Gallantry medals of Battle of Normandy master bomber emerge for sale for ...

Gallantry medals of Battle of Normandy master bomber emerge for sale for ...
Gallantry medals of Battle of Normandy master bomber emerge for sale for ...

The gallantry medals of a Battle of Normandy master bomber who survived 100 raids and downed a pint of beer every time he returned to base have emerged for sale for £32,000.

Wing Commander Sidney 'Tubby' Baker - who was known for his love of food, drink and cigarettes - repeatedly risked his life in attacks on heavily defended German and Italian targets.

He also took part in operations during the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944.

Immediately after returning to his airbase following his sorties, the portly Pathfinder pilot was handed a well-earned pint of beer- which he enjoyed while his RAF colleagues cheered.

Remarkably, the pilot survived every anti-aircraft raid his Wellington bomber came under, despite casualty rates of Bomber Command crews during the war standing at 44 per cent. 

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Wing Commander Sidney 'Tubby' Baker (pictured) - who was known for his love of food, drink and cigarettes - repeatedly risked his life in attacks on heavily defended German and Italian targets

Pictured: Wing Commander Sidney 'Tubby' Baker drinking a pint of beer

Wing Commander Sidney 'Tubby' Baker (pictured) - who was known for his love of food, drink and cigarettes - repeatedly risked his life in attacks on heavily defended German and Italian targets

Tubby is seen being awarded a medal by King George. His daughter the then-Princess Elizabeth is seen on the far left, next to her mother

Tubby is seen being awarded a medal by King George. His daughter the then-Princess Elizabeth is seen on the far left, next to her mother

Tubby  also took part in operations during the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Pictured: A still from one of his raids

Tubby  also took part in operations during the Battle of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. Pictured: A still from one of his raids

He was awarded four gallantry awards - the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Bar, and the Distinguished Service Order with Bar - making him one of World War Two's most-decorated airmen. Pictured: His medal set

He was awarded four gallantry awards - the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Bar, and the Distinguished Service Order with Bar - making him one of World War Two's most-decorated airmen. Pictured: His medal set 

Tubby, centre right, is seen with fellow airmen. Immediately after returning to his airbase following his sorties, the portly Pathfinder pilot was handed a well-earned pint of beer- which he enjoyed while his RAF colleagues cheered.

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Tubby, centre right, is seen with fellow airmen. Immediately after returning to his airbase following his sorties, the portly Pathfinder pilot was handed a well-earned pint of beer- which he enjoyed while his RAF colleagues cheered.

Immediately after returning to his airbase following his sorties, the portly Pathfinder pilot was handed a well-earned pint of beer- which he enjoyed while his RAF colleagues cheered. His well-used tankards (one pictured) are up for auction

One of Tubby's tankards

Immediately after returning to his airbase following his sorties, the portly Pathfinder pilot was handed a well-earned pint of beer- which he enjoyed while his RAF colleagues cheered. His well-used tankards (pictured) are up for auction

Also going under the hammer are Tubby's RAF logbooks, well-used beer tankards and cigarette case (pictured), as well as other mementos from his wartime service

Also going under the hammer are Tubby's RAF logbooks, well-used beer tankards and cigarette case (pictured), as well as other mementos from his wartime service

During one trip to Berlin Tubby's aircraft was hit several times, destroying one engine and damaging another - and causing the aircraft's undercarriage collapsed upon landing. But even so, Tubby limped home to base. Pictured: A still from one of Tubby's raids over Cologne

During one trip to Berlin Tubby's aircraft was hit several times, destroying one engine and damaging another - and causing the aircraft's undercarriage collapsed upon landing. But even so, Tubby limped home to base. Pictured: A still from one of Tubby's raids over Cologne

Tubby was a 'master bomber' for 20 of the 100 raids, requiring him to fly at very low levels to access the damage inflicted on the enemy. Pictured: A picture taken during one of his raids over Cologne

Tubby was a 'master bomber' for 20 of the 100 raids, requiring him to fly at very low levels to access the damage inflicted on the enemy. Pictured: A picture taken during one of his raids over Cologne

Tubby's 'Lancaster bombsight' which helped him navigate to the target while carrying out his 100 raids during the war

Tubby's 'Lancaster bombsight' which helped him navigate to the target while carrying out his 100 raids during the war

Tubby's personalised cigarette case is part of the sale. The inscription says it was 'presented to Wing Commander 'Tubby' Baker' as a 'token of gratitude and appreciation'

Tubby's personalised cigarette case is part of the sale. The inscription says it was 'presented to Wing Commander 'Tubby' Baker' as a 'token of gratitude and appreciation'

THE BLOODY BATTLE OF THE BULGE

In the final months of 1944 and keen to take control of the crucial port of Antwerp, Hitler launched one of the Nazis' bloodiest offensives on the West.

Taking U.S. forces by surprise, tens of thousands of German troops descended on Ardennes - a heavily forested region stretching through Luxembourg and Belgium.

Thick winter fog plagued the Allied forces' efforts to destroy German strongholds, and with Nazi troops donning U.S. Army uniforms to sabotage communications between divisions by snapping phone lines, victory was unlikely.

However, after depleting the German's armored tanks and resources, Western Allied forces triumphed.

Total Allied casualties are estimated at 110,000 - making it the bloodiest battle for American troops in all of the Second World War. 

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He was awarded four gallantry awards - the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with Bar, and the Distinguished Service Order with Bar - making him one of World War Two's most-decorated airmen.

His citations tell of his 'outstanding ability, cool courage and firm determination' which always 'inspired' his crew.

His medals are being sold by a private collector who acquired them from the family with auctioneers Spink & Son, of London. They say it is a 'once in a lifetime' opportunity to acquire the decorations of a 'national hero'. 

A picture captured the moment Tubby was awarded his DSO by King George.

The then Princess Elizabeth is seen watching on, alongside her mother Queen Elizabeth.

Also going under the hammer are Tubby's RAF logbooks, well-used beer tankards and cigarette case, as well as other mementos from his wartime service.

During one trip to Berlin Tubby's aircraft was hit several times, destroying one engine and damaging another - and causing the aircraft's undercarriage collapsed upon landing. But even so, Tubby limped home to base. 

He was also lucky to survive a crash into a hill in the Pennines during a training run.

He was a 'master bomber' for 20 of the 100 raids, requiring him to fly at very low levels to access the damage inflicted on the enemy.   

Marcus Budgen, head of the medals department at Spink & Son, said: 'The record of Wing Commander 'Tubby' Baker ranks amongst the finest in the history of the Royal Air Force.

'His four gallantry awards won during the Second World War reflects his unique record of service which included the legendary score of 100 operations flown in heavy bombers over the most heavily defended targets over Europe.

'This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to secure the medals and vast archive of this national hero.'

Tubby's citations tell of his 'outstanding ability, cool courage and firm determination' which always 'inspired' his crew. Pictured: Tubby's first aid kit is part of the sale

Tubby's citations tell of his 'outstanding ability, cool courage and firm determination' which always 'inspired' his crew. Pictured: Tubby's first aid kit is part of the sale

Tubby was born in Clapton-in-Gordano, Somerset, in 1918 and was a prize winning miler before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1940. Pictured: A picture taken during one of his raids over Cologne

Tubby was born in Clapton-in-Gordano, Somerset, in 1918 and was a prize winning miler before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1940. Pictured: A picture taken during one of his raids over Cologne

Tubby (left, with a friend) earned his Wings in 1940 and joined No 214 Squadron, a Wellington unit which attacked targets in occupied France and Germany

Tubby (left, with a friend) earned his Wings in 1940 and joined No 214 Squadron, a Wellington unit which attacked targets in occupied France and Germany

In May 1944, he began his third tour back with No 7 Squadron, flying 22 operations in support of the Normandy landings before his tour finished with a raid on Bremen that August. Pictured: A still taken during on of Tubby's raids over Belgium and Holland

In May 1944, he began his third tour back with No 7 Squadron, flying 22 operations in support of the Normandy landings before his tour finished with a raid on Bremen that August. Pictured: A still taken during on of Tubby's raids over Belgium and Holland

Tubby was born in Clapton-in-Gordano, Somerset, in 1918 and was a prize winning miler before joining the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1940.

He earned his Wings later that year and joined No 214 Squadron, a Wellington unit which attacked targets in occupied France and Germany.

He received his first DFC in June 1943 and took part in raids on Hamburg in the following months.

Tubby completed his second tour and reached 60 operations in October 1943, earning his first Distinguished Service Order.

In May 1944, he began his third tour back with No 7 Squadron, flying 22 operations in support of the Normandy landings before his tour finished with a raid on Bremen that August.

He was awarded a bar to his DFC and the following month was appointed commander of No 634 Squadron, based at Downham Market, Norfolk.

Tubby flew on important targets in North West Europe, leading a force of 300 Lancasters as master bomber on St Vith during the Battle of the Bulge on Boxing Day 1944.

Also going under the hammer are his wartime logbooks (one pictured). Tubby flew on important targets in North West Europe, leading a force of 300 Lancasters as master bomber on St Vith during the Battle of the Bulge on Boxing Day 1944

Also going under the hammer are his wartime logbooks (one pictured). Tubby flew on important targets in North West Europe, leading a force of 300 Lancasters as master bomber on St Vith during the Battle of the Bulge on Boxing Day 1944

His 100th, and final, raid was on March 13, 1945, a daylight mission to Wuppertal, which he made several runs over. Pictured: One of his logbooks

His

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