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Arthur Scarf's VC

Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf’s Victoria Cross became part of the RAF Museum’s collection on 10 May 2023 – RAF Day. This is thanks to over 2,500 private donations and generous funding from a number of organisations, including the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

The Scarf VC and medal bar on display in Hangar 1 for summer 2023.

Scarf was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding gallantry on a daylight raid on Singora, Malaya, on 9 December 1941. He was responsible for spearheading the raid which saw all available aircraft of No. 62 Squadron ordered to take part. Scarf had just taken off when enemy aircraft arrived - destroying or disabling the rest of the machines. He flew alone to Singora and, despite attacks from enemy fighter planes, completed his bombing run. On his way back his aircraft was attacked again and he was severely wounded. He crash-landed at Alor Star without causing any injury to his crew. Scarf died two hours later in hospital. Scarf’s widow, Elizabeth, was awarded his Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on 30th June 1946.

The Victoria Cross is the highest gallantry award issued in the UK. 1,358 have been awarded since its inception in 1856. 181 of which were awarded during the Second World War. Only 22 of these were awarded to the RAF. Scarf’s Victoria Cross is the only example awarded to a member of the RAF for their service in the Far East and as such there are no objects which are directly comparable with it in existence.

In October 2022, Squadron Leader Scarf’s Victoria Cross was sold at auction, along with four other medals awarded to him, for £660,000. It was announced that the Arts Minister, Stuart Andrew, following the advice of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, had decided that the medal was of National Importance. A temporary export ban was placed on the medals. In January 2023, the RAF Museum was offered the opportunity to match the sale price. However, the Museum only had until 30 April 2023 to raise the £660,000.

It is thanks to your incredible generosity that this unique artefact has found a home in the RAF Museum collection.