RAF Sqn. Ldr. A.S.K. Scarf was the recipient of the only Victoria Cross awarded to the Royal Air Force for services in the Far East during the Second World War.
In April 2022, this medal was recently auctioned and sold to an overseas buyer for £550,000. With auction costs added, the total price of the medal rose to £682,000. The British Government, however, has refused to give permission for these medals to be removed from the country.
The buyer has offered the RAF Museum the chance to buy these medals so that they can be preserved and displayed to the public, and, most importantly, so that Arthur Scarf’s story of personal courage can be honoured and kept within the UK as a national treasure.
To achieve this, the RAF Museum (a charity itself) needs to raise £250,000 through public donations so that it can be added to a contribution being made from the Museum’s own funds, and a potential grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
Why was Arthur Scarf awarded the Victoria Cross?
On the 9 December 1941, RAF Sqn. Ldr. A.S.K. Scarf was leading a formation of Bristol Blenheim aircraft in a daylight attack on Japanese forces occupying airfields in Singora, Thailand. This was a strategic location for the Japanese from which they were launching their own attacks on Malaya.
As Scarf took off, a Japanese bomber formation flew over the airfield and destroyed all British aircraft on the ground. Scarf realised that his aircraft was the only one of his squadron’s remaining, and so, he was determined to finish their mission.
Flying low and for around 30 miles into Japanese-held territory, Scarf managed to evade attacks by enemy aircraft and release the bombs whilst his crew manned his aircraft machine guns.
This attracted more enemy aircraft. Scarf was outnumbered, outgunned, and in an aircraft slower than those of the Japanese. Despite trying to find protection by flying at tree top level and evading the worst of the attacks machine gun fire riddled Scarf’s aircraft and he became mortally wounded.
But Scarf carried on. Held upright by his crew, he continued to fly the Blenheim until he was able to make a controlled crash landing at a British controlled airfield.
Scarf sadly died shortly after from his wounds, but he had returned the rest of his crew uninjured.
The Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously in 1946 and was presented to his widow, Elizabeth, by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.
How can you help?
If you would like to help Save Arthur Scarf’s Victoria Cross please make a donation to the Royal Air Force Museum’s dedicated fundraiser.
Alternatively, you can send a cheque made out to RAF Museum with a note stating it is for the Arthur Scarf Campaign, to the following address:
Grahame Park Way
If you would like to read more about the RAF Museum’s campaign then please click here.