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Lot #228
Battle of Britain: RAF Debden Operations Room Enameled Sign

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Estimate: $2000+
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Attractive World War II-era double-sided enameled metal sign from the Operations Room of Royal Air Force Debden (RAF Debden), measuring 20″ x 20″, featuring white text on a red background: "Operations Room, Restricted Area, No Admittance Unless On Duty." In fine condition, with paint chipping to the corners.

Located in north Essex, England, the Royal Air Force station RAF Debden opened in April 1937 and played a pivotal role in the Battle of Britain: attacked several times throughout the battle, the station remained resilient and continued to provide fighter support throughout the war. The first air-raid siren sounded on June 18, 1940, although the first bombs were not dropped on the airfield until seven days later. Then, on August 2nd, a heavy attack destroyed several buildings, killing five, and was followed by another severe raid on August 31st. During the months of August and September, Debden fighters claimed seventy aircraft destroyed, thirty probables, and forty-one damaged. The airfield was transferred to the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force on September 12, 1942, and used to mount an intensive campaign against the German Air Force. This sign, for the "Operations Room"—the heart of the airfield during wartime—is a visually appealing relic from a significant WWII Royal Air Force station.

Provenance: Voices of the 20th Century, Bonhams, December 6, 2017.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts
  • Dates: #680 - Ended December 06, 2023