A memorial plaque for one of this country’s greatest First World War fighter pilots has sold for more than £26,000 at auction.
The bronze plaque sent to the family of Mick Mannock, who lived in Wellingborough, was auctioned by Dix Noonan Webb in its sale of Orders, Decorations and Medals in London today.
The plaque, which was put up for sale by his great-niece, was expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 at auction.
But with the bidding starting at £10,000, the price rose and the plaque eventually sold for £26,400 to an internet bidder.
Major Edward ‘Mick’ Mannock was not only Britain’s most successful fighter pilot, with 61 victories over German aircraft officially confirmed, but also its most highly decorated.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously having already received the Distinguished Service Order with two bars and the Military Cross with one bar.
The families of all British and imperial servicemen and servicewomen who were killed in action, died of wounds or died from other causes during the First World War received a plaque from the Government after the conflict was over.
A spokesman for Dix Noonan Webb said: “As we commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the conflict, this plaque is a poignant reminder of the sacrifice made by Britain’s most brilliant fighter pilot of the First World War. Mannock’s time in Wellingborough was a crucial period in his life, turning a boy into a man, who then became a hero.”
After joining the British Army, Mannock then transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in 1916 and in April the following year arrived in France where he got a reputation as a brilliant and ruthless fighter pilot.
As his victories over the Germans mounted, he was awarded the MC twice and the DSO three times.
On July 26, 1918, Mannock shot down another German aircraft but then made several low passes over the burning wreckage. He flew into a storm of German ground fire and crashed. Although buried by a German soldier, his grave was not found after the war.
The citation for his VC, awarded posthumously in 1919, read: “This highly distinguished officer, during the whole of his career in the Royal Air Force, was an outstanding example of fearless courage, remarkable skill, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice, which has never been surpassed.”