Second World War fighter ace’s medals go under the hammer

·1-min read
Fighter pilot squadron leader Tony Bartley married film star Deborah Kerr (Dix Noonan Webb/PA)
Fighter pilot squadron leader Tony Bartley married film star Deborah Kerr (Dix Noonan Webb/PA)

A collection of medals awarded to a Battle of Britain fighter ace is expected to fetch up to £140,000 when it is sold at auction.

Squadron leader Tony “Bolshie” Bartley was one of the founder members of the famous 92 Squadron and is credited with downing at least 12 enemy planes and probably several others.

He flew Spitfires during the fall of France and the Battle of Britain, as well as in North Africa and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar.

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The group of seven medals, including service medals, will be sold at the London-based auction house Dix Noonan Webb on December 8 and is tipped to sell for between £100,000 and £140,000.

The medals, which are being sold by his family, are being offered alongside his service dress, documents and jewellery.

After the war, Bartley formed a film production company, married the film star Deborah Kerr and worked in the Hollywood film industry. He died in 2001.

Bartley’s medals will be sold on December 8 (Dix Noonan Webb/PA).
Bartley’s medals will be sold on December 8 (Dix Noonan Webb/PA).

Mark Quayle, an associate director at Dix Noonan Webb, said: “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 logbooks and autobiography – a veritable who’s who of stars of the stage, screen and sky.

“From Winston Churchill to Clark Gable, Noel 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.”

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