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Save the Scarf VC

UPDATE: We did it!

The Royal Air Force Museum is proud to announce the success of our campaign to keep the Arthur Scarf Victoria Cross and medal bar in the UK and on display at our London site.

With the help of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, generous donations from the public and other charities, coverage in the press, and a last minute donation to get us over the line, the RAF Museum has now matched the £660k winning auction bid in order to keep the medals in the UK.

Thank you so much for all of your support.


Arthur Scarf was the recipient of the only Victoria Cross awarded to the Royal Air Force during the fighting in the Far East in the Second World War.

The medal has been sold at auction, but we have been given the opportunity to fundraise and match the sale price. This will allow the Royal Air Force Museum to display the medal and share Arthur's amazing story.

We need to raise £660,000 by 30 April 2023! Without your help, Arthur's medal will be sent overseas and lost to the nation. With your support, and that of other organisations and the Museum’s own funds, we have just under £100,000 left to fundraise.




Only 22 Victoria Crosses were awarded to RAF personnel during the Second World War, and only one for their service in the Far East. This medal, and Arthur’s Story, are too significant to our nation's heritage to be lost from our shores.

Arthur Scarf was born in Wimbledon in 1913. He joined the RAF in 1936 before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1939, he was sent to Singapore with No. 62 Squadron to join the forces in the Far East.

On 9 December 1941, Squadron Leader Arthur Scarf led a formation of Bristol Blenheim aircraft in a daylight attack on Japanese forces occupying airfields in Thailand. As Scarf became airborne, a formation of Japanese bombers swept over the airfield. This attack destroyed every British aircraft that had been on the ground.

Realising that none of his Squadron’s aircraft had survived the Japanese bombing Scarf resolved to complete his mission. Flying low for some 30 miles into enemy occupied territory, Scarf skilfully evaded several attacks by Japanese fighters. He released the bombs, whilst his crew manned the machine guns. Despite using great skill to evade the worst of the Japanese attacks, machine gun fire riddled the Blenheim. Scarf was mortally wounded but continued to fly the aircraft and managed to make a controlled crash at Alor Star. This was where Scarf’s wife, pregnant with their first child, had worked as a nurse until weeks before. Scarf crash-landed the aircraft without injury to his crew but died from his wounds two hours later.

The telegram below was sent to Arthur's parents to inform them of his death.


The Victoria Cross was awarded posthumously to Scarf in 1946 and was presented to his widow, Mrs Elizabeth Scarf, by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.

Help us to raise the funds to keep the Victoria Cross and enable the Nation to have it on display at the Royal Air Force Museum. Arthur’s story can inspire future generations for many years to come.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like to discuss supporting the campaign in other ways. Just click the contact us button below.
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ROYAL AIR FORCE MUSEUM
 
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