Medals of RAF hero who shot down record number of doodlebugs sell for 21k




 
--
 
July 6th, 2015  
MontyB
 
 

Topic: Medals of RAF hero who shot down record number of doodlebugs sell for 21k


Medals of RAF hero who shot down record number of doodlebugs sell for 21k

Squadron Leader Joseph Berry destroyed 61 unmanned V1 missiles before he was killed in action with final stoic words: 'I've had it chaps, you go on'


Joseph Berry, left, and a V1 'flying bomb' missile in flight Photo: BNPS & Rex

By Agency
12:59PM BST 23 Jun 2015

The medals of an RAF hero who saved countless lives by destroying 61 of Hitler's V1 flying bombs have sold for 21,000.

Squadron Leader Joseph Berry shot down a record number of the unmanned missiles before he was killed in action with the final stoic words: "I've had it chaps, you go on."

The airman had put his life on the line by flying after the deadly "doodlebugs" that landed on indiscriminate targets during the Second World War.



Joseph Berry's magnificent medals (Anderson&Garland/BNPS )



Because the V1s travelled at 400mph, pilots had to dive from 5,000ft to build up enough speed before closing in on them at a range of just 200 yards to shoot them out of the sky. Often, debris from the flying bombs shattered through the fuselage of the Hawker Tempest planes.

Sq Ldr Berry - a tax inspector before the war - claimed more than twice the number of V1s than the next most successful pilot in the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit.
He was one of only a few airmen awarded the prestigious Distinguished Flying Cross three times during the Second World War.

The second bar to his DFC was awarded posthumously after he was killed while on a raid to destroy a rail yard in northern Germany, from where V1s were being transported to launch sites.
He was struck by groundfire, causing him to slump over the controls. His comrades radioed him to pull out of a nosedive - only for the fatally-injured Squadron Leader to reply: 'I've had it chaps, you go on'. He was 24.





Squadron Leader Joseph Berry and his wife Joyce (Anderson&Garland/BNPS)


In 1946, his young widow Joyce went to Buckingham Palace to receive his DFC from King George VI. She died in March this year and now a relative has sold Sq Ldr Berry's medals at auction.
They had been given a pre-sale estimate of 8,000, but sold to a private collector for 17,500. With fees added on, the overall price paid was 21,000.



Fred Wyrley-Birch, of auctioneers Anderson and Garland in Newcastle, said: "Joseph Berry was an amazing and heroic guy who helped save hundreds if not thousands of lives.
"There was nobody else who could do what he did. He led the way and showed his colleagues how it was done. His tally of 61 V1s is more than double that of the next man. Needless to say the vendor and ourselves are very pleased with the outcome of the sale."
Sq Ldr Berry, from Alnwick, Northumberland, caught the flying bug at the age of 12 when he went for a ride in a bi-plane as part of Cobham's Flying Circus. He joined the RAF in 1940, trained as a pilot and joined 256 Squadron.
During a night training exercise in 1941, the engines of his Defiant aircraft cut out, forcing him and air gunner Edward Williams to bail out. While Sq Ldr Berry landed safely on land, Sgt Williams was blown into the Irish Sea off Fleetwood, Lancashire, and drowned.


In 1943, Sq Ldr Berry spent six hours adrift in a dinghy before being rescued after he abandoned his stricken Bristol Beaufighter over the Mediterranean.

German soldiers prepare a V1 flying bomb for launch



He won his first DFC for shooting down three German aircraft - two Junkers 88 bombers and a Messerschmitt 120 - during the Allied invasion of Salerno, Italy, in August 1943.



In the summer of 1944, he was chosen to join a special team of pilots tasked with defeating the V1 bombs. On one occasion, he chased down a Doodlebug to just 100 yards before obliterating it as it was headed for the Women's RAF billet at West Malling, Kent, and also shot down seven in one night.



He received a bar to his DFC in August 1944 for his brave actions before he was promoted and put in charge of 501 Squadron.



Sq Ldr Berry was killed on October 2, 1944 and buried in an unmarked grave near Kibbelgaarn in Holland. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission identified it in 1956 and erected a named headstone.
The Nazis unleashed 10,000 V1 rockets on south east England, claiming more than 20,000 casualties.



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...l-for-21k.html
July 6th, 2015  
JOC
 
 
Excellent story, Monty! I have nothing to add.
July 7th, 2015  
MontyB
 
 
I have been looking at several options to increase the posts in this area and figured a few like that one may help.

I am also looking at an offshoot of Georges "This day in history" thread and posting about a few of the battles mentioned in his thread to see if that encourages a few more posts or at least drags in a few readers.
--