The Wokingham Paper

Antiques from a British RAF pilot to be auctioned

Mementos from an RAF pilot are being auctioned.

AN ANTIQUE auction with mementos from World War Two is to take place after Remembrance Sunday this year.

A collection of medals, military badges, dog tags and photographs will be on offer, showcasing an insight into the life of a British Prison of War during the Second World War. 

“When we opened the box, we started with two sets of First World War medals, which belonged to two brothers”, explained auctioneer Matthew Coles.

“We found that one of these brothers had a son, Ron Bryant, who went on to be an air gunner in Halifax bombers during the Second World War.

“Ron kept mementos from his time during the war, including his all-important Air Gunners Log Book and everything had been kept in the box. All these items have given us a fascinating insight into the man, and gives his own Second World War campaign medals an extra dimension.”

The collection was brought to the regular valuation days, due to the family line coming to end. 

In 1941, at the age 18, Ron Bryant joined the RAF and by August 1943 had started operations as an air gunner from RAF Pocklington in North Yorkshire. In November of that year Ron was captured and after interrogation was sent to one of the largest Prisoner of War camps in Germany, Stalag IV B in Muhlberg. 

During his time at the camp he joined the theatre group (having been a choirboy before the war), and the lot to be sold includes some photographs of the cast, including Ron in costume. 

The camp was liberated by Soviet troops in April 1945 and Ron returned to London in June of that year. In 1951 his new career as a London licensed taxi driver began, a career he was to continue for the next 46 years.

The collection includes photographs of Ron when he first joined the RAF, as well as with his bomber crew. There are also his identifying pictures when captured, his POW identity tags, theatre photographs, the telegram to his parents in Ealing advising them of his missing status, and various German military badges and books taken from the camp on his liberation.

Finally, there are mementoes of life after the war – His Caterpillar Club membership for successfully bailing from an aeroplane, Veterans club ephemera and ephemera from his life as a taxi driver.

“We often have First and Second World War medals in our auctions”, explained Mr Coles. “But to have such a complete history surrounding how they were won is a bit of a rarity.”

The articles will be offered at auction in the Milton Road auction rooms in Wokingham on Wednesday, November 13, with an estimate of £250 – 350.

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