27 April 2022

( select to enlarge )
Medal entitlement of Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf,
62 Squadron, Royal Air Force

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1939 - 45 Star
  • Pacific Star
  • Defence Medal ( 1939 - 45 )
  • War Medal ( 1939 - 45 )

The Second World War Victoria Cross medal group awarded to Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf, 62 Squadron, Royal Air Force, has been sold at a Spink auction in London on the 27th April 2022. The sale was by order of a direct descendant. The sale estimate was between £350,000 and £450,000. The Arthur Scarf VC group had originally been on loan to the Royal Air Force Museum.

The Spink sale hammer price realised £550,000. The identity of the purchaser has not been revealed.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 21 June 1946 ], Over Malaya, 9 December 1941, Squadron Leadeer Arthur Stewart Scarf, 62 Squadron, Royal Air Force.

On 9th December 1941, all available aircraft from the Royal Air Force Station, Butterworth, Malaya, were ordered to make a daylight attack on the advanced operational base of the Japanese Air Force at Singora, Thailand.

From this base, the enemy fighter squadrons were supporting the landing operations. The aircraft detailed for the sortie were on the point of taking off when the enemy made a combined dive-bombing and low-level machine-gun attack on the airfield. All our aircraft were destroyed or damaged with the exception of the Blenheim piloted by Squadron Leader Scarf.

This aircraft had become airborne a few seconds before the attack started. Squadron Leader Scarf circled the airfield and witnessed the disaster. It would have been reasonable had he abandoned the projected operation which was intended to be a formation sortie.

He decided, however, to press on to Singora in his single aircraft. Although he knew that this individual action could not inflict much material damage on the enemy, he, nevertheless, appreciated the moral effect which it would have on the remainder of the squadron, who were helplessly watching their aircraft burning on the ground. Squadron Leader Scarf completed his attack successfully. The opposition over the target was severe and included attacks by a considerable number of enemy fighters. In the course of these encounters, Squadron Leader Scarf was mortally wounded. The enemy continued to engage him in a running fight, which lasted until he had regained the Malayan border.

Squadron Leader Scarf fought a brilliant evasive action in a valiant attempt to return to his base. Although he displayed the utmost gallantry and determination, he was, owing to his wounds, unable to accomplish this. He made a successful forced-landing at Alor Star without causing any injury to his crew. He was received into hospital as soon as possible, but died shortly after admission.

Squadron Leader Scarf displayed supreme heroism in the face of tremendous odds and his splendid example of self-sacrifice will long be remembered.

Arthur Scarf's widow was presented with her husband's Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 30th June 1946.


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Iain Stewart, 27 April 2022