Walney trains first woman air gunner of the Second World War

10 August 2017 2:26PM

THE auction on August 16 by Richard Winterton at Lichfield, Staffordshire, expects £150 to £250 for a unique piece of military history linked to Walney airfield.

A hand painted and written scroll outlies the achievements of the first woman in the Women’s Auxilliary Air Force to pass an RAF air gunner’s course.

Millie Swettenham completed the course between May 3 and 30 in 1942 at the RAF Air Gunnery School, at Walney.

By successfully completing the course, she became the first woman to qualify as air crew in the RAF.

The scroll shows a German aircraft and is signed by officers at the school.

There is also a pair of photographs of the recipient.

By September 1944 she was based at Bomber Command headquarters in High Wycombe and on VE Day in May 1945 she was celebrating the end of war in Europe in Belgium.

The same sale has hopes of £2,800 to £3,000 for the medal group, including the Military Cross, to her husband, Major Frederick Balfour Scott.

He landed behind enemy lines in Northern France by glider on June 5 in 1944 – the night before the D-Day landings - as part of Operation Mallard.

An August 19 sale by Paul Beighton Auctioneers, of Thurcroft, Rotherham, expects £100 to £200 for a 19th century Mauchline ware wooden spice box with eight named spice jars.

On the outer box there are views of Bowness Ferry and Tower of Refuge.

The same auction has a pre-sale estimate of £500 to £800 for a Rockingham plate dating from 1827 to 1830 with a painted scene of the North End of Windermere

Bids reached £100 at 1818 Auctioneers, Crooklands, for two original prints, stamped “Vickers Armstrong”, which show the electrics and motor of the Windermere Steamer, Teal.

Teal was built by Vickers, transported in sections by rail and then reassembled at Lakeside.

The sale also saw £600 paid for a late 18th century oak longcase grandfather clock by William Shephard of Millom, who was also a blacksmith and a farmer.

Records show that he and his wife had 10 children and that one became a clockmaker inheriting his father’s tools.

It is possible that father and son made the clock together.

There are few sports fans keener on their club than those in West Cumbria’s Workington.

Internet auctions saw £142 paid for a 1950s enamel supporters club badge for the town’s rugby league team and a remarkable £274 for a similar badge for the Workington Reds soccer team.

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