May 1942 stating Richards has completed his training.
Scroll certificate appointing Richards a Pilot Officer in the RAF Volunteer Reserve from May 20th 1942. Given at St James’ Palace August 4th 1942.
Scroll certificate appointing Richards a Flying Officer in the RAF from June 27th 1946. Given at St James’ Palace August 5th 1947.
Also included here:
A delightful illustrated ‘Blind Flight’ certificate stating ‘Embryo Pilot’ G.A Richards had successfully completed a course of instrument flying at Napier Field, Alabama dated May 16th 1942.
Two large format prints of US Vultees flying in formation.
Two copies of a hymn to protect airmen.
A mounted photo portrait of Richards in uniform.
A mounted formal group photograph of No 116 Flying Instructors’ Course – March to August 1950 with Flt. Lt. G.A Richards on the front row.
A ‘Statue de la Liberté wall plaque engraved to Sqn Ldr Richards RAF Comdr Lakenheath 48 TFW 1965.
Please follow the link to our ebay shop if you would like to bid on the collection.