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Launch Against the Bismarck by Robert Taylor.

Launch Against the Bismarck by Robert Taylor.

Late in the day on May 26, 1941, in deteriorating weather, 15 Fairey Swordfish biplanes launched from the heaving deck of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal. Each was armed with a single torpedo, its task to halt the escape of the battleship Bismarck. The navy pilots knew they must succeed before dark: by the following morning the German battleship would reach the protection of Luftwaffe aircraft based in France. Contending with turbulence and sea spray, one by one the Swordfish made their attack, running in just feet above the waves. The frail biplanes were met with a barrage of murderous gunfire, Bismarck bringing all possible armament to bear. Attempting to avoid the in-coming attack, the 42,000 ton battleship was in a high-speed turn when a torpedo from a Number 2 subflight Swordfish struck her steering gear. The explosion irreparably jammed her rudder over 12 degrees sealing the fate of the mighty warship. Unable to steer, all she could do was await the dawn and the arrival of the British Home Fleet.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : RST0029Launch Against the Bismarck by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
PRINTSigned limited edition of 500 prints.

Paper size 34 inches x 26 inches (86cm x 66cm) Moffat, John William Jock
Bailey, Leslie Bill
Jackson, Patrick Bernard Pat
Glick, Philip David Percy
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : 180
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling

Since this edition is sold out and no other editions are available, here is a similar item which may be of interest :

Against All Odds - Attack on the Scharnhorst by Ivan Berryman.


Bismarck by Ivan Berryman.


Signatures on this item
*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.
Commander Patrick Bernard Pat Jackson RN (deceased)
*Signature Value : 40

HMS Victorious - 825 Squadron FAA. Pilot H. Born 25th May 1917, Pat Jackson became a Fleet Air Arm Pilot and on the 6th of August 1940 joined 825 Squadron onbaord HMS Furious until February 1941. He transferred to HMS Victorious where on the 24th of May 1941, Jackson along with his crew A/S-Lt. David Anthony Berrill, RN and LA F. G. Sparkes participated in the attack on the Bismarck in Swordfish 5H:V4337 along with another 8 Swordfish from 825 squadron. On the 5th of July 1941 Jackson transferred to 768 Squadron at HMS Condor (air station at Arbroath) and on the 15th of March 1942, Patrick Bernard Jackson became Commanding Officer of 768 Squadron. He moved to HMS Daedalus (RN air station at Lee-on-Solonet) in February 1943 and again transferred in March 1943 to HMS Saker (as part of the British Admiralty Delegation, Washington, DC) until March 1944. when he became Lieutenant Commander (Flying), HMS Searcher (escort carrier) until July 1945. Sadly Commander Patrick Bernard Jackson passed away on the 2nd of October 2004.

The signature of Lieutenant Commander John William Jock Moffat RN

Lieutenant Commander John William Jock Moffat RN
*Signature Value : 70

John Moffat was born in Kelso in 1919 and at the outbreak of WWII, was sent to Sydenham, Belfast where a training school, set up by Short Brothers, was based. John learnt to fly in a Miles Magister. During 1939, he was sent to No.1 Flying Training School at Netheravon and here he was taught to fly advanced open-cockpit aircraft such as Hawker Hinds and Audaxes. Commissioned into the RNVR as a sub-lieutenant he was moved to Eastlee (now Southampton Airport) to the Naval Fighter School, learning fighter techniques in Blackburn Skuas and Rocs and the well-known Gloster Gladiator. In 1940, John was moved to Sanderling, the Royal Naval air station at Abbotsinch (now known as Glasgow Airport). In 1941, on board HMS Ark Royal stationed at Gibraltar, they were ordered to assist in the hunt for Bismarck and Prinz Eugen. The aircraft headed first to HMS Sheffield who gave them signals by Aldis Lamp on the position of the Bismarck. John Moffat served on HMS Ark Royal, HMS Argus, HMS Furious and HMS Formidable, and served with 759 Sqn, 818 Sqn, 820 Sqn and 824 Sqn.
Lieutenant Leslie Bill Bailey RN
*Signature Value : 40

HMS Victorious - 825 Squadron FAA Observer
Rear Admiral Philip David Percy Glick CBE OBE DSC
*Signature Value : 30

HMS Victorious - 825 Squadron FAA. Pilot F
The Aircraft :
SwordfishTorpedo bomber and reconnaissance biplane, crewed by three, with a top speed of 154mph, reduced to 136mph as a float plane. Maximum ceiling 19,000 feet, reduced as a float plane. Armed with a .303 Vickers machine gun fixed forward and one in the rear cockpit. One 1610lb torpedo or up to 1500lb bomb load. At the outbreak of world war two the fleet air arm had 13 operational squadrons. The Fairey Swordfish has earned its place in history for major contributions to naval warfare, during the Norwegian campaign, and especially during the raid on Taranto. In November1940, twenty Swordfish took off from HMS Illustrious to attack the Italian fleet in their Harbour of Taranto. At Least nine torpedoes hit their targets. Seven Italian ships were badly damaged including the battleships, Caio Duillio, Littorio and Conte De Cavour. This was followed in February 1942, by a heroic but suicidal attack on German battlecruisers in the English Channel by six Swordfish of 825 squadron from RAF Manston. All aircraft and crews were lost. This resulted in a Victoria Cross for the leader Lieutenant Commander E Esmonde. The next major event was the torpedo attack on the Bismarck by Swordfish from HMS Ark Royal, which badly damaged the steering gear of the Bismarck which helped in the final destruction of the German battleship by Royal Navy battleships. The Fairey Swordfish was also used in anti-submarine and anti-shipping roles. The Swordfish sunk more enemy ships (by tonnage) than any other aircraft acting in the same role. By the end of the war the Fleet Air Arm still had nine active squadrons, but these were finally disbanded in May 1945. A total of 2399 Swordfish were built.
Artist Details : Robert Taylor
Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor

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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