A log book recording an escort flight to Winston Churchill, during World War Two, was sold at last week’s auction of Militaria in Crewkerne. Flight Officer Joseph F Staples was one of twelve Spitfire pilots who escorted the Dakota, with Prime Minister Winston Churchill on board, back from Venlo airfield on March 26th, 1945. The Prime Minister had been visiting British and Allied troops and officers near the German border. He had crossed the River Rhine on the east banks near Wesel the day before in an American Landing Craft, accompanied by Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, Field Marshal Alan Brooke and US General William Simpson.
During his tour of the front line, Winston Churchill also met with the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces, Dwight D Eisenhower at his HQ near Rheinburg, who later became President of the United Sates. The Prime Minister was driven at speed back from the war zone to the battle scarred airfield at Venlo, in south eastern Netherlands, before flying home to England in the Dakota, escorted by a dozen Spitfires. The extensive collection of flight log books, medals, documents, maps, photographs and other items, formerly the property of Flight Officer Joseph Staples sold well above the original estimate, for £950 plus buyers premium at the Crewkerne salesroom of Lawrences Auctioneers.