Published 20th November 2020
By Brian Goodison-Blanks View profile
As 2020 is the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, it is fitting that Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's next Sporting and Collectors Auction of 15th December 2020 has a number of pieces that relate to this historic period.
Rosemary Rees MBE (1906-1995) took her first flying lesson in 1933 and obtained her instructor's licence in 1938. In 1940, she was one of eight women pilots to join the ATA (Air Transport Authority). A truly remarkable woman, Rosemary began to fly a wide range of aircraft including Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mosquitos as well as larger four engine aircraft. In 1941, she became deputy to Margot Gore at the all-female ferry pool at Hamble-on-Solent, eventually flying 91 different types of aircraft. In 1946, she began her own charter company called 'Sky Taxi'. Her log books, flying helmet and gloves (SC32/131) are included in the auction and should easily reach the upper range of the £400-£600 estimate.
Major Hickman Holmes qualified as an instructor on Anti-Aircraft Defence in 1942 and was appointed as adviser to Air Officer Commanding 9 Group RAF. In October of the same year, he was promoted to GSO II and became significant in the planning and operation of exercises and combined training between Fighter, Bomber and AA commands. He also operated on High Altitude Surveillance. Included in the auction are his flying helmet, goggles, face mask and Mae West life preserver (SC32/132), which again should attract collectors with their originality.
Collectors of RAF and World War II piece will also be keen to obtain an original Spitfire clock (SC32/115) or even the oak cased RAF ward room clock (SC32/127) that pilots would have sat beside waiting for the bell to ring, calling them to 'action stations'.
A reminder of the bravery of those who flew is the George VI Distinguished Flying Cross, dated 1941 (SC32/188). Another important piece that will be eagerly sought after by collectors.
Along with the militaria and swords included in the auction, there is an interesting collection of late 19th and early 20th century photographs. Collected over the past 20 years, there are some fascinating images as well as some of local interest like the sight of the crowd in Barnstaple at the Proclamation of King Edward VII (SC32/506) and an image of General Buller at the Rougemont Hotel, Exeter in 1900 (SC32/507).
If fashion is your passion then the collection of vintage textiles will certainly be the thing for you. From the Edwardian dress (SC32/684) to the funky 1970s evening dresses, there is sure to be something to brighten any collection.
The sale also includes a range of specialist sections from coins, stamps, postcards, scientific instruments and many more.