As the Royal Air Force prepares for its centenary celebrations next year, specialist sporting gun auctioneer Gavin Gardiner has turned-up a matched pair of shotguns that belonged to the late, and much celebrated, RAF fighter ace Air Vice-Marshal Johnnie Johnson.
Johnson was a crack shot, whether picking-off enemy aircraft in the air or high birds in a valley, and became the highest-scoring RAF fighter pilot of the second world war after downing 38 enemy aircraft in more than 1,000 missions over Europe between June 1941 and September 1944.
The matched pair of 20-bore sidelock ejector guns by Spanish maker AYA were acquired new by AVM Johnson during the late 1970s and used by him for more than 20 years prior to his death in 2001. Offered in full working order – and complete with Johnson’s personalised leather gun case – they are tipped to realise £7,000-£9,000 when they come under the hammer in London on December 13.
The 300-lot sale also includes a pair of 12-bore self-opening sidelock ejector shotguns by James Purdey & Sons that date from 1920 and were once owned by the late conservative MP Paul Channon, Baron Kelvedon, who served as both trade and transport secretary in the Thatcher government.
Set to fetch up to £35,000, the guns will be sold alongside a pair of Henry Atkin 12-bores (£10,000-£15,000) built in 1906 for Henry Cadogan, Viscount Chelsea, and a .275 bolt-action sporting rifle (£2,500-£3,500) from 1927 that was originally owned by the Earl of Clarendon, a former Governor General of South Africa.
Other offerings include a rook gun that is believed to be an example of one of the English gunmaker Holland & Holland’s “five guinea rifles” (£700-£900) and a selection of shooting paraphernalia that included cartridge bags, oil bottles, re-loading tools and display cases of collectable ammunition.