A Fine Second World War D.F.C. Group of Seven to Flight Lieutenant W.F. Redhead, Royal Air Force, A Two Tour Flight Engineer Who Flew in No. 76 Squadron During the Period of Cheshire's Command, Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated '1943', in Royal Mint case of issue; India General Service 1908-35, one clasp, North West Frontier 1930-31 (363236 A.C. 1, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, with 'France and Germany' clasp; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, the first with minor contact wear, good very fine and better 	 (7)
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A Fine Second World War D.F.C. Group of Seven to Flight Lieutenant W.F. Redhead, Royal Air Force, A Two Tour Flight Engineer Who Flew in No. 76 Squadron During the Period of Cheshire's Command, Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated '1943', in Royal Mint case of issue; India General Service 1908-35, one clasp, North West Frontier 1930-31 (363236 A.C. 1, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, with 'France and Germany' clasp; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, the first with minor contact wear, good very fine and better (7)

Details
A Fine Second World War D.F.C. Group of Seven to Flight Lieutenant W.F. Redhead, Royal Air Force, A Two Tour Flight Engineer Who Flew in No. 76 Squadron During the Period of Cheshire's Command, Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., the reverse officially dated '1943', in Royal Mint case of issue; India General Service 1908-35, one clasp, North West Frontier 1930-31 (363236 A.C. 1, R.A.F.); 1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, with 'France and Germany' clasp; Italy Star; Defence and War Medals, the first with minor contact wear, good very fine and better (7)
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Lot Essay

Sold with the recipient's original Flying Log Book, covering the period July 1942 to July 1945, with detailed operational entries; a 1st edition copy of Cheshire's Bomber Pilot, the title page inscribed by him to the recipient, 'I'd be proud if I knew so much about so many knobs as you do, Leonard Cheshire, April 1943'; and other wartime documentation, including Pilots' and Flight Engineers' Notes for the Halifax III and VII.

D.F.C. London Gazette 13.8.1943. Recommendation states 'This Officer has completed 25 sorties and flown a total of 170 operational hours as Flight Engineer. He has made several sorties against the heaviest defended of Axis targets, including Berlin, four to the Ruhr and six to Italy. He has at all times shown a very high degree of courage and initiative, whilst his tenacity, endurance and fine offensive spirit in action have inspired all those with whom he has come in contact. He is recommended for the award of the D.F.C.'.

Flight Lieutenant William Folger Redhead, D.F.C., a veteran of the North West Frontier operations of 1930-31, qualified as a Flight Engineer on Lancasters at R.A.F. St. Athan in June 1942, and following attendance of a conversion course for Halifaxes, joined No. 76 Squadron that August, the very same month in which Leonard Cheshire assumed command. The latter quickly made his mark with the Squadron's personnel, his pre-raid briefings being renowned for their no-nonsense approach:

'His [Cheshire's] main achievement lay in setting and maintaining extremely high standards of technical competence for aircrews and ground-crews alike.

"To avoid being shot down is not enough," he would tell his crews. "You must avoid being shot down in such a way as not to prejudice your chances of finding the target."

"If there are many guns and the bursts are forming a box round you, get out of the box as quickly as you know how. If the shells form a general loose barrage not predicted against you as an individual, take no evasive action at all. You may just as easily fly into a shell as a way from it" [No Passing Glory, by Andrew Boyle, refers).

Under such strict guidelines, Redhead flew his first operational sortie on 28.8.1942, against Saarbrucken, and went on to complete a busy tour against assorted German and Italian targets between that date and August 1943. On an outing to Dusseldorf on 10.9.1942, he and his crew were 'photographed and interviewed before and after ops. by representatives of "Life"' (Flying Log Book refers), and in an outing to Flensburg nearly two weeks later, his Halifax bombed the U-Boat pens from 3000 feet, although 'engaged heavily by light guns'. But far heavier resistance was met over Berlin on 17.1.1943, when Redhead's Halifax returned to base on three engines ('Opposition at target colossal, some damage to aircraft').

At the end of April 1943, Cheshire departed to a new appointment as a Station C.O., the Squadron's diarist noting, 'What the Squadron has lost Marston Moor will gain. It was under the character and personal supervision of Group Captain Cheshire that the Squadron became what it is today - one of the best in Bomber Command'.

But for Redhead and his crew, No. 76's brief continued apace, a big shock awaiting them on a return trip to Dusseldorf on 11.6.1943, when their Halifax was coned by searchlights and holed in 33 places. And over Hamburg in the following month, Redhead noted that he had 'never seen so many searchlights'. Luckily he and his crew appear to have avoided such unwanted attention in their subsequent outing to the Rocket Experimental Station at Peenemunde on 14.8.1943, an operation that marked the end of their first tour of duty.

Clearly keen to remain on an operational footing, Redhead gained a posting to No. 462 (R.A.A.F.) Squadron at Driffield, Yorkshire in September 1944, and was quickly allocated to a series of French and German targets, the latter including 'old friends' such as Dusseldorf and Cologne. Moving to Foulsham at the end of the year, No. 462 undertook a new role with No. 100 Group, its Halifaxes being fitted out as "Window" carriers for a series of "spoof" raids, Redhead eventually notching up a second tour tally of 13 sorties with the inclusion of his last outing on 13.4.1945, against Boizenberg. His final Flying Log Book entries include non-operational visits to Denmark, France and Germany in June and July of 1945.

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