Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, DFC, BK

Ralph Kolen
Berichten: 300
Lid geworden op: 30 Mar 2008, 22:06

Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, DFC, BK

Berichtdoor Ralph Kolen » 14 Apr 2010, 17:01

Spink Auction April 22:

A Second War 1943 Wellington and Lancaster Rear Gunner's D.F.C., and Rare Netherlands Bronze Cross For Arnhem Group of Six to Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, Royal Air Force; His First Operational Sortie Was the 1st 1,000 Bomber Raid to Cologne, 30.5.1942, Followed Two Days Later With a Trip to Essen When He Shot Down a Night Fighter; Having Flown in the Daylight Raids to Le Creusot and Milan He Undertook Special Operations with 299 Squadron to S.O.E. and S.A.S. Operatives in Northern France, August 1944; He Flew As Gunnery Leader for 299 Squadron with Wing Commander P.B.N. Davis for Operation Market, and Was Shot Down and Taken Prisoner of War Over Arnhem, 19.9.1944
a) Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., reverse officially dated '1943'
b) 1939-1945 Star
c) Air Crew Europe Star, with France and Germany Bar
d) Defence and War Medals, M.I.D. Oakleaf
e) Netherlands, Kingdom, Bronze Cross, generally good very fine, with the following related contemporary items and documents &c.:
- Caterpillar Club badge, in gold with 'ruby' eyes, reverse engraved 'F/Lt. W.R. Chalk', with Membership Card
- Identity Disc 'W.R. Chalk Offr C.E. 47910 R.A.F.'
- P.O.W. Identity Disc '5968 Stalag Luft 1'
- A piece of the fuselage of Stirling LK135 5GN, retrieved from the crash site at Arnhem
- Two Air Gunner badges, cloth
- The recipient's riband bar
- Netherlands Bronze Cross case of issue by J.R. Gaunt & Son, London
- Card box of issue for Second War campaign medals, addressed to recipient at 'Paions Cottage, Long Drove, Burbage, Wiltshire'
- Observer's and Air Gunner's Flying Log Book (22.11.1941-5.12.1947)
- M.I.D. Certificate, dated 1.1.1942
- Two Bestowal Documents for the Bronze Cross, one in Dutch, and one in English, both dated 10.6.1949, and two comprehensive files of research photographs and letters relating to the recipient in later life (6)
Estimate: £ 3,000-3,500
Medal set  of Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, DFC, BK.jpg

Ralph Kolen
Berichten: 300
Lid geworden op: 30 Mar 2008, 22:06

Re: Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, DFC, BK

Berichtdoor Ralph Kolen » 14 Apr 2010, 18:24

D.F.C. London Gazette 15.6.1943 Flying Officer William Robert Chalk (47910), No. 61 Squadron, R.A.F.

Flight Lieutenant W.R. Chalk.jpg
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The Recommendation, dated 27.4.1943, states: ‘This Officer has set the highest possible standard by his ability and efficiency throughout an operational tour of 23 sorties. His conduct throughout has been outstanding and all gunners in the Squadron have been influenced by his fine example. His operations have included two attacks on Berlin and many against other heavily defended targets in the Ruhr. He also took part in the famous daylight attacks on Le Creusot and Milan.

On his second operational sortie his accurate fire commentary enabled his pilot to manoeuvre the aircraft and thus allow this Officer to destroy an enemy night fighter. On every one of his sorties he has shown the same high degree of skill and cooperation with the rest of his crew.

He is strongly recommended for the award of the D.F.C.’ M.I.D. London Gazette 1.1.1942 520616 Corporal W.R. Chalk, R.A.F. Netherlands, Bronze Cross London Gazette 2.9.1949 Flight Lieutenant William Robert Chalk, D.F.C. (47910) Royal Air Force.

The Recommendation, dated 2.11.1945, states: ‘Whilst on this Squadron F/Lt. Chalk proved himself a brilliant leader, and welded his gunners into a highly efficient team.
He took part in a number of sorties in support of resistance movements. In September, 1944, he flew as gunner on the leading aircraft engaged in the Airborne Operations at Arnhem. His persistence and courage in the face of fierce enemy opposition set a fine example to his comrades in the Squadron. Whilst engaged in a re-supply mission to Arnhem, his aircraft was severely damaged by flak and set on fire. In spite of this, F/Lt. Chalk continued firing on the enemy ground positions until finally ordered to abandon aircraft by his captain. He landed amongst the enemy and was taken prisoner.

For his high example of courage and determination in the face of the enemy F/Lt. Chalk well merits the award of the Bronze Cross.’

Flight Lieutenant William Robert ‘Bob’ Chalk, D.F.C.
(1913-1993); born Porthcawl, Glamorgan; educated at Claysmore School, Winchester; articled to a firm of auctioneers in Bromsgrove, but left shortly after joining; having been turned down for a commission in the R.A.F. due to medical reasons Chalk emigrated aged 17 to Nova Scotia, Canada; whilst in Canada he had a farming accident during which he broke his arm and suffered lung damage forcing him to return to the UK; enlisted R.A.F. June 1935 and after training and a brief posting to 101 Squadron he was sent overseas to Air H.Q., Signals Section, Habbaniya, Iraq, 1938; he was present during the Iraqi uprising, 30.4.1941-31.5.1941; with the latter put down Chalk volunteered for Aircrew training as an Air Gunner; posted to No. 24 Combined Air Observer/Air Gunner School, Moffat, August 1941; Commissioned Pilot Officer, December 1941 and returned to the UK; after several more training courses he was posted to ‘D’ Flight 25 O.T.U., Bircotes, May 1942, and it was from here that he took part in his first operational sorties, the 1st of which being as a Rear Gunner in a Wellington engaged in the 1st 1,000 bomber raid to Cologne, 30.5.1942; the second sortie was in the same capacity to Essen, 1.6.1942, ‘Operations - To Essen Shot Down German Night Fighter - Confirmed’ (Log Book refers); Chalk offers more detail, ‘I sighted the enemy aircraft at a distance, closing in on a straight course towards my aircraft and waiting for him to get close enough for me to fire and not wanting him to deviate from our course. I finally fired and he went down in flames’ (personal account included in lot refers); after an aborted trip to Bremen he was posted to 61 Squadron (Lancasters), Syerston, July 1942; he flew two operational sorties as Mid Upper Gunner (Wilhelmshaven and Kassel) before flying the rest of his tour as a Rear Gunner, these included: Nurnburg; Gardening- Denmark (2); Karlsruhe; 17.10.1942, Le Creusot (Daylight); Genoa (2); 24.10.1942, Milan (Daylight); Turin (2); Mannheim; Munich; Essen; Berlin (2); Dusseldorf; Hamburg (2); Bremen; posted as Rear Gunner/Instructor, 81 O.T.U., Whitchurch Heath, March 1943; posted as Gunnery Leader 299 Squadron (Stirlings), Keevil, August 1944; he flew in operational sorties with the Squadron as Rear Gunner in the Officer Commanding’s (Wing Commander P.B.N. Davis, D.S.O.) Stirling; throughout August he flew on Special Operations to SOE and SAS groups based in France, including 6.8.1944, ‘Special Operation. 24 Containers, 5 Bicycles. D.C.O. A/C Hit by Light Flak Nr. Le Mont Michel’; 11.9.1944, ‘SAS Operations Holland’; 12.9.1944, ‘SAS Operations Nr. Bordeaux.’

Arnhem drop.jpg
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Operation Market Garden
On the 17th September Chalk’s squadron took part in Operation Market, the airborne element of Operation MarketGarden; on the first day of the operation Chalk’s Stirling towed a glider carrying airborne troops and motor transport which was successfully released over Landing Zone ‘Z’; the following day saw another successful release of a similarly laden glider over the same landing zone; 19.9.1944 Stirling LK135 5GN returned on a resupply mission carrying containers of petrol in the bomb-bay, ‘the Stirlings sufferedthe same punishment when it was their turn to drop, and sixwere shot down or were so badly damaged that they crashed soon afterwards. One was the aircraft of Wing Commander Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals and Militaria Arnhem drop Peter Davis, the Commanding Officer of 299 Squadron. He died at the controls of his Stirling when the containers of petrol in the bomb-bay caught fire after the aircraft was hit.’ (Arnhem - 1944: The Airborne Battle refers); Davis’ co-pilot for the mission takes up the account, “The approach to the dropping area” says Squadron Leader R.W. Lovegrove, flying in the aircraft piloted by Wing Commander Peter Davis, in command of the Operations, “was rather a disconcerting spectacle. Flak was simply being pumped up; heavy flak, light flak, machine-gun fire and rifle fire.” Having watched a Stirling go down in flames, they reached the dropping zone where they were at once hit in the bomb-bay by a shell. “As we were carrying petrol, the aircraft was immediately aflame.Glancing down from the co-pilot’s seat I saw my navigation table on fire and I remember with a curious detachment noticing that the Verey Cartridges were giving a firework display of their own. The flames were roaring up through the aperture through which the rear gunner [Chalk] had to jump”; the aircraft crashed in the Oosterbeek area of Arnhem, three members of the crew (including Chalk) managed to bale out; the others were all killed. ‘I landed near some bungalows in a wood, these appeared to be empty. I had damaged my leg on landing and hobbled off in a direction away from the firing, and found myself on a large raised mound of earth, I was taken prisoner by some elderly German soldiers, and marched off to a large red brick barracks, was there for the night and ended up at St.Elizabeth’s [Hospital]’ (letter from recipient included in the lot refers); after a brief period of recuperation Chalk was transported to and interned at Stalag Luft 1, Barth, POW Camp, where he saw out the remainder of the war; he was discharged from the R.A.F. 18.10.1945; in civilian life Chalk was employed by Flight Refuelling Limited (Chairman Sir Alan Cobham, K.B.E., A.F.C.), who as a company were continuing work started before the war on refuelling aircraft in flight; Chalk was later attached to British South American Airways on a series of tests called ‘The Bermuda Trials’ in which ex R.A.F. Lancasters were converted as ‘Tanker’ and ‘Receiver’ aircraft; in his capacity of Observer and Operator he recorded his flights with the company in his Log Book, 24.9.1945 - 5.12.1947; he returned to farming eventually retiring in 1985. In later life he corresponded with a Dutch national, who as a boy had witnessed the crash landing of his Stirling, he arranged for a return to Arnhem where he was a guest of the Royal Netherlands Air Force. During his stay he was presented with a piece of his plane retrieved from the crash site which is included with the lot.

Approximately 8 Dutch Bronze Crosses were awarded to R.A.F. and R.A.F.V.R. personnel in recognition of gallant actions undertaken during the Second War, 7 of that number were awarded for Arnhem, and 3 of them were awarded to Chalk’s crew.

(Bron: Spink Catalogue, April 2010)

Ralph Kolen
Berichten: 300
Lid geworden op: 30 Mar 2008, 22:06

Re: Gunnery Leader Flight Lieutenant W.R. 'Bob' Chalk, DFC, BK

Berichtdoor Ralph Kolen » 23 Apr 2010, 01:25

De set is uiteindelijk verkocht voor £5.000,-, exclusief de veilingkosten. Dit komt neer op een totaalbedrag van, inclusief de veilingkosten, £5.850,- --> €6.749,35.

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