Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Friday, 20 November 2009

WWII bomber pilot's Victoria Cross fetches record price

Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid. Pic by Spink/PA Wire
Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid was given the Victoria Cross in 1944

A Victoria Cross awarded to a 21-year-old World War II bomber pilot has sold at auction for £335,000.

The VC, which was presented to Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid in 1944 by King George VI, was bought by an anonymous bidder, setting a new record price.

Flt Lt Reid, from Crieff in Perthshire, was given the VC for his part in a bombing raid on Germany in 1943.

He flew his Lancaster bomber 200 miles towards its target over Düsseldorf despite being wounded in two attacks.

After suffering wounds to his head, shoulders and hands in the air attack over the Dutch coast and a second attack by a Focke Wulf 190, Flt Lt Reid managed to successfully carry out his mission over Germany and get home.

'Remarkable act'

The attacks on his aircraft ultimately claimed the lives of his navigator and his wireless operator.

A total of five of his medals were auctioned at Spink in London, raising £348,000.

Victoria Cross. Pic by Spink/PA Wire
Five medals, including the Victoria Cross were sold at auction

Mark Quayle, medal specialist for Spink, said: "This was a fully-justified price reflective of a remarkable act of gallantry."

Flt Lt Reid, who was born in Baillieston in Glasgow, later joined the RAF's 617 Squadron, better known as the Dam Busters.

His active duty came to an end after he was shot down in 1944 and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner.

He died at his home in Crieff in November 2001.

The medal, which is the highest honour for gallantry in the armed forces, was first awarded by Queen Victoria in 1854.

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