The Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar to Flight Lieutenant K.Wolstenholme, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and the famous BBC Sports Commentator, who's famous quote "They think it's all over" for the 1966 World Cup has become part of England's football commentating history,

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Lot 48
The Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar to Flight Lieutenant K.Wolstenholme, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and the famous BBC Sports Commentator, who's famous quote "They think it's all over" for the 1966 World Cup has become part of England's football commentating history,

Sold for £ 8,400 (US$ 10,461) inc. premium
The Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar to Flight Lieutenant K.Wolstenholme, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and the famous BBC Sports Commentator, who's famous quote "They think it's all over" for the 1966 World Cup has become part of England's football commentating history,
Distinguished Flying Cross, G.VI.R., dated 1944 and engraved (F/LT.K.Wolstenholme.), with second award bar dated 1945, in Royal Mint case of issue with his two logbooks. With miniatures comprising D.F.C. and bar, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany bar, Defence Medal, War Medal, Air Efficiency Award. R.A.F.V.R. tie pin. Photograph album of aircraft and personalities. Together with the John Logie Baird Medal presented to him at the Baird Festival of Television for Outstanding Contribution, engraved (Kenneth Wolstenholme Presented 16th April 1964), with photograph of Mrs Baird presenting him with the award. Extremely fine. (Lot)


  • D.F.C. London Gazette 30.6.1944.

    Before joining P.F.F. fifteen months ago Flight Lieutenant Wolstenholme had made 14 low level daylight attacks. Since that time he has brought his total sorties to 61, including 24 marker sorties. During recent months he has on many occasions been the mainstay of the markers and his remarkably accurate bombing runs have fully warranted his responsible position.

    Bar to the D.F.C. London Gazette 23.3.1945.

    Following a first tour on Blenheim and Mosquito aircraft which included a number of low-level daylight missions, F/L. Wolstenholme commenced operating with Path Finder Force in July 1943, since when he has completed a further 58 sorties, many of these being marker sorties.

    During the whole of his operational career he has displayed noteworthy ability as a pilot and has shown himself to be possessed to an outstanding degree of courage, judgement and tenacity of purpose. He has achieved results of the highest order, even under the most adverse conditions.

    Air Efficiency Award London Gazette 18.4.1946.

    Wolstenholme begins his flying training in June 1939 at R.A.F.V.R. Barton this stops by August 1939 but recommences in June 1940 at No.6 E.F.T.S. Sywell. He then transfers to No.11 S.F.T.S. at Shawbury and begins flying Oxfords. By November 1940 he is transferred to No.17 O.T.U. Upwood and starts flying Blenheims. He is moved to 107 Squadron in March 1941 and has his first operation was as Pilot on the 18th March escorting 16 Merchant Vessels, no bombs were dropped but the task was abandoned an hour early due to cloud and sea fog and crash landed at Crail. He was flying again two days later carrying out a sweep off the North Sea, no bombs dropped. For the remainder of March he carries out practice bombing and into April continues with Convoy Escorts. He attacks the Seaplane base at Stavanger Sola from 7,000 feet on the 5th May. Two days later he attacks Shipping and the Docks at Bergen and then Mandal Aerodrome on the 9th. On the 17th he attacks Rotterdam and notes "Polly planted Bombs slap on target". On the 21st he attacks Heligoland but his aircraft is badly damaged and his Air Observer is killed.

    In August he moves to No.13 O.T.U. at Bicester as Staff Pilot flying Ansons and then in January 1942 moves to No.2 A.O.S. Millom (Changed to No.2 Observer's Advanced Flying Unit) again flying Ansons. In August 1942 he moves to Brize Norton to the Heavy Glider Conversion Unit, and then to No.1665 Conversion Flight at Marham in Norfolk where he flies Bisleys and Mosquito IIIs and IVs. He transfers to No.105 Squadron which is also based at Marham and has his first Op on the 20th January attacking the Stork Engineering and Diesel Works at Hengelo. He then moves to No.109 (Pathfinder Force) Squadron at Wyton and has his first Op with this Squadron on the 26th February performing a nuisance raid to Aachen, his aircraft being short in the starboard tailplane by the heavy flak. He has Ops on the 28th to Krefeld (Abortive), 2nd March to Rheinhaussen, 8th March to Dusseldorf, 10th March to Essen, 29th March (Special) to Dortmund, 2nd April (Special) to Lorient, 3rd April (Special) to Essen, 8th and 9th April (Special) to Duisberg, 12th May (Special) to Bochum, 14th June (Special) Skymarking on Oberhausen, 21st June (Special) to Krefeld, 22nd June (Special) to Mulheim, 25th June (Special) Skymarking Gelsenkirchen.

    He transfers to No.105 (P.F.F.) Squadron at Marham and his logbook is noted as time off from the beginning of July until the 25th when he is back on Ops (Special) to Essen, 30th (Special) to Remscheid. He qualifies for his Path Finder Force Badge on the 20th August 1943. His next Special Op is on the big Chemical Works at Leverkusen north of Cologne, 23rd August (Special) Route Marking at Odoorn and Alte Piccardie for 750 Heavies on Berlin, 31st August (Special) Track Marking for Heavies returning from Berlin, 22nd September (Special) to Emden as Diversionary for 736 Heavies on Hanover, 28th November (Special) to the Krupps Works at Essen, 4th December (Special) to August Thyssen Steelworks at Maborn, 6th December (Special) to I.G. Farbenindustrie Leverkusen, 11th December (Special) to August Thyssen Steelworks at Hamborn, 4th January (Special) to Fried Krupp A.G. Rheinhausen and repeated on the 21st January, 23rd January (Special) to Rheinmettal Borsig A.G. Derendorf where he crashed at Manston, 25th and 27th January to Nazi H.Q. at Aachen, 2nd February (Special) to G & J Jaeger Ballbearing Works at Elberfeld, 10th February (Special) to Nazi H.Q. Aachen, 15th February (Special) to Leeuwarden for 859 Heavies on Berlin, 19th February (Special) to Gilze Rijen for 844 Heavies on Liepzig, 20th February (Special to Saint Trond Airfield for 700 Heavies on Stuttgart, 1st March (Special) to Venlo Airfield for 600 Heavies on Stuttgart, 3rd March (Special) Groundmarking on Aircraft factory at Meulan-Les-Mureaux, 5th March (Special) Bombing and Groundmarking Duisburg, 7th and 13th March (Special) Groundmarking Marshalling Yards at Le Mans, 15th March (Special) Groundmarking Amiens Marshalling Yards, 19th March (Special) to Dusseldorf, 21st March (Special) Gutehoffnungshutte A.G. at Oberhausen, 22nd March (Special) Venlo Airfield for 600 Heavies on Frankfurt, 24th March (Special) Arifield Pranging at Twente for 800 Heavies on Berlin, 26th March (Special) Groundmarking S.W.Corner of Krupps Works at Essen, 30th March (Special) Twente Airfield for 800 Heavies on Nuremberg, 9th April (Special) Groundmarking Marshalling Yards at Villeneuve, 11th April (Special) Groundmarking Marshalling Yards at Aulnoye then Laon, 20th April (Special) Groundmarking La Chapelle Marshalling Yards in Paris, 22nd April (Special) Groundmarking on Dusseldorf, 26th April (Special) Ground and Skymarking Essen, 30th April (Special) Groundmarking Marshalling Yards at Somain, 4th May (Sepecial) I.G. Farbenindustrie Chemical Works at Leverkusen, 7th May (Special) Ammunition Depot at Chateaudun, 9th May (Special) Groundmarking Gun Positions at Morsalines, 10th May (Special) Groundmarking Gun Positions at Dieppe for 50 Lancasters, 12th May (Special), Ammunition Dump at Chateaudun noted as not identified so bomb dropped in Sea off Dieppe, 15th May (Special) Chateaudun, 19th and 23rd May (Special) Groundmarking Marshalling Yards at Orleans, 28th May (Special) Groundmarking Gun Positions at St.Martin de Varreville, 7th June (Special) Groundmarking Railway Junction at Acheres, 8th June (Special) Groundmarking Railway Yards at Fougeres for 100 Heavies, 13th June (Special) Groundmarking Railway Yards at Arras, 14th June (Special) Groundmarking Railway Junction at Cambrai for 100 Heavies, 16th June (Special) Groundmarking Pilotless A/C launching and controlling site at Renescure for 80 Heavies, 23rd June (Special) Groundmarking Flying Bomb Site at Coubromme for 80 Heavies, 24th June (Special) Groundmarking Flying Bomb Site at Pommereval, 30th June (Special) Groundmarking Crossroads at Villers Bocage for 270 Heavies did not drop due to offensive action of 2 Spitfires, 6th July (Special) Groundmarking Flying Bomb site at Coquereaux, 7th July (Special) Groundmarking Railway yards at Vaires (Paris) for 120 Heavies, 18th July (Special) Groundmarking Enemy Troops Armour and Material at Mannerville S.E. of Galin, 19th July (Special) Deputy Leader of Formation of 8 Lancasters on Flying Bomb site at Rollez, 20th July (Special) Leading Formation of 8 Lancs of 156 Sqn to Flying Bomb site at Fort du Croc.

    After a break he resumes on the 24th March 1945 flying a Stirling as part of Operation Varsity tugging a Horsa containing a 75mm gun with crew together with a Jeep and crew to land North of Weisel. His final Op (89) was flying a Stirling to Gardemolen on the 11th May.

    He completed over 1,500 hours of flying.

    Wolstenholme was born in Worsley, Lancashire on the 17th July 1920. He attended Farnworth Grammar School, where Alan Ball, Jr. (on whom Wolstenholme commentated in the 1966 World Cup Final) was also a pupil some years later.

    Prior to the Second World War he started his career as a journalist with the Manchester City News, as a member of the RAFVR he was soon called up. He had a distinguished flying career during the war as noted above with the two awards for gallantry and the number of Special Operations he carried out as a Pilot.

    After the war, he became a freelance journalist, working for BBC Radio before moving to television in 1948. He lived in Worcester Park, Surrey. He covered the 1959 All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final between Kilkenny and Waterford for BBC Television, an experience which moved him to describe hurling as his second-favourite sport in the world after his first love, football.

    Wolstenholme is best remembered for his commentary of the 1966 Football World Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, specifically the impromptu words he used with impeccable timing as the match came to a conclusion during injury time, as a small pitch invasion took place just as Geoff Hurst scored to put England 4–2 ahead:

    Some people are on the pitch... they think it's all over... it is now!

    These have become some of the most famous words in British sport, and a well known phrase in modern English. Wolstenholme always said that it was just a natural verbal piecing together of the situation before him and it took years before he realised just how well it fitted.

    Wolstenholme commentated on English domestic football's most famous games of the 1950s and 1960s, including the first ever game featured on Match of the Day in 1964. He covered every FA Cup final between 1949 and 1971, the year of Arsenal's "double".

    For the BBC he commentated on the 1960 European Cup Final between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt at Hampden Park, widely regarded as one of the greatest football matches ever played. Further highlights include his presence in the Estádio Nacional in Lisbon as Celtic overcame Internazionale in the 1967 European Cup Final, at Wembley as Manchester United defeated Benfica to capture the 1968 European Cup and also the BBC's main man at the 1970 World Cup, commentating on the final between Brazil and Italy. He left the corporation in 1971 after David Coleman was installed as the BBC's top commentator, his final BBC commentary being on the 1971 European Cup final between Ajax and Panathinaikos at Wembley Stadium.

    Wolstenholme later commentated for Tyne Tees Television in the mid to late 1970s. After this, he went into semi-retirement, but re-appeared on TV to provide reports and occasional features for Channel 4 when they earned rights in the early 1990s to show Serie A games from Italy. He also took on an acting role, appearing in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series Lenin of the Rovers as football commentator Frank Lee Brian.

    In 1998, Wolstenholme made a special appearance in EA Sports' videogame World Cup 98, as the sole commentator on the game's classic World Cup matches, recreations of historic World Cup finals that included sepia-toned renditions of the 1930 and 1938 editions.

    He died in March 2002, aged 81.
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