The good Second World War Middle East North Africa and Greece Operations Blenheim Bomber Air Observer’s 1941 Distinguished Flying Cross, 1955 Birthday Honours Order of the British Empire, and long service group awarded to Squadron Leader R.I. Perry, Royal Air Force, a pre-war Halton Apprentice, who qualified as aircrew as an Air Gunner in October 1936, and then prequalified as an Air Observer in April 1938. With the outbreak of the Second World War he was with 108 Squadron flying in Blenheim bombers. which the day before the outbreak of the war was appointed the 6 Group Training Squadron. Having then joined 21 Squadron, he was posted out to join 113 Squadron in the Middle East in the autumn of 1940, and participated in aerial operations during the successful British offensive that pushed the Italians back across Cyrenaica, when his squadron was used for both bombing and long range reconnaissance missions. In March 1941 his squadron became the fourth British squadron to move to Greece, arriving just in time to be caught up in the German invasion. The Germans soon won control of the skies over Greece. On 14th April the squadron was attacked on the ground four times and every single aircraft was either damaged or destroyed. The squadron's personnel were eventually evacuated to Crete and Egypt. Operations resumed in June 1941, and the squadron took part in Operation Crusader, when it was used to attack Italian aircraft and lorries behind enemy lines. It was for his work in having carried out 51 operational sorties, during which he had for a long time proved the most successful bomb aimer in the squadron, this he earned his award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, gazetted in July 1941. Perry was posted home in January 1941 and was employed with the University Air Squadron at Liverpool and was employed as a Navigator Instructor from December 1941 through to the end of the war. Latterly serving with the Secretarial Branch, he was appointed a Member of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours List in June 1955.
Group of 8: The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Member, M.B.E., 2nd type, Military Division; Distinguished Flying Cross, GVI 1st type cypher, reverse dated 1941; 1939-1945 Star; Air Crew Europe Star; Africa Star; Defence Medal; War Medal; Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, GVI 2nd type bust; (FLT. LT. R.I. PERRY. R.A.F.), mounted swing style as worn.
Condition: light contact wear, Good Very Fine.
Together with the recipient’s matching group of miniature medals, mounted court style as worn.
Reginald Ivor Perry was born on 26th December 1911 in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales, and joined the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Apprentice Boy (No.562243) at RAF Halton on 10th January 1928, he being a Halton Apprentice. On attaining the age of 18 he was placed as an untrained Metal Rigger from 1st January 1929, and was then ranked as an Aircraftsman 1st Class on completion of his training and remastered as a Metal Rigger on 4th January 1931, being promoted to Leading Aircraftsman and Metal Rigger 1st Grade from 1st August 1932, before re-mustering as a Fitter 1st Grade on 1st March 1935, and then as a Fitter 1st Grade and Air Gunner on 10th October 1936, when he became aircrew, having passed through the Air Gunners at North Coates between 14th September to 10th October 1936.
Promoted to Corporal on 1st September 1937, he re-mustered as a Air Observer Fitter 1st Grade on 30th April 1938 having passed through the Air Observers Course at North Coates from 10th January to 9th April 1938, and having been posted to 13 Squadron, was then posted to 108 Bomber Squadron on 30th September 1938, being awarded the Air Observers Flying Brevet on 18th November 1938. Perry was appointed to Acting Sergeant and Air Observer on 19th January 1939, before being promoted to Sergeant Air Observer on 24th January 1939, in which rank he was in service on the outbreak of the Second World War, when still with 108 Squadron flying in Blenheim bombers. which the day before the outbreak of the war was appointed the 6 Group Training Squadron, and in April 1940 was absorbed into No. 13 Operational Training Unit at RAF Bicester, with Perry being absorbed with it.
Perry was posted to 21 Squadron on 28th May 1940, another Blenheim unit, which had just finished taking part in the costly attacks on the advancing Germany columns, before at the end of May moving to Lossiemouth, to join Coastal Command. Perry was then almost immediately posted out of this unit, and sent out to the Middle East, where he arrived and then joined the Training Unit & Reinforcement Pool on 24th August 1940, before being posted operational to join 113 Squadron, a Blenheim bomber unit operating over North Africa. During the successful British offensive that pushed the Italians back across Cyrenaica, the squadron was used for both bombing and long range reconnaissance missions.
Perry then found himself discharged to a commission on 15th January 1941. Granted an Emergency Commission as a Pilot Officer (No.45445) on probation, he saw service with the General Duties Branch, and continued to flying operationally as an Air Observer with 113 Squadron. In March 1941 No.113 became the fourth British squadron to move to Greece, arriving just in time to be caught up in the German invasion. The Germans soon won control of the skies over Greece. On 14 April the squadron was attacked on the ground four times and every single aircraft was either damaged or destroyed. The squadron's personnel were eventually evacuated to Crete and Egypt. Operations resumed in June 1941, and the squadron took part in Operation Crusader (serving under Air Headquarters Western Desert). The squadron was used to attack Italian aircraft and lorries behind enemy lines.
It was for his service with 113 Squadron, that Perry was recommended for the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the recommendation reading as follows: ‘This officer has carried out 51 operational sorties. He has for a long time proved the most successful bomb aimer in the squadron. This cheerfulness and devotion to duty have set an excellent example.’ Perry’s award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was published in the London Gazette for 25th July 1941.
His tour of operations having come to an end, Perry was posted home on 7th January 1941, and then joined the University Air Squadron at Liverpool on 23rd December 1941, being employed as a Navigator Instructor, a position he held for the remainder of the war. Promoted to Flying Officer on 27th March 1942, with seniority back dated to 8th August 1941, he was reclassified as a Navigator (B) on 21st January 1943, and was promoted to war substantive Flight Lieutenant on 15th January 1943, with seniority back dated to 8th August 1942.
With the end of the Second World War, Perry who had transferred to the Secretarial Branch on 1st September 1945, was posted to the Air Ministry on 7th December 1945, for service with the Midland Command Headquarters of the Air Training Corps. As of 1st January 1946 he was appointed to Acting Squadron Leader, and on 2nd May 1946 joined the Headquarters of No.63 Group when continuing to be employed with the Midland Command Headquarters of the Air Training Corps, before being posted to the Technical Staff of the Air Training Corps for HQ 63 Group on 30th December 1946, and being posted to Admin GD Training with 63 Group from 19th May 1947. Perry relinquished the rank of Acting Squadron Leader on 1st June 1948, and was once again appointed to Acting Squadron Leader on 3rd August 1948, but again relinquished the acting rank on 13th March 1950. Perry was awarded the Royal Air Force Long Service and Good Conduct Medal on 10th January 1952.
Granted a permanent commission in the rank of Flight Lieutenant on 24th November 1953 whilst still serving with the Secretarial Branch, he was appointed a Member of the Military Division of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Birthday Honours List as published in the London Gazette for 9th June 1955.
Placed on the Retired List on account of medical unfitness on 4th May 1957 in the rank of Squadron Leader, Perry went to live at the Lion Hotel in Govilon, and died in Newport, Monmouthshire, on 24th January 1971.