A REMARKABLE collection of wartime memorabilia charting the career of a hero pilot who lived in York is about to go on sale.
Squadron Leader John Raymond Fisher flew special operations in the Second World War, taking spies into enemy territory and dropping supplies for French Resistance fighters.
He was involved in D-Day and the Normandy invasion, towing gliders loaded with troops, ammunition, and once even a tank, to the front lines.
Now his complete collection of medals, documents and memorabilia from his RAF career is to go on sale.
The collection contains all Sqn Ldr Fisher’s medals, including a United States Distinguished Flying Cross, his notes and logbooks, insignia, dozens of photographs and letters, and even his sheepskin flying jacket and helmet.
Sqn Ldr Fisher lived in York and later Thirsk and was a member at the Yorkshire Air Museum, which is hoping to raise enough cash to bring the collection back to Elvington.
The museum’s Ian Richardson remembers Sqn Ldr Fisher as a quiet but strong man.
He said: “John Fisher was an interesting and very colourful character. He did a lot of Special Operations Executive flying behind enemy lines – he was quite a guy. He was a long-standing member here at the museum and came to a lot of our events so it would be nice to have the collection back here.”
The museum is now in a race against time to find the £3,000 to £6,000 the collection is expected to make at auction in order to keep it in North Yorkshire. It has approached the Heritage Lottery Fund for a grant. “Donations would be welcome, but this is a substantial sum and time is against us,” Mr Richardson said.
Born in Kensington in 1916, Sqn Ldr Fisher was originally turned down for RAF flight training because of his eyesight, and when he was eventually accepted he was attacked on only his second mission.
He stayed in the RAF until 1966 when he moved to Yorkshire and ran the Clifton branch of Barclays before retiring to breed Hebridean sheep. He died in 2012 at the age of 96. The collection will be sold on behalf of his daughter, Melanie, who lives in France, on Wednesday by Gilbert Baitson’s in Hull, and online at www.the-saleroom.com