Another successful year for our Aviation & Military History, Medals & Militaria specialist sales

As 2023 comes to an end, we look back at another successful year for our Aviation & Military History, Medals & Militaria specialist sales.

The May auction included the Tonbridge Battle of Britain collection. A private collection formed by Malcolm Pettit over a 50-year period and housed in a barn at the bottom of his garden. Malcolm was one of the last “great excavators”, tracing aircraft crash sites and recovering Spitfire, Hurricane and Luftwaffe relics.

The collection comprised 155 lots with some notable highlights as follows:

Lot 405

The BMW 1000 HP Bramo 323P 9-cylinder radial engine recovered from Dornier 17Z-3 shot down by Wing Commander Frederick "Taffy" Higginson on 16 August 1940 (sold for a premium inclusive £6,200)

Lot 440

Relics recovered from Hurricane L1965 which was shot down on 30 August 1940, Pilot Officer Colin Dunstan Francis was killed (sold for £3,720)

Lot 492

Relics recovered from Hurricane P3594 which was shot down on 7 September 1940, following an attack from a He III. The pilot, Flying Officer Patrick Hardy Vesey Wells of 249 Squadron bailed out and the aircraft burst into flames crashing on a farm track near Goodnestone Court, Faversham. Wells' flying boots came off with the shock of the parachute opening and were later returned by the police however, several personal items were stolen from him as he was being treated (sold for £5,704)

Lot 523

Battle of Britain period pewter beer mug which was hanging in Startled Saint pub when it was bombed on 18 August 1940 (sold for £1,860)

Lot 70

WWII collection belonging to Corporal R.G. Wall, No 6 Commando, including a 1st Pattern Fairbairn Sykes Fighting Knife by Wilkinson Sword & Co Ltd, London (sold for £3,720)

Lot 198

WWII DFC group to 'Mosquito Night Fighter' Flight Lieutenant Johnny Haddon Downes, 604 Squadron who destroyed three enemy aircraft and later became the producer of the BBC show "Crackerjack (sold for £4,464)

Lot 212

David Shepherd oil on canvas "Comet I in for servicing, London Airport 1953", signed lower right, 51 x 76 cm, framed (sold for £6,944)

Lot 373

An important silver-plated Schneider Trophy miniature presented to Group Captain William Frederick Dry, CBE, Engineering Officer of the 1931 Schneider Trophy-winning team. He and seven of the winning team were awarded the Schneider Trophy miniature (sold for £12,400)


November 2023 sale highlights

Lot 352

Austrian Dragoon Officers' Helmet, 19th century (sold for £1,984)

Lot 382

Interwar period Indian Cavalry jacket and waistcoat belonging to Captain R.P. Prentice, M.C. Skinner's Horse (sold for £1,302)

Lot 290

WWII "Operation Dynamo" DSC group to Captain C.A. Hancock, for displaying great initiative and seamanship in getting his ship into Dunkirk, and also after the ship had been severely damaged, in getting her back to Dover (sold for £2,480)

Lot 334

WWII Japanese Sword (Katana), circa 1940s (sold for £1,302)

Lot 102

Collection of approximately 100 pieces of sheet music with an aviation, ballooning and airship theme, mid 19th and early 20th century (sold for £992)

Lot 140

A fine composition Spitfire cockpit section, green painted aluminium with Ace of Spades decals and perspex canopy (sold for £7,936)

Lot 176

Silver desktop model presented by Douglas Bader, Garrard & Co Ltd, London 1971, modelled as a British Saladin armoured car (sold for £2,356)

Lot 216

WWII Spitfire/Seafire spade grip, circa 1939-45 (sold for £1,860)


The next specialist sale takes place on 23 May 2024 and already includes some very interesting lots, including a large and varied medal collection such as Victorian, WWI and WWII medals to the Devonshire Regiment, a good range of British and Foreign Orders, plus a collection of dress miniature awards which have been attributed to the recipients (about 100 lots in total).

There will also be Part II of the John Procter airship and ballooning collection, which will include Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps memorabilia.


For more information about consigning to these auctions, please contact Henry Meadows, 01285 860006 or

Alternatively, you can use the valuation form on our website.


Upcoming Auctions


British & European Paintings, Old Master & Modern Works on Paper

British & European Paintings, Old Master & Modern Works on Paper

25th Jul, 2024 10:00

To see a page-turning version of our catalogue, please see the Virtual Catalogue.

Live bidding is available on our website on sale day, a BID LIVE button will appear 60 minutes before the sale starts. Please register at least 24 hours before the sale starts. Commission bids can be left on our website up to 1 hour before the sale commences. For telephone bids, please call the office on 01285 860006.