The wartime medals of a Battle of Britain pilot have found a new home at the Battle of Britain Memorial, thanks to the generosity of an Australian couple who flew them half way around the world.
Flight Lieutenant Charles “Tich” Palliser, one of ‘the Few’, died in 2011 after spending the last decades of his life in Australia.
His daughter Gill, one of the Trust’s 32,300 supporters on Facebook, felt his medals, including the DFC and the Battle of Britain clasp, should be returned to Britain and kept safe for future generations.
Using Facebook she made contact with Malcolm Triggs, who looks after PR and marketing for the Trust, and offered the medals to the Trust for safekeeping at Capel-le-Ferne.
The Trust already has Tich’s uniform jacket and a set of replica medals on display at the end of The Scramble Experience in The Wing, and warmly welcomed the chance the chance to care for the real medals.
The practicalities were daunting though. Gill, who lives in Melbourne, didn’t want to trust the post with her precious cargo and even consulted the British Consulate for advice on sending the medals safely to Kent.
At that point her good friends Colin and Faye Murphy, who had also known Tich well, revealed that they were planning a golden wedding anniversary trip to Britain and Europe and offered to bring the medals with them.
With the medals still wrapped in the three handkerchiefs Tich himself had used to keep them safe inside their leather pouch, the couple brought the package to London.
They met Malcolm and chairman Richard Hunting CBE in, appropriately, the RAF Club and handed the medals over to the Trust for safekeeping.
“This was a splendid gesture by Gill to offer the Trust her father’s medals, which I know meant a great deal to her,” Richard said. “We are also incredibly grateful to Colin and Faye for bringing this precious cargo half way around the world.
“Gill and her friends can be assured that the Trust will take very great care of the medals and will continue to make sure that the story of Tich and his brave colleagues continues to be told long into the future.”
Faye said it had been “a pleasure to help make Gill’s dream become a reality and an absolute privilege to bring Tich’s medals back home to England.”