A Caterpillar Club brooch assigned to a flying officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is set to go under the hammer at Fellows Auctioneers.
Lot 4 in Fellows’ Fine Jewellery sale, which takes place on Thursday May 16, is the alluring gold brooch which has an estimate of £400 – £600. The brooch has “Sgt. FG. Spanner” engraved on the back – believed to be Sgt Frederick Gordon Spanner, who received several medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service to the RCAF.
Sgt Spanner, an efficient bomb aimer to assist his crew, was killed in action in 1943 during an attempt to bomb Berlin. He was enlisted whilst part of No.207 Squadron to leave RAF Langar with eight other members in the crew in an attempt to reach the German capital. Nothing was heard from the aircraft aside from there being reports of large clouds on route. Spanner, from Toronto, was awarded with a Distinguished Flying Cross, a War Medal 1939-1945, a 1939-1945 Star, an Air Crew Europe Star and the Caterpillar Club brooch.
Caterpillar Club brooches were awarded to individuals who managed to escape falling aircrafts using a parachute. Spanner was known to have escaped disabled aircrafts on multiple occasions. In July 1941 he had to escape an aircraft near Dorking due to loss of fuel and in September 1941 his crew had to bail out over the UK due to engine failure. He was commended for his services at Runnymede Memorial in Surrey.
Business Development Manager at Fellows Auctioneers, shares: “We are delighted to be able to offer another Caterpillar Club brooch for auction at Fellows. When we sold one in December 2017 we were delighted that the story of Sgt. M. Skubiszewski came to light and we were able to honour his incredible bravery as part of the Polish Bomber Squadron during WWII and his years as a POW. It is incredible that the brooch found its way home due to the publicity before the auction. Just as that brooch went back to Poland, we are hopeful that the same will happen with Sgt Spanner’s Caterpillar Club brooch. I think that the story will resonate with the collectors and find Canadian interest.
“Given the recent success we have had with military watches, it is clear that there is a lot of interest not only in these historically interesting pieces but also the stories behind them.”