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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 226

A fine Second World War pilot's Czech M.C. group of seven awarded to Flight Lieutenant R. E. Dodds, Royal Air Force, late Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

A veteran of no less than 140 operational sorties in Spitfires of No. 616 (South Yorkshire) and No. 313 (Czech) Squadrons, including beachhead patrols over Normandy in June 1944 and a spate of 'Ramrods', he went on to fly Pembroke aircraft on 'airborne loudspeaker' psychological warfare missions over the Malayan jungle

1939-45 Star; Air Crew Europe Star, clasp, France and Germany; Defence and War Medals 1939-45; General Service 1918-62, 1 clasp, Malaya (Flt. Lt. R. E. Dodds. R.A.F.); Czechoslovakia, War Cross 1939-45; Czechoslovakia, Pilot's Badge, by Spink & Son, 65mm, silver-gilt and silver, reverse with maker's name and stamped 'SILVER', very fine (7)

Czech Military Cross London Gazette 26 March 1946.

Robert Edward Dodds was born at West Stanley, Durham on 18 October 1922 and enlisted in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in March 1941. He subsequently underwent pilot training in Canada and returned to the U.K. as a Sergeant Pilot in May 1942.

Cross-Channel sweeps, D-Day and beyond

Following further training, he was posted to No. 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, a Spitfire unit of the famous Ibsley Wing, in February 1943, and he remained likewise employed until joining No. 313 (Czech) Squadron that August. In the interim, he flew over 40 operational sorties, ranging from squadron 'scrambles' to convoy patrols, and cross-Channel 'Rodeo' and 'Circus' operations to escorting bomber formations.

His subsequent appointment in No. 313 (Czech) Squadron was of a protracted nature, lasting as it did, without respite, from August 1943 until February 1945, in which period he was commissioned. Small wonder he was awarded the Czech Military Cross for his troubles, a distinction he received from the hands of Group Captain Duda at North Weald in December 1944. For apart from anything else, he risked life and limb in no less than 97 operational sorties in the same period.

Those sorties included extensive bomber escort duties to Halifaxes and Lancasters, in addition to large forces of Bostons, B-25 Mitchells and B-26 Marauders, mainly against targets in France, sometimes Germany, and often in the face of heavy opposition. Scrambles and convoy patrols accounted for further sorties, as did fighter sweeps and 'umbrella' outings to such places as the Pas de Calais, in addition to dive-bombing enemy communications and Ramrod sorties.

Dodds's Spitfire was damaged by flak in one such operation over Cherbourg on 21 May 1944, and he had a 'squirt' at a FW. 190 over the Normandy beachhead on 8 June 1944, one of a dozen such patrols flown by him in the same month. He also had a crash landing on returning from a Ramrod operation on 24 December 1944, when his engine cut out.

Finally 'rested' in early 1945, he was released in the summer of 1946, following a posting to India.


Dodds rejoined the Royal Air Force in June 1949 and having converted to jets, joined No. 32 Squadron as a Flight Lieutenant in Nicosia, flying Vampires.

A spell as an instructor followed but, in May 1957, he joined No. 267 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaya. Thus ensued a tour of operations in Pioneer and Pembroke aircraft, in which he flew 'airborne loudspeaker' sorties over the jungle. Having then been based at R.A.F. Seletar, he returned home to an appointment at R.A.F. Benson in October 1959. He retired in December 1961 and died in November 1992.

Sold with original certificate of award for the Czech M.C., together with a file of comprehensive research, including copied Czech pilot's badge certificate and extensive Operational Record Book entries.

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