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|*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.|
Brigadier General Joseph J Foss (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|Born 17th April 1915. He ws awarded his wings in May 1941, becoming a Marine Corps pilot leading a unit of Wildcat fighters which accounted for 72 enemy aircraft. Involved in the defence of Guadalcanal from the Japanese, he was forced to ditch into the sea, being rescued by local islanders before subsequently being picked up by a Catalina two weeks later. Later, defending Henderson Field from a large formation of enemy bombers and their accompanying fighters, he refused to allow his unit to be lured into combat with the enemy fighters, instead waiting for the escorting aircraft to run out of fuel and turn back, forcing the now unescorted bombers to also turn back. Joe Foss died 1st January 2003. Born into a farming family in South Dakota in 1915, Joseph Foss would go on to become the USMCs highest scoring fighter pilot of WW II. He would also become the first aviator to equal the WW 1 victory record of Captain Eddle Rickenbacker, and the first USMC aviator to become an ace in a day. A recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Joe Foss would be credited with 26 aerial victories while flying the F4F Wildcat with VMF-121 based at Henderson Field in Guadacanal in 1942 and early 1943. All this success did not come easily to Foss. Growing up during the difficult days of the Great Depression, the young Foss realized that to become a military aviator he would have to attend college. Following his graduation from the University of South Dakota, Foss entered the naval aviation cadet program in 1940. With Americas entry into WWII Foss was assigned to a photo reconnaissance unit. Foss was disappointed with this assignment and worked hard at convincing others that he was destined to be a fighter pilot. Logging nearly three hours of flying time per day in an F4F, the skills and dedication of this aspiring fighter pilot were soon noticed. Foss was assigned to VMF- 121 as the Executive Officer of the squadrons C.O. Captain L.K. Davis. The squadron was sent on its initial combat tour in the fall of 1942. Twenty Wildcats were transported by escort carrier to Guadacanal and were catapulted off for the flight to Henderson Field. Foss flight became known as Uoes Flying Circus, and 61.5 victories would be credited to this flight, with four other pilots becoming aces. Although air defense was the primary role of VMF-121, some ground support missions were also flown. The squadrons successes were not without a price, and more than 20% of VMF-121s pilots did not return from the combat tour at Guadacanal. In November Foss flew a mission against a large Japanese convoy near the Russell Islands. During this mission Lt. Col. Bauer was downed. Foss returned to Henderson Field and flew back to the site where Bauer was downed in a Grumman Duck. Unable to locate his downed comrade because of darkness, Foss returned at dawn. Unfortunately, Bauer was never found. Foss had fought recurring battles against malaria while on Guadacanal. He had lost 37 pounds. With the destruction of the Japanese convoy Foss along with several other pilots of VMF121 got some much needed R&R in Australia. While in Australia Foss met two of the leading Australian aces Clive Caldwell and Keith Truscott. Joe was disturbed by the attitude of the Australians that the Japanese must be second rate opponents. Returning to Guadacanal on New Years Day 1943, combat sorties resumed. On January 25 Foss flew his last mission at Guadacanal, but did not engage the enemy. Problems with malaria continued to plague the USMCs top ace, and he was unable to make a second combat tour. Following the War Foss helped organize the South Dakota Air National Guard. He remained active in the reserve finally retiring with the rank of Brigadier General. Foss had successful careers in professional sports, politics (Governor of South Dakota), and commercial aviation. He also was instrumental in the formation of the American Fighter Aces Association, and has served as President of the National Rifle Association.|
Major General Marion Carl (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55
|Born in Hubbard, Oregon on the 1st ofNovember 1915, Carl learned to fly when he was at college and went solo after only 2 and half hours of instrruction. Marion Carl went to Oregon State College to study engineering and graduated in 1938 as a Lieutenenat in the Army Reserve, but resigned his commission to become a naval aviation cadet and in December 1939 he received his "wings of gold" and a Marine Corp commission. Marion Carl was posted to (VMF- 1) Marine Fighting Squadron One in Virginia at Quantico. In 1940 he became a instructor to train new pilots for Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221 ) at NAS North Island in San Diego, California. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the 7th December 1941, Carl's squadron VMF-221 were preparing to embark aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) bound for Oahu, Hawaii. Carl along with the rest of the squadron were rushed to Hawaii and became part of the Wake Island Relief Task Force. He was still onboard the carrier Saratoga when the relief force was cancelled, and VMF-221 went to Midway Atoll on Christmas Day. Carl's first combat occured on June 4th 1942 during the Battle of Midway, when 15 of the 25 aircraft of VMF-221 were shot down but, Carl was credited with destroying one enemy aircraft, a Mitsubishi Zero. Carl was reassigned to VMF-223 Marine Fighting Squadron 223 which was commanded by a former squadron mate from VMF-221, Capt. John Smith. On August 20th, VMF-223 was deployed to Guadalcanal and was the first fighter sqaudron ashore with the Cactus Air Force. Between the end of August and the end of October Marion Carl became the Marines' first ace, when Carl had reached 16.5 victories though he was shot down once and was forced to bail out. It is believed Marion Carl was the pilot who shot down the famous Japanese Navy Tainan Kokutai ace Junicho Sasai over Henderson Field. By the end of the war Carl would increase his air victories to 18.5 victories. In 1947 he broke the speed record and in 1953 held the world altitude record. During a second test pilot tour, Carl set an unofficial altitude record of 83,000 feet in the Douglas D-558/II. He was the first pilot to be launched from a carrier by catapult. He had 490 hours in the Phantom I, flying combat recon flights over Red China. Commanding air wings in Vietnam in 1965, he took the First Marine Brigade to Danang, South Vietnam. Despite his seniority, he repeatedly flew combat missions in Helicopter gunships and jet fighters. General Carl received his second star as a Major General in 1967. In 1968 he commanded the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Herry Point until 1970. Subsequently he served as Inpector General of the Marine Corps until retiring in 1973. At that time he had logged some 13,000 flying hours, more than twice as much as most. He flew the F-4 regularly - one of the few Generals to do so. In 1998, on June 28th at age 82, Major General Marion Carl was shot to death with a shotgun during a robbery, defending his wife Edna from a home invader. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetary.|
Saburo Sakai (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70
|This legendary Zero pilot graduated into the Japanese air force in 1937 and he scored his first victory in the China War. On December 8, 1941, Sakai participated in the raid on Clark Field and, on December 10, led the attack on Kellys B-17. He fought in New Guinea against the 8th Fighter Group, B-26s of the 22nd Bomb Group, and 75 Sqn RAAF. Badly wounded in August 1942 over Guadalcanal he was hospitalized and lost the sight of his right eye. He was pressed back into service and claimed 5 Hellcats in the final days. In over 200 combats, Sakai never lost a wingman and destroyed 64 enemy aircraft. Saburo Sakai is the Highest-scoring Japanese ace to survive the War. Sakal flew with the Imperial Navy as a noncommissioned officer in China where he attained two victories. While stationed at Tainan on Formosa, Sakais unit was involved in the attacks on American airfields in the Philippines shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese pilots had developed fuel-saving, low-speed, tactics with their Mitsubishi Zero fighters, which allowed them to make the 1200-mile round-trip flight to the Philippines, while accompanying Japanese bombers. The appearance of Japanese aircraft from bases which were thought to be out of range came as an unpleasant surprise to American forces. During this mission S akal bagged a p-40 over Clark field. During the days that would follow, Sakai's squadron would repeatedly make the long flight to the Philippines to support the advancing Japanese invasion force that was disembarking. On December 10, 1941 while patrolling at 18,000 feet, Sakal saw several bombs explode near Japanese convoy ships. Noticing a lone B-17 Flying Fortress, Sakal and nine other Zeros made for the American Bomber at full throttle. Overtaking the bomber, believed to be the one piloted by Colin Kelly, Sakal and the other Japanese fighters poured fire into the aircraft from behind. Finally, the overmatched bomber began to go down. Eight of its crew bailed out before the aircraft crashed short of Clark Field. Sakal would later have another encounter with b- 1 7s over Borneo. However, these would be later model aircraft fitted with a rear gunner's turret, and would prove to be much more difficult to bring down. In early 1942 Sakai's unit was shifted to supporting the Japanese invasion of Java. Encountering outclassed Brewster Buffaloes, P-36s, P-40s, and some Hurricanes, the Japanese fighter forces wreaked havoc in the skies. Sakai's victory tally rose to thirteen. A few months later Sakal was involved in fighting around Rabaul. This was the first time the Japanese would meet stiff resistance. In many months of fighting the Japanese forces sustained meaningful casualties. On July 22, 1942 Sakal chased a Lockheed Hudson, whose pilot put on a daring series of aerial maneuvers, before finally being downed by the Japanese ace, for his 4C Victory. In late July the morale of the Japanese fighter forces suffered a serious setback with the realization that American carrierbased aircraft were now involved in the battles in New Guinea. The Japanese forces had in fact not obtained the decisive victory that they had been told was achieved at the Battle of Midway. With the American attack on Guadalcanal, Sakai's unit was refocused on flying 11 00-mile escort missions for Japanese Bombers attacking American forces at Guadalcanal. On one of these missions Sakai mistakenly attacked a formations of Avengers. Hit by fire from the rear gunners of the torpedo bombers, Sakal was badly injured, losing sight in one eye. He successfully nursed his aircraft back to Rabaul. After recovering from his injuries, Sakai would be involved as a flight instructor and test pilot until the Japanese surrender. Saburo Sakai passed away 22nd September 2000.|
|Shiro Ishikawa (deceased)|
*Signature Value : £60
|Ishikawa became the first Zero Pilot to be captured by Allies. Lieut. Jack Conger of VFM-212 shot down a Zero and rammed the tail of another on the Dugout Sunday. Conger parachuted but the Japanese pilot crashed with his plane. While Conger was in the water waiting to be rescued the pilot of another enemy plane, Shiro Ishikawa, drifted down and landed within half a mile of him. After the boat picked up Conger the crew went on to rescue Shiro Ishikawa, who had determined not to be rescued. He swam away but the boat overtook him. When he was being hauled on board, he whipped out his pistol to shoot Conger but it did not go off. Then Ishikawa tried to shoot himself, but the pistol again failed to fire. By this time Conger's patience was exhausted so with the help of an enlisted man, knocked Ishikawa unconscious and pulled him into the boat and so the first Zero Pilot was taken prisoner of war. Shiro Ishikawa passed away in December 2002.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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