On 27th April 2022, Lot 601 saw our Medal team achieving a World Record for an RAF Victoria Cross sold at public auction. The historically important and unique posthumous ‘Battle of Malaya’ VC group of five awarded to Squadron Leader ASK ‘Pongo’ Scarf, No 62 Squadron, Royal Air Force was a unique award to the Royal Air Force for this theatre of war, and the first (of four) by date of action. Estimated at £350,000 – £450,000, the group realised £660,000 (including buyer’s premium).

Joining the Royal Air Force in 1936, by December 1941 Scarf was in Command of his Squadron who were flying Blenheims close to the Malay-Thai border when the relentless Japanese attacks were unleashed; having hurriedly moved to Butterworth airfield, the requirement to stem the rapid advancement and devastating aerial bombardments coming out of Singora saw Scarf take to the air: he could do nothing as he saw every single Blenheim in his Flight be shot up before they could even get ‘wheels up’.

So the responsibility fell squarely on his shoulders to make the daring raid alone and without fighter support; Scarf made his bombing run despite being constantly harassed but was mortally wounded on the return journey, having his left arm shattered and several holes in his chest and back.

Squadron Leader Arthur Stewart King Scarf

Somehow, with the assistance of his two Sergeants – and barely conscious – Scarf kept pressure on the controls despite his shattered arm and managed to crash-land at Alor Star, being rushed to the hospital and swiftly being administered morphia and two pints of blood donated by a Nurse who was a blood match; that Nurse turned out to be his wife, whom he had only been married to for a few months, and she was carrying their unborn child.

Scarf slipped away whilst in surgery but in the chaos of the Battle of Malaya – and eventual Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 – it would be over four years until his widow would be presented with the Victoria Cross by The King which her late husband had duly earned – his was truly the V.C. that represented the ‘Forgotten War’.

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