AN ANTIQUES specialist thinks he found a genuine piece of British history at a Benalmadena flea market.
Professional collector Jose Fernandez bought a helmet that may have belonged to one of Britain’s most decorated Second World War heroes.
Inside the helmet was an original document listing the medals and other accolades named by the owner, initialed J.R.D.B. Jose suspects that the leather helmet, which came with an oxygen mask for just €15, belonged to famous fighter pilot ace John Randall Daniel ‘Bob’ Braham.
The RAF night fighter pilot made his name during the Battle of Britain, fended off enemy aircraft during the Blitz and claimed to have shot down 29 German planes before being shot down himself beyond enemy lines.
He famously offered the German officer who shot him down a whiskey once the war ended, to celebrate a British victory, before being liberated in 1945. Braham was the most decorated airman in the RAF fighter command. He settled in Nova Scotia after the war, dying in 1974 aged just 53.
More than 70 years after his heroic deeds, Malaga-based Jose Fernandez is now in touch with the RAF and British antiques experts to confirm the authenticity of his find. He claims the stall owner had no idea how he came to find it and believes it could be worth €1,000. He has no intention of selling it, though, preferring instead to loan it to museums as a genuine piece of history.
Article updated: 17 February 2017 – original ‘claimed to have shot down 29 German jets’