Thursday, December 08, 2005

So did Neville Duke sells his stuff for his wife surgery or not?

UK: According to the Telegraph, he cited his wife surgery as one of the reason why he sold his medals at auction.

One of the most decorated British fighter pilots of the Second World War has sold his medals, diaries and other memorabilia partly to pay for a hip replacement operation for his wife who faced at least a six-month wait on the National Health Service. Sqn Ldr Neville Duke, 83, the Royal Air Force's top-scoring ace in the Mediterranean theatre who set a world air speed record of 728 mph in 1953, put the collection up for auction rather than subject his wife Gwen to months of pain and discomfort while she waited for an operation. The standard waiting time for hip replacements in the orthopaedic department at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, one of the nearest facilities to the Dukes' home, is six months. Mrs Duke, who has been in pain with her hip for eight months, was told by her chiropractor that the wait might be 15 months. Before the sale Mrs Duke, 85, explained: "It is very likely I will need a new hip and that is something we just cannot afford. If I went on a NHS waiting list I would have to wait forever, and at my age that's no good. 'By selling Neville's things we will be able to pay for the hip. We pulled out of BUPA because they practically doubled the rate when we reached 60. "There are other important reasons, such as security, for selling. He's very upset about it." In the event, the auction at Dix Noonan Webb in Mayfair raised £138,000, some £8,000 of which would be required for an operation. The medals went to a private British collector.
But the BBC leaves out waiting for surgery angle.
"Medals and mementoes belonging to a distinguished World War II fighter pilot has sold for £138,000 at auction. Squadron Leader Neville Duke, 83, from Lymington, Hants, decided to sell his collection because of security fears. The squadron leader, who was shot down twice including once by the German ace Otto Schulz, hopes the sell-off will secure his and his 85-year-old wife Gwen's, financial future. "It was never going to be easy to make a decision about the future of my flying career memorabilia but following careful consideration, I have decided that it would be best to sell everything at auction in my lifetime," said Mr Duke. He added: "The sale of such memorabilia will always be an emotive subject, but as time has gone by I have read with increasing interest coverage of similar auctions and come to sympathise with those faced by this dilemma of future guardianship and financial security." Mr Duke, who flew 485 operational sorties during the war, had 28 air combat victories including shooting down seven aircraft in seven days. The cost of insuring the precious mementoes also prompted the auction.

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