WWII hero and Dambuster Les Munro will be auctioning his medals and log books later this month with the proceeds from the sale going towards maintaining the Bomber Command Memorial. His awards, which include the Distinguished Service Order and the Distinguished Flying Cross, are expected to fetch between £40,000 and £50,000. In this blog, Les explains the reasons behind his decision to auction his medals.
"My reasons for donating my medals and my flying log books to the RAF Benevolent Fund and, more particularly, the Bomber Command Memorial, were prompted by my visit to the memorial in May 2013," says Les.
"I could not help but think of the cost of its ongoing maintenance and, with the feelings of the descendants of those 55,573 in mind, believe that every effort should be made to maintain the memorial in the best possible condition."
New Zealander Les, who celebrates his 96th birthday in April, is the last surviving pilot who took off for the raid against German dams in May 1943 which was later immortalised in the film The Dam Busters.
Forced to turn back after flak destroyed the internal and external communications in his Lancaster, he became a key figure in the history of 617 Squadron.
He took part in a series of important precision raids and on the eve of D-Day, he played a central role in an operation which fooled the Germans into thinking that an invasion fleet was sailing towards the Pas de Calais rather than Normandy.
The RAF Benevolent Fund’s Director of Fundraising, Mike Neville, says: "It is our great honour to maintain the Bomber Command Memorial for future generations, as a lasting symbol of all that the young men in Bomber Command did in defence of our freedom.
"We are enormously grateful to Les Munro for the donation of his medals and log books, which will help the RAF Benevolent Fund preserve the memorial and the legacy of Bomber Command, so that the sacrifices made by these brave young men will not be forgotten."
In addition to maintaining the Memorial, the RAF Benevolent Fund continues to aid New Zealand RAF veterans. Since 2011, the charity has helped 32 individuals in New Zealand in need of assistance and in 2014 alone spent more than £20,000.
In addition to the DSO and the DFC, Munro was appointed to the Queen's Service Order in New Zealand in 1991 and the Companionship of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997. These will be sold along with his campaign stars and medals, his New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal, log books and other ephemera including a menu signed by all the surviving Dambusters after the raid.
The auction for Les Munro's medals is being held by Dix Noonan Webb on 25 March in London.
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