A R.F.C. Medal Group to Canadian Lieut. Wounded at Piave 1917
British War Medal (LIEUT. A.E. RYAN. R.A.F.); Victory Medal (LIEUT. A.E. RYAN. R.A.F.); and Italy (Kingdom): Altipiani Medal, Commemorative Medal for the 6th (Plateau) Army, Type I, Silver Grade (silver, 32 mm). Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, as worn by the veteran, original ribbons, dark patinas on the silver medals, contacts marks, very fine. Accompanied by a 10 mm x 104 mm ribbon bar with swing bar pinback, an RAF Eagle Cap Badge (bronze gilt, 13.2 mm x 50.5 mm, dual intact prongs) and a soft-covered binder containing four pages of his Service Records from the National Archives, along with assorted research papers. Footnote: Albert Edgar Ryan was from Brantford, Ontario. He was a Bookkeeper in his civilian life with George Foster & Son in Brantford, from December 1916 to June 1917, before he enlisted with the Army Air Corps and placed at Headquarters for training on November 22, 1917. He was posted to No. 2 School of Aviation Gunnery on March 16, 1918, having previously achieved the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, Canadian General List. Upon the formation of the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918, Ryan was named Lieutenant and posted to 139 Squadron on April 4, 1914. Ryan was transferred to No.34 Squadron on July 3rd. The Squadron had been formed at Castle Hooskow on January 7, 1916 from elements of No. 19 Squadron, Royal Air Force and went to France in July 1916 as a reconnaissance unit equipped with BE.2s, later receiving RE.8s in January 1917. Ryan, along with rest of No. 34 Squadron was transferred to the Italian front, flying reconnaissance and bomber missions until the end of the war. The Squadron was in Italy at the Battle of the Piave, the final throw of the Austro-Hungarian forces occupying part of northeastern Italy, when fifty-seven divisions attempted to take Allied positions and cross the River Piave. They were faced by fifty-eight Italian Divisions buttressed by three British and two French Divisions. The Italians had advance intelligence and bombarded the massed Austro-Hungarian troops in their start trenches before they could advance. It then rained heavily making the river treacherous. The British 23rd (Northern) and 48th (South Midland) Division defended the Asiago Plateau, suffering over three thousand casualties and gaining two Victoria Crosses. In all, Allied casualties exceeded eighty thousand men but Austro-Hungarian losses were larger still and they were never again able to mount a major offensive. Ryan was a recipient of the Altipiani Medal, Commemorative Medal for the 6th (Plateau) Army, which was not an official medal, created by the Italian authorities on the initiative of General Montuori, commander of the Italian 6th Army, and awarded early in 1919 to Italian, British and French officers of the forces that had fought in the Battle of the Piave, between June 15 and 24, 1918, the medal attributed only to officers. The following month, Ryan was wounded on July 29, 1918 and returned to No 139 Squadron, where he was admitted to No. 11 General Hospital on August 11th. Seventeen days later, he was evacuated to France on August 28th and admitted to hospital at the Mediterranean port of Marseilles on the 29th. Once his condition was stabilized, Ryan was invalided to England on September 15th and admitted to London Hospital the following day. Four months later, he was released due to ill health, contracted while on active service and permitted to retain his rank of Lieutenant on January 18, 1919. He is credited with having flown Curtis, BE.26s, RE.8s and Bristol Fighters.