A fine and well documented Second World War Bomber Command Lancaster Mid-Upper Gunner’s 1944 Distinguished Flying Medal group awarded to Warrant Officer A.C. Seaman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who flew on 27 operational sorties with 166 Squadron out of RAF Kirmington. In the period leading up to the Normandy landings, he bombed targets in Germany and France, and on 29th May 1944 during a local flight, had a close call with a lone wolf FW190, which he and the rear gunner managed to damage, prior to their Lancaster corkscrewing out of
A fine and well documented Second World War Bomber Command Lancaster Mid-Upper Gunner’s 1944 Distinguished Flying Medal group awarded to Warrant Officer A.C. Seaman, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, who flew on 27 operational sorties with 166 Squadron out of RAF Kirmington. In the period leading up to the Normandy landings, he bombed targets in Germany and France, and on 29th May 1944 during a local flight, had a close call with a lone wolf FW190, which he and the rear gunner managed to damage, prior to their Lancaster corkscrewing out of danger.
Group of 5: Distinguished Flying Medal, GVI 1st type bust; (1330247 SGT. A.C. SEAMAN. R.A.F.); 1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany Clasp; Defence Medal; War Medal. Together with the Air Council Campaign Medal Award Slip; and Air Ministry box of issue, this addressed to: ‘A.C. Seaman Esq., 53 Regent Street, Stowmarket, Suffolk’.
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Together with the quantity of original related documentation and ephemera:
Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood Letter notifying recipient of the date of the investiture of his Distinguished Flying Medal, to be held on 6th November 1945, dated 24th October 1945.
Letter of congratulations on the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal, from Air Vice Marshal E.A.B. Rice, C.B., C.B.E., M.C., RAF Bawtry, Doncaster, Yorkshire, date 19th October 1944. Rice was the commanding officer of No.1 Group. Sent to the recipient when he was serving with No.1481 B (G) Flight at RAF Ingham.
Royal Air Force Service and Release Book, issued to Seaman, dated 12th November 1945.
Group photograph of aircrew serving with No.11 Operational Training Unit at Westcott, Buckinghamshire, and taken of 78 Course, dated 14th October 1943.
Another group photograph of 78 Course at No.11 Operational Training Unit at Westcott, Buckinghamshire, circa November 1943.
Photograph of the recipient in uniform wearing Air Gunners brevet, this taken in 1944 by a photographers in Gainsborough, reverse annotated: ‘Cecil taken 1944 not quite so much hair now’.
Photograph of recipient sitting on top of the aircraft against is mid-upper gun turret, the aircraft serial number LA2A clearly visible. The reverse annotated: ‘Happy Memories of a Good Tour and a Good Mid-Upper’ signed Tony the Wop (Wireless Operator).
Photograph of recipient and his entire crew, recipient identified,
A reproduced photograph of recipient and some of his crew sprawled over a bomb trolley, recipient identified.
A printed propaganda leaflet titled ‘Luftpost 10.Marz 1944’, as dropped on Berlin on 24th March 1944.
Alfred Cecil Seaman was born on 28th September 1909, and enlisted into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve on 3rd March 1941, and then went forward for flying training as an Air Gunner with No.1 Air Gunnery School. As a Sergeant (No.1330247) he was posted to No.11 Operational Training Unit at Westcott in Buckinghamshire, where he formed part of No.78 Course in November 1943, and then joined the Flight Sergeant J. Bowles, Royal New Zealand Air Force.
After a further period with No.1651 Conversion Unit, Seaman with then posted with his crew to join 166 Squadron, a Lancaster unit flying as part of No.1 Group out of RAF Kirmington. 166 Squadron had converted to Lancaster bombers from Wellington bombers back in September 1943, and from February 1944, Seaman went on to complete a tour of operations with this squadron as a Mid-Upper Gunner.
On 26th February 1944 he took part in a mission to bomb Augsburg. Then on 1st March he bombed Stuttgart, on 16th March he flew a sortie to Stuttgart again, and on 18th March flew to Frankfurt, followed by another mission to Frankfurt on 22nd March. On 26th March he flew in a mission to Essen, and on 10th April took part in a minelaying sortie. On 12th April he flew a sortie to Aachen, and on 18th April flew a sortie to Essen. On 20th April he flew a sortie to Cologne, and on 22nd April flew a sortie to Dusseldorf. On 23rd April it was another minelaying sortie, and on 24th April he flew on to Karlsruhe. Then on 26th April he flew a sortie to Essen, and on 30th April flew a sortie to Maintenon. On 1st May he flew a sortie to Lyons, and on 3rd May flew a sortie to Mailly. On 6th May he flew a sortie to Aubigne, and on 19th May flew a sortie to Cologne. Then on 21st May he flew a sortie to Duisburg, and on 24th May flew a sortie to Aachen, followed by another to Aachen on 27th May. During this last sortie his aircrafts port inner engine had failed, and after jettisoning their 4000lb bomb to regain height, the aircraft had then continued on to the target to drop their remaining load.
It was during a local flight on 29th May that he and his crew had a close call and their way home, when they were attacked by an FW190, and whilst the rear gunner managed to fire the most, Seaman still fired a short 40 rounds at 300 yards range. Between the two air gunners, the FW190 was claimed as damaged, as strikes had been observed, but to avoid the enemy fighter, their own aircraft performed a corkscrew and contact was lost.
On 2nd June he flew a sortie to Calais, and on 5th June, the night before the D-Day landings, he flew a sortie to Cherbourg. On 7th June he flew a sortie to Paris, and on 10th June flew a sortie to Acheres. On 12th June he flew a sortie to Gelsenkirchen, and on 14th June flew a sortie to Le Havre. Seaman’s final sortie of his tour was to Aulnoye on 17th June 1944. Seaman’s total was 27 and 2/3 sorties, with 158 operational flying hours amassed.
The recommendation for his award of the Distinguished Flying Medal made on 4th July 1944 reads as follows: ‘This Non-Commissioned Officer has complete 27 and 2/3 sorties over enemy territory including most of the heavily defended targets in Germany. During these sorties he has set an example of cheerful courage and unselfishness. He has maintained with his fellow gunner a high standard of co-operation ands fearlessness in the face of the enemy. During many long flights he has kept a vigilant watch and by his patience and endeavour has enabled his crew to press on to the targets, secure in the knowledge that they could devote their full attention to the attack. For his coolness in the face of danger, his skill and courage, he is recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Medal.’
Seaman was awarded a non-immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Medal in the London Gazette for 17th October 1944. He was serving with No.1481 B (G) Flight at RAF Ingham when news of his award came through, and later attended an investiture for his award at Buckingham Palace on 6th November 1945. Seaman was discharged in the rank of Warrant Officer on 12th November 1945.