Two extremely important groups of seven awarded to two Battle of Britain Fighter Aces and good friends Squadron Leader A. C. ‘Bolshie’ Bartley and Squadron Leader T. S. ‘Wimpy’ Wade – both of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve fetched a combined hammer price total of £300,000 at Dix Noonan Webb in their auction of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria on Wednesday, December 8, 2021. Bartley’s medals fetched £220,000 and were bought by a Private Collector while Wade’s medals realised £80,000 and were also bought by a Private Collector.

Squadron Leader
Anthony Charles Bartley (1919 – 2001) was one of the founder members of the famous 92 Squadron, and is credited with at least 12 Victories, 8 damaged, a number of probables and possibles, and countless unclaimed. He went on to marry film star Deborah Kerr.

Described as one of ‘The Few’, Trevor Sydney Wade (1920-1951) was educated at Tonbridge School. He joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1938, and carried out pilot training at No. 19 E. & R.F.T.S., Gatwick. Wade was called up at the outbreak of the Second World War, and commissioned in April 1940. He was posted for operational flying
with 92 Squadron (Spitfires), and joined the Squadron during its recuperation after a mauling in the Battle of France and covering the evacuation from Dunkirk.

Poignantly, despite all his experience, and the promise of a comfortable retirement when the time came, Wade’s time came all too soon. He travelled to the USA on an exchange scheme, taking the opportunity to visit his old squadron friend Tony Bartley whilst out there. Having flown various American service aircraft, Wade returned to Hawker and was killed while testing a P1081, on April 3, 1951. He crashed near Ringmer, and his funeral took place at St. John’s Crematorium, Woking.  

An unpublished letter from Tony Bartley (included with the lot), written a number of years after Wade’s death, gives the following: ‘Just before Wimpy was killed he came out to Hollywood where he stayed in my home, and one evening, confessed to me that he had lost his nerve test flying. I told him to, for God sakes, quit while he was ahead. Could happen to any of us, but he obviously disregarded my advice and warning. He was one of the most skillful pilots I knew and flew with. Maybe it was his natural conceit forbade him to do this, but in any event, he was a very nice fellow I was very fond of, and a very sad and unnecessary loss in my book.’

Following the sale, Mark Quayle, Specialist (Associate Director) Dix Noonan Webb commented: “Bartley’s was a life of extraordinary adventure, during which he was involved in a number of iconic incidents, all of which are reflected in his Log Books and autobiography - a veritable who’s who of stars of the stage, screen and sky. From Winston Churchill to Clark Gable, Noël Coward to Laurence Olivier, and Bob Stanford Tuck to ‘Sailor’ Malan - all ultimately leading to his marriage to the film star Deborah Kerr, of 
The King and I fame.”

“Wade was a pilot’s pilot, and a member of what is recognised as one of the elite squadrons of the Battle of Britain. A Spitfire ‘Ace' who survived multiple dices with death during the war, but tragically succumbed to a peace time test flight.”

He finished by saying: “The prices achieved for both, whilst extremely strong, are only a fraction of what the nation owes to both individuals."  

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Dix Noonan Webb – a brief history 
In 1991, its first year of trading, the company held three medal auctions and sold 1,200 lots for a total hammer price of £553,000, however 30 years later, DNW is established as the premier medal auctioneer worldwide. Two years later, in 1993, it opened a coin department which also auctions commemorative medals and tokens. In 2015 DNW added jewellery to its sales calendar as well as setting up a stand alone banknotes department and expanding into premises next door. In 2020 DNW achieved a total hammer price of £14,256,060 and the total number of lots sold across all departments was 24,400. To date the company has sold in excess of 350,000 lots totalling over £200 million.

For further press information and images please contact: 
Rachel Aked - Tel: 07790732448 Email:                                                                                                                                    
December 2021