WWII Spitfire Ace's medals to auction at Sworders

Lord Nelson

Lord Nelson

2016-10-12 10:14:10

Medals awarded to one of WWII's most celebrated Spitfire Ace pilots will be offered at auction later this year.

Group Captain Jamie Rankin was born in Portobello, Edinburgh in 1913, and joined the RAF in April 1935.

He flew with several squadrons, including 822 and 825 Squadron on HMS Furious and HMS Glorious, before becoming a Squadron Leader in January 1941. He then took command of the East India Squadron, engaging in air battles over the Channel, and later led No.125 Wing during the Normandy invasion.

Rankin earned a reputation as a deadly shot, and during one period he shot down six planes in 12 days, including two within the space of a minute.

He ended the war with a score of 17 aircraft destroyed solo and five shared, three probably destroyed solo and two shared, and 16 damaged solo with three shared.

(Images: Sworder

(Images: Sworder's)

"The mantle of Wing Commander Douglas Bader, ace of aces, is now worn by a Scot," wrote the Edinburgh People’s Journal in December 1941. "In fact, if a Hun fighter plane ever gets within his sights, he almost always makes a rude acquaintance with mother earth."

Following the war Rankin became the Air Attaché in Dublin in 1948, and went on to serve as the OC of RAF Duxford in 1954, before retiring from the Air Force in 1958.
The medal group includes the Distinguished Service Order and bar, the Distinguished Flying Cross and bar and the Belgium Croix de Guerre, and is expected to sell for £40,000 - £60,000.

"Exceptional and outstanding are two overused words, but not here," said Sworders’ Director John Black. "Rankin was not just an Ace in the true sense of the word, but an inspirational leader who gave his all when it meant the most.

"This group of medals and accompanying documents are an important piece of history, not just because they record the contribution of such a highly significant figure, but because they also shed light on the conditions under which Rankin and his men had to operate, helping to bring their experiences to life for subsequent generations."

The outstanding medal group will cross the auction block at Sworders as part of The Winter Country House Sale on December 6.

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