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Auction Description for Leonard Joel: The Lt. Paul McGinness WWI Medal Group
Auction Description:
The Lt. Paul McGinness WWI Medal Group

The Lt. Paul McGinness WWI Medal Group

(1 Lot)

by Leonard Joel

Platinum House

1 lot with images

November 20, 2011

Live Auction

333 Malvern Road

South Yarra

Melbourne, 3141 Australia

Phone: +61 (0)3 9826 4333

Fax: +61 (0)3 9826 4544


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Description: IMPORTANT WW1 DFC, DCM GROUP OF EIGHT AWARDED TO FLYING ACE AND QANTAS CO-FOUNDER LIEUTENANT PAUL JOSEPH MCGINNESS mounted on display bar: - DFC with correct issue horizontally striped ribbon (replaced) dated to obverse '1918' and privately engraved by recipient 'Lieut. P.J. McGinness A.F.C., A.I.F.' - DCM impressed to rim '324 Sgt. P.J. McGinness 8/L.H. Regt. Aust. I.F.' - - 1914-15 Star impressed to obverse '324 Pte. P.J. McGinness 8/LH Rgt. A.I.F.' - British War Medal and Victory Medal impressed to rim 'Lieut. P.J. McGinness AIF' - Pacific Star impressed to obverse and British War Medal and Australian Defence Medal impressed to rim '25138 P.J. McGinness' THIS GROUP IS BELIEVED TO BE UNIQUE AS NO OTHER AUSTRALIAN SERVICEMAN IS KNOWN TO HAVE RECEIVED THE DFC AND DCM DURING WWI OR WWII. and a large archive of photographs and ephemera relating to Paul McGinness' military and civilian life including: - reproduction of a photograph of St Patricks College, Ballarat 2nd Eighteen Football team, 1911, including McGinness - 18 b/w postcard photographs of the Turkish army, circa WWI - b/w photograph of "B" Squad 8th L.H., 16.5cm x 31cm - b/w photograph inscribed on reverse 'No.1 Squadron AFC at Ranleigh' - cabinet card photograph of McGinness inscribed on obverse 'Lieut Paul McGinness, Flying Corps, Cairo - b/w photograph of McGinness and Bowden Fletcher, Gunner Observer seated in "The Cauchey Battleplane" (split) - copy of citation for DFC with attached newspaper cutting referring McGinness' DCM citation - 12 b/w WWII photographs taken in Egypt and other locations - copies of 6 pages of typescript notes relating to potential landing sites noted during aerial survey for the Great Air Race. - notebook containing partial diary kept during aerial survey - more than 50 b/w photographs of the first QANTAS aircraft, an Avro 504K, taken circa 1921-1922 during early demonstration flights - two b/w photographs of QANTAS office at Longreach, Queensland, circa early 1920s - letters concerning McGinness' application to join the Chinese Air Force - documents relating to service in WWII - numerous photographs of McGinness farming at various locations - QANTAS Souvenir of Commemoration invitation,1920-1930 OTHER NOTES DFC Citation London Gazette 8 February, 1919: 'A bold and gallant airman who has displayed marked initiative and skill in attacking and destroying enemy aircraft, notably on 24th August, when, with his observer, he crashed two enemy machines in an engagement against heavy odds. He has also carried out successful attacks on enemy aerodromes, inflicting heavy casualties and causing serious damage.' DCM Citation London Gazette 30 May, 1916: 'For conspicuous gallantry. He did good scouting work and showed great powers of leadership during operations.' Paul Joseph McGinness was born in Framlingham, Victoria on 4 February, 1896. He attended St Patrick's College in Ballarat and at age 18 enlisted in the A.I.F. with the 8th Light Horse. He was one of the few survivors to take part in the ill-fated charge at the Nek at Gallipoli and was later awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for action against the Turkish Army at Jifjafa in 1916. The success of this mission was particularly significant as it proved to the British High Command the effectiveness of the Australian Cavalry in the Middle East. At age 20 McGinness requested a transfer to the Flying Corps. This decision was to shape his future, which he seemed to be well aware of. In a letter he wrote to his mother in 1916 from the Sinai Desert he explained '... You cannot get a commission in the (A.I.F.) Light Horse or Infantry unless you are over 23 years of age. Now in the Flying Corps you can get a commission at 21 and with a DCM to my credit, I should have a good chance. Another reason is that aviation is only in its childhood and, say, if a man had a good deal of experience in it here, after the War he might follow it up in Australia - if not in the military, then perhaps as a profession'. McGinness transferred to the Australian Flying Corps in 1918, joining No.1 Squadron. He flew Bristol Fighters in the Middle East, gaining seven victories and recognition as a flying ace - five victories was considered the qualification. He was awarded the DFC for action on 24 August, 1918. After the war, McGinness and Fysh reunited to enter the Great Air Race. A prize of AU$10,000 was on offer to the first Australians to complete a flight from Great Britain to Australia in less than 720 hours before midnight on 31 December, 1919. Sir Samuel McHaughey had donated the Bristol Fighter that McGinness had flown in World War 1 and agreed to fund the pair's entry into the race. However, McHaughey died suddenly and his estate refused to honour the funding so McGinness and Fysh were forced to withdraw from the race (the eventual winners were Ross and Keith Smith). Their involvement in the race did continue when they were commissioned by the Defence Department to survey suitable landing sites for the race, from Longreach in Queensland to Darwin in the Northern Territory. It was during this period that the plans for a local air service began to form. McGinness and Fysh had used a Model T Ford to complete the survey. This was a phenomenal achievement considering the complete absence of sealed roads at this time. The journey had been painstakingly slow with roads and bridges often rendered impassable due to flooding. With these experiences, the two aviators realised that there was huge potential for a local commercial air service but needed to raise significant funds to get the project off the ground. As luck would have it, McGinness had previously met Fergus McMaster, a grazier whose car McGinness repaired when it had broken down on the Cloncurry riverbed. McMaster agreed to invest and persuaded a friend, Ainslie Templeton to match his contribution. McGinness was instrumental in further fundraising, flying from town to town in Queensland and the Northern Territory asking locals for investments and support. Arthur Baird, a highly talented engineer, who had served with McGinness and Fysh in the Australian Flying Corps also agreed to join the fledgling company. With adequate funds the Queensland And Northern Territory Aerial Service was formally established at the Gresham Hotel, Brisbane on 16 November, 1920. The early office was located at Longreach. Initially, two aircraft were used; an Avro 504K and a BE2E. The latter was purchased from a Longreach stock and station agent, who had experienced an uncomfortable delivery trip in the plane and refused to ever travel in the air again! Early flights were generally joy rides and demonstrations until the company secured the mail service contract between Charleville and Cloncurry in 1922. Paul McGinness left QANTAS in 1922 to farm in Western Australia but times were hard. After attempting to join the Chinese Air Force in 1939 he re-enlisted with the R.A.A.F. during World War II as a trainer. At the end of the war he returned to WA as a tobacco farmer with limited success. His health was failing and he passed away aged 56 in Hollywood Hospital, Perth on 25 January, 1952.

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