Sold with original Buckingham Palace forwarding letter for the D.F.C.
D.F.C. London Gazette 13.10.1944. Recommendation states 'This Officer who has now finished his second tour of operations, has completed 65 operational sorties, 31 of them with the Path Finder Force, 23 of which have been as a Marker. Throughout his operational career in this Squadron [No. 7], this Officer has been an inspiration to all, as his enthusiasm, coolness and outstanding ability have assisted in no small way to the successful completion of many operational flights in which he has participated. He has on a great number of occasions flown with less experienced crews, and his example is worthy of the very highest praise'.
D.F.M. London Gazette 14.8.1941. Recommendation states 'This airman's ability as a Wireless Operator, his cheerful disposition and keenness on operations have been an inspiration to all Wireless Operators and other Aircrews in the Squadron [No. 102]. He has taken part in 30 operational sorties, often in bad weather, and there is no doubt that his consistently good work as a Wireless Operator has meant a safe return for the aircraft and crew, when without his aid they might easily have been lost and unable to find their base. I strongly recommend that his good work should be recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal'.
Flight Lieutenant William Swain, D.F.C., D.F.M., commenced his operational career as a Wireless Operator in Whitleys of No. 102 Squadron in August 1940, completing his first sortie on the night of the 25th in a raid against the Daimler-Benz Factory at Stuttgart. From that date until late July 1941, the duration of his first tour of 30 sorties, No. 102 was mainly detailed to attack major German cities, among them Berlin (twice), Bremen (four times), Mannheim (thrice), Hamburg (twice), and Hanover (thrice). On occasion, however, some more unusual targets were allocated to the Squadron, among them the Tirpitz at Wilhelmshaven on 8.1.1941, her crew reporting that bombs straddled the mighty Battleship ('Accurate and intense light flak...'); the Scharnhorst and Gneisenau at Brest on 4.5.1941; a return strike on the same Battleships at Brest on 10.6.1941; and a final shot at the Scharnhorst at La Pallice on 23.7.1941 - the following night she was badly damaged by Halifaxes of 35 and 76 Squadrons. But of all of these early operations, Swain's most memorable was that to Bremen on 14.7.1941, when his aircraft was badly shot up by an enemy fighter, the Rear-Gunner killed and the Captain being compelled to make a risky landing at Driffield with barely any of his controls left. The latter was awarded an immediate D.S.O. and Swain the D.F.M. in August 1941.
Taken off operations for a period of 'rest' as an Instructor, Swain found himself among those called upon to bolster numbers for the 1000 Bomber Raids, sorties to Cologne on 30.5.1942 and Essen on 2.6.1942 being followed by two trips to Dusseldorf in July and September of the same year.
Volunteering for the Path Finder Force in late 1943, Swain was posted to No. 7 Squadron, part of the No. 8 Group, and flew his first sortie in a Lancaster against Leipzig on 3.12.1943, when his aircraft was holed by an enemy night fighter and the Mid-Upper Gunner wounded. Thereafter, until July 1944, he was continually engaged on equally hazardous P.F.F. duties, more often than not in the Marker's aircraft, work that led to him being commissioned in December 1943. Initially detailed to heavily defended German targets, 107 moved on to the French scene as the Normandy Landings loomed up on the horizon. Among outings in the former category were Berlin (three times) and Stuttgart (three times), in addition to Bomber Command's disastrous visit to Nuremburg on the night of 31.3.1944, the most costly of the War, when a staggering total of 95 aircraft were lost, together with several hundred Aircrew. Swain and his crew were now detailed to the offensive against occupied France, a series of Luftwaffe Airfields, E-Boat Pens or Rocket Sites making up their busy brief in the Summer 1944. On D Day itself the target was a Gun Battery located at Longues. Finally grounded towards the middle of July, the long served and gallant Swain was successfully recommended for the D.F.C.