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Dambusters medals on offer for the first time at Charterhouse sale

Charterhouse will be offering the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM) awarded to Flight Lieutenant Richard Dacre Trevor-Roper in its collectors’ auction on 19-20 March.

Richard Bromell, Director at Charterhouse Auctioneers, said: ‘Trevor-Roper was Gunnery Leader in 617 Squadron, more commonly known as The Dambusters, flying as Rear Gunner in Guy Gibson’s lead Lancaster ED932 AJ-G, and was awarded the DFC for his part in the Mohne Dam attack on 16-17th May 1943.

‘During the run in, his aircraft was subjected to stiff opposition from flack defences situated along the top of the dam. By using his rear guns with great skill, even though bullets were passing through the rear structure of the aircraft just behind him, he succeeded not only in deterring the aim of the defences, but later in drawing the fire away from other aircraft making bombing runs,’ added Bromell.

Richard Trevor-Roper was killed in action a year later, aged just 28, when his Lancaster was shot down over Nuremberg. He died taking part in the 30-31 March 1944 mission, which proved to be the costliest of the war - 94 bombers were shot down and 71 out of 795 aircraft were damaged.

This is the first time the medals have been sold. For many decades, they have been kept in a box file by his family, along with two of his RAF side caps, assorted letters, photographs and a Dam Busters script with accompanying World Premiere film programme.

One of the most fascinating items in the collection is a photograph of Trevor-Roper standing next to Barnes Wallis, taken on the day of his DFC investiture. Also included in the lot are the WWI medals awarded to his father, Major Charles Cadwaladr Trevor-Roper, who served with The Hampshire Regiment. Like his son, he was killed in action.

We predict there will be a lot of interest in the collection, which is estimated to sell for £40,000 to £60,000. In January this year there was overwhelming interest in another assortment of Dambusters memorabilia. It included the bomb sight used in raids, which sold for £41,500, and some of the marbles used by D Barnes Wallis to design the bounding bomb, which achieved £27,200.

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By Claire Evans

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