By Jesse Robitaille
A group of five Second World War medals, including the prestigious Distinguished Flying Medal, will cross the block during a June auction in Kitchener, Ont.
Instituted for the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth in 1918 and discontinued in 1993, the medal recognized “an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty performed whilst flying in active operations against the enemy,” according to the Veterans Affairs Canada website. Canadian troops received 556 Distinguished Flying Medals while another 136 medals were awarded to other Commonwealth personnel serving in Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) squadrons.
Among those recipients was Flight Sgt. William Hugh Magill, of the RCAF’s 429 Squadron (also known as the Bison Squadron). Born in Toronto in July 1925, Magill worked in munitions production before enlisting in the military at age 18 in 1943. Promoted to sergeant a year later, he participated in at least 15 attacks on enemy targets, most of which were against heavily defended targets in the Ruhr, the heart of Nazi Germany’s heavy industry.
Serving as the gunner for Flight Lt. H.W. MacDonald, Magill opened fire on a single-engine German plane before “two explosions were then seen as the enemy dived away and crashed,” according to the third volume of The RCAF Overseas, published in 1949.
“Magill’s excellent directions to his captain and his accurate fire won him the (Distinguished Flying Medal).”
Following the war, Magill worked for the City of Toronto before he died in 1996.
Colonial Acres will offer Magill’s Distinguished Flying Medal plus four of his other war medals – all on an original bar with original ribbons – during a June 12 auction. Bidding opened online via iCollector on May 20 and will close at the firm’s headquarters in Kitchener on June 12.
In addition to the Distinguished Flying Medal, which features King George VI with the “IND: IMP:” (Indian Emperor) inscription used from 1938-49, the medals include: