Page last updated at 18:50 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 19:50 UK

Hero's Russian medal is auctioned

Wing Cdr Ramsbottom-Isherwood
Wing Commander Ramsbottom-Isherwood died when his plane crashed

A rare Russian honour given to a World War II pilot is among medals expected to fetch up to £30,000 at auction.

The Order of Lenin medal was awarded to Wing Cdr Henry Ramsbottom-Isherwood, who led RAF 151 Fighter Wing in north Russia during 1941 and 1942.

Wing Cdr Isherwood and his team were the only four Allied recipients of the USSR's senior order in the war.

The medal was found when his daughter was clearing out her house in Rottingdean, Brighton, before moving.

The Order of Lenin (right) is among a group of medals being auctioned

The Wing's mission was to train Russian pilots and ground crew in the flying and maintenance of British Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes, flown by both British and Russian pilots, engaged the Luftwaffe's Me 109s and JU 88s above Murmansk.

Most of the aircraft went on to fight in the Defence of Leningrad.

"Ish" Isherwood was born in New Zealand in 1905 and served in the New Zealand Rifles before travelling to Britain to join the RAF.

He died on 24 April 1950 when the Gloster Meteor he was piloting crashed near Tonbridge, Kent, in bad weather.

Mission showed 'British resolve'

Much of the Meteor's wreckage was recovered in 2003.

The Order of Lenin medal is being auctioned with the Wing Cdr's Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Force Cross by Morton and Eden at Sotheby's in London on 10 June.

James Morton, from Morton and Eden, said the collection, which is being sold with documents and the official warrant book that accompanied the Order of Lenin, was "very exciting".

"It is an extraordinarily rare grouping of medals," he said.

"You can find the individual medals quite easily but it is the only such group awarded to one man."

The collection was likely to be attractive to museums and collectors in the UK, New Zealand and Russia, he added.

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