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Lot 1

An historically interesting group of RAF medals, militaria and aeronautical memorabilia from the late Flight Lieutenant William Charles Woodruff CBE, FRAeS, former Controller of the National Air Traffic Service


An historically interesting group of RAF medals, militaria and aeronautical memorabilia from the late Flight Lieutenant William Charles Woodruff CBE, FRAeS, former Controller of the National Air Traffic Service. The auctioning of these items is a unique opportunity to acquire such an interesting combination of connected RAF militaria and aeronautical memorabilia comprising of a CBE enamelled medal framed with the award document together with the CBE presentation box, a group of four medals, The Air Crew Europe Star, The 1939 - 1945 Star, The War Medal 1939 - 1945 and The Defence Medal together with a matching set of miniature medals and another separate set of miniature medals comprising of a CBE, The 1939 - 1945 Star, The Air Crew Europe Star with the Atlantic Bar, The War Medal 1939 - 1945 and The Defence Medal, a gold Irvin Caterpillar Club pin badge in the form of a silk worm set with two ruby eyes, the reverse inscribed 'F/L.T.WOODRUFF', a Stalag Luft 3 POW ID tag No. 1340, an RAF gold plated, blue enamelled Sweetheart Brooch, three photographs picturing Woodruff with various colleagues and members of the RAF, a signed certificate from The Royal Aeronautical Society to certify that William Charles Woodruff was duly elected a Fellow of The Society, an electroplated silver circular tazza presented to Woodruff from his colleagues of the Civil Aviation Authority, dated August 1981, an AFSBw award 'To Controller NATS Mr. W. C. Woodruff with compliments from the German Federal Armed Forces Air Traffic Services Office Frankfurt, dated 29/11/1979 signed by von Schlichtkrull Oberst', an Italian award from the Italian Air Force displaying their coat of arms with the motto 'Virtute Siderum Tenus', an engraved drinking glass with a twist stem engraved 'Airport Enquiries 1981 - 1983' to the bowl with 'WCW' to the foot, together with two ribands, three RAF buttons and an embroidered RAF observer half brevet from Woodruff's uniform. (21 items) Provenance: William Charles Woodruff was born on 14th August, 1921, the son of Thomas & Caroline Woodruff and was educated at St George's, Ramsgate. He joined the Royal Air Force in 1941 and served as a flight navigator and observer. On 9th May 1943, pilot P F Hall and W C Woodruff as flight observer departed Royal Air Force Station Oakington on special duties, onboard a DZ316 Mosquito IV (Squadron Flight 1409). Their plane was shot down over Wieringermeer at 25,000 feet by a German FW 190 which attacked the Mosquito unseen as it flew South of Den Helder, Holland. The German pilot flying the Focke Wulf FW190 was a highly decorated Luftwaffe ace named Hauptmann Robert Olejnik and this was his 38th victory. Both Woodruff and Hall managed to bale out. Whilst descending by parachute the FW190 circled around them continually but fortunately neither were shot at. According to Mrs. Woodruff, 'Bill Woodruff was interrogated heavily by the German Gustapo. However, he could never bring himself to divulge the details of this event due to the level of humiliation which he endured'. Finally, both Woodruff and Hall were reported as POW's on 22nd May 1943 to Stalag Luft Sagan and interred to Camp L3 famously known as Stalag Luft 3 with POW numbers 1340 and 1327 respectively. Due to Woodruff being a navigation expert, he was recruited by Squadron Leader Roger Bushell who was in charge of collecting the most skilled prisoners for the job and hence worked in support, helping to draw up the maps for The Great Escape. Although Woodruff did not personally attempt The Great Escape, his fellow pilot Hall was selected for tunnel escape. Unfortunately, the operation was discovered resulting in the execution of 50 POWs. Woodruff remained as a prisoner until his release on 27th January 1945. In the same year, upon Woodruff's return, he was seconded to the Air Ministry and later to the Ministry of Civil Aviation for Air Traffic Control Planning. He took various air traffic appointments in Norfolk eventually becom

Auction Date: March 2015


£1500 - £3000

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