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Air Force Cross Africa Group

Lot 486 (MH213 Two Day Fine Art Sale, 4th December 2018)

Sold for £2,500

Lot details

First World War Air Force Cross group, awarded to Captain Edward Gentleman Bannister, A.F.C., comprising: Air Force Cross dated 1918, War medal and Victory Medals (both stamped Capt E.G. Bannister R.A.F.), and bronze commemorative plaque marked 'Edward Gentleman Bannister', mounted in partridge-wood frame; together with two photographs of Bannister and printed ephemera including his biography, unit changes, OTC list, and London Gazette listing from 1st January 1919.

Bannister was born in Cork, Ireland, 15th June 1893. he was educated at Grammar School in Cork (1903-6), St Albans School, Herts (1919-10) where he join the Officer Training Corps, and otherwise privately. He joined the City and Guilds Technical Collage, Finsbury, for two years in electrical engineering. He was intending to work for The British Thomson-Houston Company Ltd however the day before he started war with Germany was declared and he responded to the call up at once. He joined the London OTC, however he resigned after just a few weeks in order to join the U.P.S. Brigade.After general training he was given the temporary rank of Lieutenant, October 1914. While attached to The Royal Fusiliers he specialised in musketry where he distinguished himself and was employed for a short time as an Instructor. He tried from the outset to be attached to the Royal Flying Corps to put his engineering skills to better use but this was ignored until 25th October 1916 when he was attached to No.2 School of Aeronautics, Oxford, Oxon. He was ordered to Egypt early in January 1917 to finish his training with No.22 Training Squadron at Aboukir. As part of the 'Eastern Force' he was to prepare for the invasion of Palestine. He was given his 'Wings' 1st May and appointed Flying Officer and placed in the General Lists of the Royal Flying Corps, with the orders to defend Egypt. He was closely involved with the invasion and fought throughout the Middle East with various detachments. On 1st November the Campaign in Palestine was officially terminated and his Squadron was moved to el Qantara. He was award the Air Force Cross for 'distinguished service in Egypt' with citation in London Gazette 1st January 1919. He continued his service with the Army Wing of the Palestine Brigade of the R.A.F. and his Squadron was moved to Ramleh, at which time when in a B.F. Mark III battle plane on 14th February 1919, the aircraft developed a fault and crashed to the ground, killing Bannister instantly.