Just 10 Conspicuous Gallantry Medals (Air) were awarded to Royal Australian Air Force personnel in the Second World War.
Sold with the recipient's original Certificate of Discharge (dated 30.10.1945) and two R.A.A.F. Members' Pay Books; together with a photocopy of his Flying Log Book.
C.G.M. London Gazette 23.7.1943. Recommendation states 'Sergeant Downton was the Wireless Operator Air Gunner of an aircraft which, during a flight near Cape Bon, was engaged by 10 enemy fighters. In the ensuing combat, Sergeant Downton was wounded three times, while his gun became unserviceable. Despite this, he coolly directed his Pilot in taking necessary evading acton until the aircraft could no longer be flown, and was landed on fire in enemy territory. With complete disregard for his own safety, Sergeant Downton, who escaped serious injury in the crash, entered the blazing wreckage and assisted in extricating a member of the crew who was badly burned. He then tried valiantly to re-enter the rear of the aircraft to rescue a trapped comrade, but was finally beaten back by the intense heat of the conflagration. His courageous efforts in spite of his wounds were worthy of the highest praise'.
Warrant Officer George Alban Downton, C.G.M., an Adelaide man, was born in June 1918 and joined the Royal Australian Air Force as an Airman in January 1941. Qualifying as a Wireless Operator Air Gunner and advanced to Sergeant in April 1942, he commenced his operational career with No. 1437 Strategical Reconnaissance Flight in the Middle East in July 1942. Operating in Baltimore aircraft, the unit flew numerous road and railway reconnaissance sorties over such locations as Bardia, Barrani, Bengazi, Castel Verde, Gambut, Heliopolis, Sollum, Tobruk and Tripoli, Downton completing 29 such trips prior to his C.G.M. winning exploits on 21.4.1943. On that date his Baltimore aircraft was detailed to fly a reconnaissance over the Cape Bon area, taking off from El Djem airfield in the late afternoon. Subsequently engaged by at least 10 109s over a 20 minute period, damage and casualties quickly mounted. In the event, following a crash-landing on the Bon Peninsula, just Downton and a South African Army Officer, who was travelling as a passenger, managed to escape the burning wreckage. Taken P.O.W. by the Italians following his gallant life-saving exploits, Downton was latterly interned in Germany. He was finally released in May 1945 and discharged as a Warrant Officer on his return home in October of the same year.