However, a medal and archives group sold at Sheffield Auction Gallery on January 26 shows that many bidders do recognise that bravery.
British Bomber Command crews suffered 55,573 dead – a huge number considering the 125,000 aircrew involved.
The death rate was higher than any other for the British armed forces during the conflict. Squadron Leader Sydney Clayton DSO, DFC and Bar, DFM completed 145 operational sorties as both a pilot and navigator on Blenheim and Mosquito aircraft. A total of 30 or more was considered outstanding.
In a daylight raid on October 31, 1944, Clayton was involved in one of his most memorable missions with the attack on the Gestapo Headquarters in Aarhus, Copenhagen, in support of the Danish Resistance.
For this, he received a pair of ‘royal’ cufflinks from the resistance and the action formed part of the citation for a Bar to his DFC. A letter from the resistance and the cufflinks were included in the collection being auctioned.
Estimated at £10,000-15,000, the Clayton lot made £28,000 (plus 24.6% buyer’s premium). The medals were being sold by his family to fund a permanent memorial to him.