Update Thurs 22 November: The collection was sold for AU$24,000.
Ray Wilkinson occupies a unique place in history. He was the only man to took part in both the Dams Raid, Operation Chastise in May 1943, and the final attack on the Tirpitz, Operation Catechism in November 1944. On the Dams Raid, he was the rear gunner in Bill Townsend’s aircraft ED886 AJ-O, which attacked the Ennepe Dam but failed to breach it. He occupied the same position in Flg Off Arthur Kell’s NG181 on the Tirpitz attack. On this, the crew’s Tallboy bomb was recorded as registering ‘a hit or a very near miss’ as it ‘fell in the centre of the smoke coming up from just in front of the superstructure.’
Wilkinson won the DFM for his part in the Dams Raid, and this is the star item in his medal collection which is being presented for auction in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday 21 November. The auction will also include his logbook (shown above), invitation to the premiere of The Dam Busters film and other memorabilia.
An interesting extra to the logbook is the small photograph which seems to have been pasted on the page shown above. This shows his Dams Raid Lancaster in flight, in a snap which may have been taken during a training exercise by a member of Les Munro’s crew.
Ray Wilkinson, his wife Iris, and their family moved to Melbourne in 1968 to start a new life in Australia. Ray died in 1980 but Iris lived until last December. In her will she specified that her husband’s medals, log book, invitation to the film premiere and other Dambusters memorabilia should all be auctioned to raise funds for two charities of her choosing.
More information in this article in the Sydney Morning Herald:
[Thanks to Graeme Jensen for the tip.]