WW1 Conspicuous Gallantry Medal at auction

Polish airman Josef Jeka escaped his native country to come to Britain after the Nazis invaded his homeland.

He went on to fight valiantly against them and is listed as having managed eight kills and four probables. He was forced to bail out of his plane twice, the first time receiving serious injuries and being out of action for several months.

Jeka earned the Distinguished Flying Medal, and here it is available alongside a Virtuti Militari 5th Class (with framed certificate), a Cross of Valour with 2 Bars, a 1939/45 Star with "Battle of Britain" Clasp, an Aircrew Europe Star and a War Medal.

What makes this collection much more remarkable, however, is that the medals were kept together with a number of documents (letters, telegrams and a log book), his uniform and photos which detail much of Jeka's service.

Josef Jeka Distinguished Flying Medal
Josef Jeka's collection (DFM centre left)

A particularly fascinating fact about Jeka is that after the war he was approached by the CIA, and went on to take part in black operations against Russia, (the CIA specifically used non-US agents in order to deny knowledge if they failed).

Jeka died in 1958 whilst taking part in one of these operations. His medals and other belongings were initially estimated at £6,000-8,000, but are now expected to sell for £15,000 or more.

Also appearing in the sale is a Conspicuous Gallantry Medal belonging to Joseph James Reed of the HMS Brilliant and HMS Vindictive.

Reed's most notable gallant action, which was given a full page illustration in a full page piece in the then popular paper The Sphere involved carrying a seriously injured and unconscious Lt Sir John Alleyne to the safety of a lifeboat whilst under heavy fire, then ignoring the possibility of escape for himself to return to assist the injured.

Reed's actions helped save several lives, and he was solely responsible for Alleyne's surivival. His Conspicuous Gallantry Medal, together with a Distinguished Service Medal, 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, are expected to sell for £20,000-25,000.

A Conspicuous Gallantry Medal recently sold for £20,400 in a Spink auction.

The current sale takes place Wednesday, December 2, in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, under the eye of Bosley's Military Auctioneers.

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