Medals awarded to First World War Jewish flying icon to go under hammer

Distinguished Captain Solomon Clifford Joseph was responsible for 13 aerial victories over the Western Front


Medals awarded to the RAF's most deadly Jewish fighter pilot of the First World War are to be sold.

Captain Solomon Clif­ford Joseph's Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar are expected to fetch between £15,000-­£18,000 at auction.

Capt. Joseph was the highest-scoring Jewish ace of the conflict and the only one to hail from Birmingham, with 13 aerial victories attributed to him.

He was born in Birmingham in 1893 to a fine art dealer, and he joined the Royal Naval Air Service in August 1917. 

After moving between various training postings in France and the UK, he transferred into the Royal Air Force in April 1918,

Capt. Joseph was posted to Dunkirk on February 16, 1918, and flew Sopwith Camels from various bases until November 28 1918, after the war had concluded.

His Distinguished Flying Cross - one of around 65 to be issued during the conflict - came in September 1918, with the London Gazette stating: "A gallant pilot who has accounted for eight enemy aircraft within the past four months.

"On many occasions the enemy were numerically superior to Lieutenant Joseph's patrol, but this did not prevent his attaining success."

His second award bar came less than two months later. The London Gazette said of the second award: "A very gallant and skilful officer.

"He led his formation under a large force of enemy aircraft with a view to inducing them to descend to attack him."

Mark Quayle, medal specialist and associate director of Noonans, said: "Joseph was a 'gung-ho' pilot whose aggressive flying style and skill accounted for at least 13 aerial victories over the Western Front between May and October 1918.

"He was no stranger to taking risks, and was wounded in aerial combat, and nearly shot down on many occasions."

The medals will be included in a sale of Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria at Noonans Mayfair on Wednesday, October 13. 

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive