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WW2 & Cold War 78 'Combat Mission' medal lot, to Gunner-Combat Cameraman & later 'Cold War Spook', decorated for personal bravery in the Rhine Airborne Landings 'Operation Varsity': Master Sergeant Fay Nora Steele, USAF late United States Army Air Corps

- United States: Air Medal. Ist type. Un-numbered full-wrap brooch. 'Fay N. Steele'
- United States: Bronze Star Medal. Un-numberd & un-named. With slot brooch

Note: Both medals contained in their Second World War issue black leatherette cases of issue, with gilt tooled lids. The cases with scuffs

Sold together with below following original ephemera;

- Russia (Soviet Union): Diplomatic Pass for USA Embassy Moscow, wi
- Army Air Forces Certificate of Appreciation for War Service. Named to Fay N. Steele
- Bronze Star Medal Citation extract
- 2 x WW2 B&W photos of USAAF 'Spitfires' (offIcially marked 107th Fighter Recon Sqdn)
- 5 x WW2 B&W photos ex Windsor Castle, England. King George VI & family at review

All photographs with taped edges and some scuffs

The citation for the Bronze Star Medal states;


Fay N. Steele, 6296995, Technical Sergeant, Headquarters Squadron, 1x Troop Carrier Command.

For heroic achievement in connection with military operations against the enemy on 24 March 1945. Serving as combat cameraman in the great airborne operation near Wessel, Germany. Sergeant Steele landed by glider with the airborne troops. Met by heavy enemy fire, both airborne troops and glider pilots were pinned down, several casualties having been sustained among them.. Sergeant Steele volunteering to obtain whole blood from the medical glider a hundred and fifty yards away, with utter disdain for his own safety, ran through a hail of enemy fire and delivered the life giving substance. Entered the military service from Tennessee.


Fay Nora Steele (1916-2016) American, Centenarian and Patriot, was the son of John W. Steele, and Bessie F. Steele. Fay - named in memory of his sister sibling who had died in childhood - was a native of Somerville Town, Fayette County, Tennessee, United States of America, where he was born on 29 July 1916. He lived an uncommonly rich and fascinating 'Century' of life experiences

There are numerous internet sources giving details of Fay's fascinating life and career, including detailed interviews, photographs and even a video of his funeral with gun-salute farewell. The below following obituary is courtesy of the Peebles Funeral Home, and is just a sample of what is available;


Fay N. Steele, age 100, resident of Washington, D.C. and native of Somerville, Tennessee, departed this life Wednesday evening, November 30, 2016 at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C.

Services of Remembrance for Mr. Steele were conducted at 11 A.M. Thursday, December 8, 2016 at the Somerville First Baptist Church with Bro. Stan Smith, pastor of the Somerville First Baptist Church, officiating. Interment with Full Military Honors followed in the Somerville City Cemetery. Arrangements were provided by Peebles Fayette County Funeral Homes & Cremation Center - Main Chapel of Somerville.

Fay Steele was born July 29, 1916 in Somerville, Tennessee, the son of John Steele and Bessy Fletcher Steele. He joined the U.S. Army in September 1937 with the intent of becoming an Aerial Photographer. He wanted to sign up for thirty years, but could only sign up for three years at a time. His career included flying in 78 Combat missions. Sixty five of these missions were flown as Waist Gunner and Combat Photographer with the Ninth Air Force, in which he earned the Air Medal with 12 Oak Leaf Clusters. The other thirteen missions were with the Ninth Troop-Carrier Command (Airborne) and included two Combat Glider landings. As a result of one of these landings, Fay was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with a V. Later, he was attached to several American Embassies, including the Soviet Union, France, Indonesia and Egypt. Fay retired on November 19, 1957.

Along with this military career, Fay became a track and field star. In 1940, while stationed in Panama, he became the first person to run from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in one day. In September of 1990, Fay made his 5th trans-Isthmus run exactly fifty years after his first run. Believe it or not, he made the run 2 hours faster! This is after he established a new World Record for men over 70 years old in 1986. Fay was also a star in the U.S. National Senior Olympics Championship, entering the extremely challenging Decathlon. Of the seven times he competed, he won six times!

After his Military Career, Fay embarked on a Zoo career as a Bird Specialist. In this twenty year stint, he went to eight different U.S. zoos. He was then hired by the Smithsonian to do a study of endangered birds on the Mauritius Island. As a result of this work, Fay was elected to membership in the prestigious International Explorer?s Club that includes such members as Charles A. Lindberg, Prince Philip of England and James Doolittle.

Fay moved to the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. in 1996. He was very active, becoming an ?Iron Man? under the walking program, writing an autobiography titled ?A Man of Steele?, and providing musical enjoyment with his cataloged collection of 45 records.

Fay never forgot his hometown, his home church and, especially, his duty to his God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He taught many of the young people at Somerville First Baptist Church in Sunday School and youth programs.

Fay had no surviving family. However, Fay has considered Niki Wilson of Somerville, whom he brought to Somerville First Baptist Church as a youth, his ?granddaughter? and she and her family have been his ?family? and care providers for many years. Most of his older friends have passed on but many of those younger folks whom he influences, live on with fond memories of Fay.

Those honored to serve as pallbearers were Blake Neil, Justin Pilkington, Justin Wainscott, Seneth Legendre, Josh Jenkins and Corey Rhea. Honorary pallbearers were Rickey Proctor, Virgil Proctor, Mike Proctor, Andy Jenkins, David Wilson, Bob Osburn, Shane Burch and Will Middlecoff.

Memorials may be directed to the Somerville First Baptist Church, 12685 S. Main Street, Somerville, TN 38068.


A more detailed transcript of his services is recorded on the 'Veterans History Project'

Master Sergeant Steele's prowess with 'Camera' and subsequent post-war 'Security Assignments' in the United States Embassies located in Moscow, Cairo and Indonesia, indicate that he was almost certainly a 'Spook' working with or in support of intelligence gathering services

In the portrait of Master Sergeant Steele that is attached to his obituary (courtesy ), his full insignia and medal entitlement was;

- United States Army Air Force 'Air Gunner' Brevet
- Bronze Star with combat V
- Air Medal with 2 x 'Silver' Oak-leaf Clusters
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- Defense Medal
- American Defense Service Medal. With 'Bronze Star' denotes pre-war overseas service
- Asia Pacific Campaign Medal
- European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign With 'Bronze' Star & 'Bronze Arrowhead'
- Victory Medal 1945

A superb lot of medals and ephemera to a most interesting recipient

Note: The postage quoted reflects the additional postage and extra work involved to dispatch this lot

Condition: Medals EF

Code: 18368Price:

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A rare Purple Heart medal group of 3 to a Scottish resident of the Hawaii Islands, who was 'Killed in Action' at Saipan: Private First Class Pearson Skene, Jr., HQ Co, 1st Battalion 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Infantry Division, United States Army, late

- Purple Heart (Charles P. Skene Jr)
- Asia Pacific Campaign Theater Medal
- Allied Victory Medal

Note: The Purple Heart' officially engraved on reverse and all medals being contemporary original issues on silk ribands, with correct brooch fittings exactly as issued by the War Department

Sold together with a most comprehensive archive of original letters, cards and photographs, far too much to list individually but including;

- Plush titled leatherett case of issue for Puple Heart addressed to NOK in Scotland
- Photograph of group of officers of The Hawaii Rifles, inc Lt. Skene (extreme left)
- Large illuminated Purple Heart bestowal document from President Franklin D. Roosevelt
- Copy of the 'Leo O Honomu' issue of August 1944, with front page obituary
- Army notebook
- A selection of ornate,Christmas Cards from the Islands to his family in Scotland
- Various correspondence ex US War Department to next of kin in Aberdeen, Scotland
- Lots of letters and photographs from friends and well wishers in the islands
- Archive of letters written by Charles during his initial journey to Hawaai 1928

And much more.........

The below obituary (including garbled sentence and wrong date of education) with photograph of the fallen, was published in The Aberdeen Press & Jornal newspaper issue of 24 August, 1944



An Aberdeen sugar planter. Mr Charles P. Skene, second son of Mr & Mrs. C. P. Skene, 2 Queens Gardens, has been killed in action against the Japanese while serving with the American forces in the South Pacific.

He fell in the fighting which led to the capture by the Americans of Saipan - the Bomb Tokio island (sp)

When Japan opened hotilities against America, Mr Skene was serving as a lieutenant with the Hawaii Rifles, a local defence force, but he decided to join the American Army

For fifteen years he had been on the sugar plantations at Honomu, Hawaii, where he was a field superintendent.

When news of his death was received at Honomu a special memoral service was held

Mr Skene was a popular figure in Honomu. A former member of the 1st Aberdeen Troop of the Boy Scouts, he started a Boy Scout troop for the natives

He was also an enthusiastic sportsman, and was also a member of the team which won the basketaball League championship in 1941. It was a tream of many nationalities, no fewer than five of Mr Skene's tem mates were Japs

Thirty five (?) years ago Mr Skene was a pupil of Aberdeen Grammar School

The same newspaper subsequently published the below Purple Heart award announcement, in their issue of 9 December 1944




Mr & Mrs. C. P. Skene, 2 Queens Gardens, Aberdeen. have received a letter signed by Mr Henry L. Stimson, Secretary for War, U.S.A., announcing that their son, Pte. (First Class) Charles P. Skene, has been awarded the Purple Heart.

Pte. Skene lost his life when fighting with the American Army on the attack on Saipan

Mr. Stimson in his letter stated that he was writing on behalf of the President

Before joining the American Army, Pte. Skene was for fifteen years on sugar plantations at Honomu, Hawaii. He is a former pupil of the Aberdeen Grammar School


Charles Pearson Skene, Jr, Private (Ist Class), United States Army, second son of Mr. and Mrs. C. P. Skene, 2 Queen's Gardens, Aberdeen, Scotland was killed in action on Saipan Island, South Pacific,on 12th July 1944, aged thirty-five. He left Scotland for Hawaii at the end of 1928, and becamea field superintendent on sugar plantations at Honomu. He started a Boy Scout troop for the natives and in 1941 he was manager of the team which won the basket ball league championship, a team of several nationalities, no fewer than five being Japanese. When Japan opened hostilities, he was serving as a Lieutenant with the Hawaii Rifles, a local defence force, but he subsequently decided to join the United States Army. All reports from his officers and from the men who fought the enemy by hi sside contained praise of his exemplary conduct in action, for which he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge. In September 1944 his father received the following letter from Mr. Henry W.Stimson, then Secretary of War in the United States:-"At the request of the President, I writeto inform you that the Purple Heart has been awarded posthumously to your son, Private (1stClass) Charles P. Skene, Junior, Infantry, who sacrificed his life in defense ofhis country. Little thatwe can do or say will console you for the death of your loved one. We profoundly appreciate thegreatness of your loss, for in a very real sense the loss suffered by any of us in this battle for ourcountry is a loss shared by all of us." His body, originally interred in Saipan Island, was re-interredin Hilo Military Cemetery, Hawaii, in March 1949, with full military honours

In addition, to above, there is also multi-page copy of 'Individual Deceased Personal File' from Department of the Army, United States. This includes a most detailed and poignant set of correpondence pertaining to the recovery of the recipients body in-the-field, and subsequent reburials. PFC Skene was 'Killed-in-Action' due to being hit in the skull by shell-fire

A rare and most comprehensive Purple Heart group to a Scotsman, and long term resident of Hawaii - sold together with a large archive above referred to

Condition: EF

Code: 17639Price: 1000.00 GBP

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United States of America: Army Good Conduct Medal

A good early strike from era of Second World War 1941-1945

The silk medal riband fitted with original issue 'Slot Brooch'. This retaining it's hinged pin and intricate clasp fittings

Instituted in 1941 for 3 Years exemplary conduct in the United States Army

Condition: About EF

Code: 17799Price: 12.00 GBP

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United States: Army Good Conduct Medal

Awarded for 3 years unblemished good conduct in the United States Army

The medal riband fitted with a 'Slot-Brooch'. Retaining the original hinged pin and clasp fittings

Instituted in 1941 for 3 Years exemplary conduct in the United States Army

A good toned early strike

Condition: GVF

Code: 18441Price: 10.00 GBP

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United States: United States Navy Expeditionary Medal with slot brooch

A very good early strike. The medal dark 'chocolate' toned condition

Condition: EF

Code: 16243Price: 45.00 GBP

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United States of America: China Service Medal. With United States Navy reverse

Medal riband fitted with 'Crimp brooch'. This retaining it's hinged pin and intricate clasp fittings

Instituted 1940, and awarded for service ashore and afloat in China, and the seas between China / Taiwan in the periods 1937-1939 & 1945-1957

Condition: About EF

Code: 17798Price: 20.00 GBP

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United States: American Defense Medal. With crimp brooch

Condition: EF

Code: 16240Price: 15.00 GBP

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United States: American Defense Medal. With clasp 'SEA and crimp brooch

As awarded exclusively to qualifying personnel of the United States Coast Guard for those engaged on making regular patrols at sea

Condition: EF

Code: 16235Price:

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United States: Victory Medal 1945, with crimp brooch. Reverse privately engraved (Wanda B Wells)

Note: A search of United States Census Records for 1940 identify only one person of this name who is recorded as Wanda B. Wells, a native of Kansas, who was the daughter of John J. & Mary A. Wells, of Paw Paw, Elk, Kansas, was born circa 1925, where she lived on a farm with her parents and 7 x other siblings

Condition: EF

Code: 16229Price: 25.00 GBP

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United States: Victory Medal 1941-1945

The medal riband fitted with a 'Slot-Brooch'. Retaining the original hinged pin and clasp fittings

A good toned early strike

Condition: GVF

Code: 18440Price: 15.00 GBP

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