This was revealed in a group of five medals sold at London auction house Spink (20% buyer’s premium) on December 8-9. Consigned by a private collector, they sold on the low estimate at £1800 to a UK buyer on the phone.
Green was born in Marylebone, London, to a Canadian father. His career steadily took hold until in 1933, the Hughie Green Gang made its broadcast debut on the BBC, written, produced and directed by its 13-year-old star. His career took off in films – and he fathered his first child at the age of 17 with a Birmingham usherette.
Having taken private flying lessons, he was initially declined by the RAF, and returned to his father’s home in Canada with the intention of joining up over there.
Green ended up on flying boats. On October 9 1943, he nearly lost his life on his very first job looking for a submarine spotted the day before when faulty radar misdirected him and his Catalina nearly ran out of fuel over the sea. Later he flew Liberator aircraft backwards and forwards across the North Atlantic transferring military commanders, statesmen and industrialists to South America, Africa and India.
Green also ferried Catalinas sold to the USSR. He continued such delivery tasks post-war with British Aviation Services before his showbiz career took off, a risky time including mechanical failures over the North Atlantic. Other aviation work involved an encounter with two Russian MiG jets who fired on him in the ‘Berlin Corridor’.
The medals were sold with research and ephemera such as his original Royal Canadian Air Force pilot’s flying log book representing his full Second World War service.