THE MEDALS of a World War Two spitfire pilot who survived being shot down five times are to be auctioned.

Three of the five incidents in which Trevor Sidney Wade was shot down happened during the Battle of Britain in 1940.

The leader of 92 Squadron had been shot down by crossfire from German Dornier 17 fighters over the old Lewes Racecourse when he landed upside down.

The plane narrowly avoided catching on fire and Trevor was able to escape.

The Argus: World War Two spitfire pilot Trevor Wade who survived being shot down five times World War Two spitfire pilot Trevor Wade who survived being shot down five times

After the war, Trevor was testing a prototype Hawker jet, the P1081, known as the Australian Fighter, when he crashed the experimental aircraft in Ringmer in April 1951 and died.

He was 31. 

Seven of his medals, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, are to be sold at auction.

The medals are expected to fetch between £100,000 and £140,000.

Trevor, known as Wimpy, also served alongside Battle of Britain veteran Tony Bartley, who went on to have a career in Hollywood as a writer and producer, as well as marrying Deborah Kerr.

The Argus: Trevor Wade's medalsTrevor Wade's medals

After WWII, Trevor became a test pilot and reporter at The Aeroplane magazine, before working as chief test pilot to Hawker Aircraft, which saw him travel to the US to visit Mr Bartley.

In an unpublished letter to Mr Bartley, Trevor told how he had "lost his nerve test flying".

"Just before Wimpy was killed he came out to Hollywood where he stayed in my home, and one evening, confessed to me that he had lost his nerve test flying,” Mr Bartley said.

"I told him to, for God sakes, quit while he was ahead. Could happen to any of us, but he obviously disregarded my advice and warning.

"He was one of the most skilful pilots I knew and flew with. Maybe it was his natural conceit forbade him to do this, but in any event, he was a very nice fellow I was very fond of, and a very sad and unnecessary loss in my book."

The auction of Trevor’s medals is due to take place on December 8.

The Argus: Trevor Wade with colleagues Trevor Wade with colleagues

Mark Quayle, specialist associate director at auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said: "Wade was a pilot’s pilot, and a member of what is recognised as one of the elite squadrons of the Battle of Britain.

"A Spitfire ace who survived multiple dices with death during the war, but tragically succumbed to a peacetime test flight."

Trevor joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in 1938, before arriving at Croydon Airport and joining the 92 Squadron following the Battle of France and Dunkirk defeats.

Mr Bartley was also shot down during a fight over Dunkirk and cheated death when his aircraft was hit with bullets - one passing through his helmet and grazing the top of his head during the Battle of Britain.