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Details about  WW2 RAF 617 Sq veteran Bill Reid VC signed Wellington Bomber cover - UACC Dealer

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WW2 RAF 617 Sq veteran Bill Reid VC signed Wellington Bomber cover - UACC Dealer
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12 Mar, 2015 10:26:45 GMT
£3.90 Standard Int'l Postage | See details
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Ashford (Kent), United Kingdom


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Last updated on  29 Sep, 2014 03:37:06 BST  View all revisions
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WW2 RAF 617 Sq veteran Bill Reid VC signed Wellington Bomber cover - UACC Dealer

RAF Bomber series cover Wellington, signed by Bill Reid VC awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery during a raid on Dusseldorf

William Reid VC (21 December 1921 – 28 November 2001) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He earned his Victoria Cross as a pilot in the Royal Air Force Bomber Command during the Second World War.

Born in Baillieston, Lanarkshire, he applied to join the RAF on the outbreak of war. After initial training, he was selected as a bomber pilot, and soon became a flying instructor himself. He was eventually given an operational posting, flying a number of raids before that on Düsseldorf which led to the award of the VC. On a later raid he was shot down and spent some time as a German prisoner of war. He left the RAF after the war, and worked in the agricultural industry.

On 19 November 2009 his VC was sold at auction for £384,000, a record for a VC awarded to someone from the United Kingdom.

He was awarded the VC on 14 December 1943. The citation reads:

Air Ministry, 14th December, 1943.

The KING has been graciously pleased to confer the VICTORIA CROSS on the undermentioned officer in recognition of most conspicuous bravery: — Acting Flight Lieutenant William REID (124438), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 61 Squadron.

On the night of November 3rd, 1943, Flight Lieutenant Reid was pilot and captain of a Lancaster aircraft detailed to attack Dusseldorf.

Shortly after crossing the Dutch coast, the pilot's windscreen was shattered by fire from a Messerschmitt 110. Owing to a failure in the heating circuit, the rear gunner's hands were too cold for him to open fire immediately or to operate his microphone and so give warning of danger; but after a brief delay he managed to return the Messerschmitt's fire and it was driven off.

During the fight with the Messerschmitt, Flight Lieutenant Reid was wounded in the head, shoulders and hands. The elevator trimming tabs of the aircraft were damaged and it became difficult to control. The rear turret, too, was badly damaged and the communications system and compasses were put out of action. Flight Lieutenant Reid ascertained that his crew were unscathed and, saying nothing about his own injuries, he continued his mission.

Soon afterwards, the Lancaster was attacked by a Focke Wulf 190. This time, the enemy's fire raked the bomber from stem to stern. The rear gunner replied with his only serviceable gun but the state of his turret made accurate aiming impossible. The navigator was killed and the wireless operator fatally injured. The mid-upper turret was hit and the oxygen system put out of action. Flight Lieutenant Reid was again wounded and the flight engineer, though hit in the forearm, supplied him with oxygen from a portable supply.

Flight Lieutenant Reid refused to be turned from his objective and Dusseldorf was reached some 50 minutes later. He had memorised his course to the target and had continued in such a normal manner that the bomb-aimer, who was cut off by the failure of the communications system, knew nothing of his captain's injuries or of the casualties to his comrades. Photographs show that, when the bombs were released, the aircraft was right over the centre of the target.

Steering by the pole star and the moon, Flight Lieutenant Reid then set course for home. He was growing weak from loss of blood. The emergency oxygen supply had given out. With the windscreen shattered, the cold was intense. He lapsed into semiconsciousness. The flight engineer, with some help from the bomb-aimer, kept the Lancaster in the air despite heavy anti-aircraft fire over the Dutch coast.

The North Sea crossing was accomplished. An airfield was sighted. The captain revived, resumed control and made ready to land. Ground mist partially obscured the runway lights. The captain was also much bothered by blood from his head wound getting into his eyes. But he made a safe landing although one leg of the damaged undercarriage collapsed when the load came on.

Wounded in two attacks, without oxygen, suffering severely from cold, his navigator dead, his wireless operator fatally wounded, his aircraft crippled and defenceless, Flight Lieutenant Reid showed superb courage and leadership in penetrating a further 200 miles into enemy territory to attack one of the most strongly defended targets in Germany, every additional mile increasing the hazards of the long and perilous journey home. His tenacity and devotion to duty were beyond praise

After a period in hospital, Reid went to C Flight, 617 (Dambuster) Squadron at RAF Woodhall Spa in January 1944 and flew sorties to various targets in France. He was promoted to substantive flight lieutenant on 14 June 1944.

On 31 July 1944, 617 Squadron was linked with 9 Squadron for a "Tallboy" deep penetration bomb attack on a V-weapon storage dump at Rilly-la-Montagne, near Rheims. As Reid, flying in Lancaster Mk.I ME557 KC-S, released his bomb over the target at 12,000 ft, he felt his aircraft shudder under the impact of a bomb dropped by another Lancaster 6,000 ft above. The bomb ploughed through his aeroplane's fuselage, severing all control cables and fatally weakening its structure, and Reid gave the order to bail out.

As members of his crew scrambled out, the plane went into a dive, pinning Reid to his seat. Reaching overhead, he managed to release the escape hatch panel and struggled out just as the Lancaster broke in two. He landed heavily by parachute, breaking his arm in the fall. Within an hour he was captured by a German patrol and taken prisoner. After various transfers, he ended the war in Stalag III-A prisoner of war camp at Luckenwalde, west of Berlin.

Payment We accept Paypal or UK Cheques or Postal Orders
Shipping Flat items are packaged in board backed envelopes. Larger items such as 8x12 photographs an additional plastic stiffener is also used. Items larger than 8x12 inches are usually sent in a sturdy tube. We are very happy to combine postage for multiple purchases.
Return Policy Returns are accepted providing the item arrives back with us in the same condition as it was sent. We refund the purchase price only and not any postage costs.
About Us We are UACC Registered Dealer RD209. We do a large number of 'Private Signings' with Concorde Pilots, WWII Veterans, Celebrities and so on, in order to guarantee authenticity. Contact me to go on our mailing list and you will receive advance notification of any signings and we offer discount prices for Pre-Orders!
Despatch Times We try to get to the post office 3 times a week so the chances are that your item will be sent within 24hrs of you making your purchase (Weekends not included). If you require a postage service not offered, please get in touch.
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