Air Force Cross, GV1., reverse ‘1943’, with Second Award Bar, reverse ‘1945’; 1939/45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, with M.I.D. oak leaf, Eva Peron Medal, gold (18ct) and enamel medal, naming embossed in raised letters ‘A L Cap. Stanley R. Hinks’,
Sold with the following original documents: M.I.D. Certificate, dated 11 August 1940; photograph of recipient in uniform with Winston Churchill; a newspaper cutting and further copied research incl. a copy of the British report and claim for compensation for the loss of it’s citizens
mounted as originally worn
Provenance: Christie’s, November 1982.
A.F.C. L.G. 16/4/1943.
Recommendation states: ‘This officer, an excellent Flying Instructor, has set a very good example to both staff pilots and pupils and has maintained a high standard of flying in his flight. The success of this unit depends to a large extent on successful Hudson conversion training. Flight Lieutenant Hinks, by his outstanding zeal and energy in the performance of his duties, has, to a large degree, been responsible for the high standard of training obtained. In a period of nineteen months this officer has completed 860 flying instructional hours on Hudson conversion training.’
A.F.C. Second Award Bar L.G. 3/4/1945.
Recommendation states: ‘Since joining this Squadron [24 Squadron] as a Flight Commander in July 1944 this officer has completed 191 hrs. flying which includes thirteen overseas flights. He is a most reliable and dependable Flight Commander. In the performance of his duties he has not only proved himself to be most efficient, but also a very capable leader. His interest in, and knowledge of administration has been invaluable to the Squadron.
M.I.D. L.G. 11/8/1940.
Recommendation for MID states
This officer, an excellent Flying Instructor, has set a very good example to both staff pilots and pupils and has maintained a high standard of flying in his flight. The success of this unit depends to a large extent on successful Hudson conversion training. Flight Lieutenant Hinks, by his outstanding zeal and energy in the performance of his duties, has, to a large degree, been responsible for the high standard of training obtained. In a period of nineteen months this officer has completed 860 flying instructional hours on Hudson conversion training.
Stanley Reginald Hinks was born in North Devon in February 1920, and educated at King Edward VII School, King’s Lynn. He was commissioned in to the Royal Air Force in 1938, and served in Hudsons with Coastal Command, 1939-1941 (M.I.D.). Hinks was posted as an instructor to the first flying training school in Canada, and was based at No. 31 O.T.U., Nova Scotia until 1943. He was subsequently posted to 24 Squadron (King’s Flight), and flew VIP’s in Dakotas:
‘With the King and Princess Elizabeth standing chatting beside him, Squadron Leader Reginald Hinks, of 18, Temple Drive, Nuthall, yesterday [17 July 1945] piloted the Royal plane – a silver Dakota – escorted by two squadrons of Mustangs, to Long Kesh, R.A.F. Station near Belfast, where the King and Queen began their tour of Northern Ireland.
Pilot for many V.I.P.s during the war, including Mr Churchill, Mr Attlee, and Field Marshal Sir Alan BrookE – Squadron Leader Hinks took off from Northolt yesterday afternoon at 4.30 with the King and Queen and Princess Elizabeth aboard. The journey took two hours and one minute. It was the second occasion within a month that he has piloted the King and Queen – he flew them home from the Channel Islands in June.
“We had a lovely flight,” the Queen told the Duke of Abercorn, Governor of Northern Ireland, who greeted the Royal trio on the airfield.
After the war Hinks was employed as a civil pilot for F.A.M.A., the Argentine airline. As a civil pilot, Hinks flew Eva Peron round Europe on her tour in 1947, and when they reached Buenos Aires on returning, she gave him a present of £150, and presented him to President Peron.
Hinks was next employed as a pilot by El-Al Airlines. On 27 July 1955 an El Al Airlines Lockheed 049 Constellation (4X-AKC, flight 426, flying from London to Tel Aviv, via Vienna and Istanbul, strayed into Bulgarian airspace, likely due to strong winds in very bad weather. The crew of the aircraft was Hinks as pilot, First Officer Pini Ben-Porat, Flight Engineer Sidney Chalmers and Radio Operator Raphael Goldman. The aircraft was intercepted in the early morning darkness at 17,500 feet by Bulgarian MiG-15 Fagot fighters, and was shot down near Petrich, Bulgaria. The aircraft crashed near the Strumitza River, close to the Yugoslav and Greek borders in south-western Bulgaria. All fifty-one passengers and seven crew were killed. It caused an international incident at the height of the Cold War, and whilst lost in diplomacy lead to a number of conspiracy theories even to this day. The victims’ remains were transported back to Israel, and buried in a communal grave. A memorial to them was built at Kiryat Shaul Cemetery, Tel Aviv.
The accident report further stated
El Al flight LY402 was a scheduled service from London, U.K. to Tel Aviv, Israel with en route stops at Paris, France and Vienna, Austria.
The Constellation took off from Vienna at 02:53 for the last leg of the flight. The flight proceeded normally until over Yugoslavia. The airplane was following airway Amber 10 at FL180. The flight strayed off the airway and the crew misidentified the Skopje NDB, at which point the flight changed the heading to 142 degrees. This put the plane on a course to the Yugoslav/Bulgarian border.
After straying into Bulgarian airspace, the flight was attacked by two Bulgarian MiG-15 fighter aircraft. The Constellation began a descent and was attacked for a second time at an altitude of 8000 feet. The airplane was now on fire as it descended for an emergency landing. After approximately five minutes a third attack took place at an altitude of about 2000 feet. As a result of this
last attack, the aircraft broke up in mid-air.
The Constellation had strayed off course because of an incorrect radio compass indication due to the effects of thunderstorm activity in the area.
PROBABLE CAUSE: “The aircraft sustained a hit or hits which caused loss of pressurisation and a fire in the heater compartment. The aircraft broke up in mid-air due to explosion caused by bullets hitting the right wing and probably the left wing together with a projectile or projectiles of large calibre in the rear end of the fuselage.”
Shot down by aircraft Loss of control.
Although the Bulgarian government at first refused to accept responsibility, blaming the Israeli airliner for penetrating its airspace without authorization, it eventually issued a formal apology stating that the fighter pilots had been “too hasty” in shooting down the airliner and agreed to pay compensation to the victims’ families.
The ‘Peron Medal’ is not otherwise appeared on the market (to our best knowledge, the fact that the recipient’s name is embossed in raised letters would have necessitated a separate die for each medal.