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|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.|
First Lieutenant Bob Tierney
*Signature Value : £45
|Joining up in 1942, Bob Tierney arrived in Europe with the 422nd in 1944. Flying the P61 he flew his first combat mission on July 7th 1944, and during his tour completed a total of 53 combat missions, of which 16 were train strafing missions in Germany. On one occassion Pilot 1st Lt. Paul A. Smith and R/O 1st Lt. Robert E. Tierney followed a German aircraft to the ground, the German plane playing a game of tag, always staying safely ahead of the P–61, but never attempting to lose it either. After nearly thirty minutes of chase, Smith and Tierney found themselves at low altitude flying through a killing field of light German antiaircraft guns supported by searchlights. Having lost their port engine, the 422d Night Fighter Squadron (NFS) crew nursed the damaged Black Widow back to their home base. Though the P–61 bore eighty-seven holes, the Germans were unable to claim their prize. 1st Lts. Paul A. Smith and Robert E. Tierney became the first U.S. night aces the day after Christmas, shooting down two Ju 188s. First Lieutenant Bob Tierney finished the war an ace with 15 air victories. He retired from active duty in 1945. On one occassion Pilot 1st Lt. Paul A. Smith and R/O 1st Lt. Robert E. Tierney followed a German aircraft to the ground, the German plane playing a game of tag, always staying safely ahead of the P–61, but never attempting to lose it either. After nearly thirty minutes of chase, Smith and Tierney found themselves at low altitude flying through a “killing field” of light German antiaircraft guns supported by searchlights. Having lost their port engine, the 422d Night Fighter Squadron (NFS) crew nursed the damaged Black Widow back to their home base. Though the P–61 bore eighty-seven holes, the Germans were unable to claim their prize.|
Lieutenant Colonel Herman Ernst (deceased)
*Signature Value : £35
|Lt. Col. Herman E. Ernst Born in Philadelphia, his family moved here when he was very young and and he graduated from Central High School in 1936. He attended the University of Chattanooga briefly, before Enlisting in 1940, Herman Ernst arrived in the ETO with the 422nd during the build up to D-Day. He quickly got into action with his P61 Borrowed Time, shooting down a buzz bomb on his first combat mission. He finished the war an ace with 5 air victories and over 70 combat missions including hazardous ground support missions in the Battle of the Bulge. He was discharged from active service in 1945 but continued service in the Tennessee Air National Guard until 1978. He retained a life long passion for flying and was long and active member of the Chattanooga Flyers Club. Sadly Lt. Col. Herman E. Ernst died aged 85 on February 28th 2003.|
Major General Oris B Johnson (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Oris Baker Johnson was born in 1920 in Ashland, Louisiana. He graduated from high school in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1935 and entered Louisiana State Normal College where he majored in chemistry and physics. After receiving his bachelor of science degree in 1939, he taught for one year in Mer Rouge, Louisiana. Oris Baker Johnson entered the Army Air Corps in November 1940 as an aviation cadet and received pilot training at Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas. He graduated, receiving his wings in July 1941. He then served as a pilot at several air bases in the United States. He assumed command of the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron and took them into combat in Europe. The squadron was equipped with the P61 and under his command they received the Presidential Unit Citation for their combat service during the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944. He led the squadron throughout its combat operations in Europe. After the war he was assigned to the Tactical Air Command, and in July 1946 was transferred to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. Oris Baker Johnson was assigned in August 1947 to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, where he served in the Fighter Branch and later as chief of the Air Defense Division. During the Korean War in April 1951, he was assigned to Headquarters Far East Air Forces in Tokyo, Japan, and became director of requirements, Directorate of Operations. He returned to the United States in October 1953 to begin a series of assignments with Aerospace Defense Command (then Air Defense Command) and took command of the 501st Air Defense Group at OHare International Airport, Chicago. In January 1956 he was assigned to Air Defense Command Headquarters at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, where he served initially as chairman of the Distant Early Warning Operations Warning Group and then as special assistant to the deputy for operations. In August 1957 General Johnson was reassigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force and served in the Directorate of Operations and as chief, Weapons Systems Division in the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Air Defense Systems. During 1960 under the U.S. Air Force-Royal Air Force exchange program, he was a student at the Imperial Defence College in London, England. After completing the course, he assumed duty in December 1960 with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Wiesbaden, Germany. During this tour of duty he served as the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations. In August 1963 he returned to the United States as commander of the Washington Air Defense Sector based at Fort Lee, Virginia. In February 1966 General Johnson returned to Ent Air Force Base as director of operations for North American Air Defense and Continental Air Defense Command and in August 1966 he assumed command of the 9th Aerospace Defense Division, ADC. The division became the Fourteenth Aerospace Force in July 1968. He became commander of the 313th Air Division, with headquarters at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, in August 1969. General Johnson again was assigned to Aerospace Defense Command in September 1971 in the position of deputy chief of staff material, Aerospace Defense Command. General Johnson retired on the 1st of August 1973. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, French Croix de Guerre with star, and the Belgian Fourragere. Major General Johnson passed away on 14th September 1999.|
Major Robert Graham
*Signature Value : £40
|Robert Graham was a highly skilled radar operator on the P61, the first American fighter to be equipped with radar. Posted to England he served with the 422nd Night Fighter Squadron. Robert Graham and his pilot R A Anderson in their P61 Double Trouble had 5 confirmed victories and 65 combat missions. They also participated in the Battle of the Bulge, providing ground cover. He retired as Major in 1965.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Fw190||The Focke-Wulf 190 development project began in 1937. Conceived as a hedge against total dependence on the Messerchmitt 109, the 190 was designed by Kurt Tank utilizing a radial engine. This was against generally accepted design criteria in Germany, and many historians believe that the decision to produce a radial engine fighter was largely due to the limited manufacturing capacity for in-line, water-cooled engines which were widely used on all other Luftwaffe aircraft. Despite these concerns, Tanks design was brilliant, and the 190 would become one of the top fighter aircraft of WWII. The first prototype flew in mid-1939. The aircraft had excellent flying characteristics, a wonderful rate of acceleration, and was heavily armed. By late 1940 the new fighter was ordered into production. Nicknamed the butcher bird, by Luftwaffe pilots, early 190s were quite successful in the bomber interceptor role, but at this stage of the war many Allied bombing raids lacked fighter escort. As the war dragged on, Allied bombers were increasingly accompanied by fighters, including the very effective P-51 Mustang. The Allies learned from experience that the 190s performance fell off sharply at altitudes above 20,000 feet. As a result, most Allied bombing missions were shifted to higher altitudes when fighter opposition was likely. Kurt Tank had recognized this shortcoming and began working on a high-altitude version of the 190 utilizing an in-line, water-cooled engine. Utilizing a Jumo 12-cylinder engine rated at 1770-HP, and capable of 2,240-HP for short bursts with its methanol injection system, the 190D, or Long Nose or Dora as it was called, had a top speed of 426-MPH at 22,000 feet. Armament was improved with two fuselage and two wing mounted 20mm cannon. To accommodate the changes in power plants the Dora had a longer, more streamlined fuselage, with 24 inches added to the nose, and an additional 19 inches added aft of the cockpit to compensate for the altered center of gravity. By mid 1944 the Dora began to reach fighter squadrons in quantity. Although the aircraft had all the right attributes to serve admirably in the high altitude interceptor role, it was not generally focused on such missions. Instead many 190Ds were assigned to protect airfields where Me-262 jet fighters were based. This was due to the latter aircrafts extreme vulnerability to Allied attack during takeoff and landing. The 190Ds also played a major role in Operation Bodenplatte, the New Years Day raid in 1945 which destroyed approximately 500 Allied aircraft on the ground. The High Command was impressed with the 190Ds record on this raid, and ordered most future production of the Doras to be equipped as fighter-bombers. In retrospect this was a strategic error, and this capable aircraft was not fully utilized in the role for which it was intended.|
|Black Widow||The P-61 Black Widow built by Northrop was the first operational American military aircraft designed specifically to use the new technology of radar, The Black Widow twin engine, all-metal aircraft was used primarily as a night fighter by the United States Army Air Force squadrons in all theatres of world war two. It replaced earlier British-designed night-fighter aircraft that had been updated to incorporate radar when it became available. The P -61 Black Widow of the 548th NFS aircraft Lady in the Dark on the night of 14th August 1945, was unofficially credited with the last Allied air victory before victory over Japan was declared and the end of world war two.|
|Artist Details : Nicolas Trudgian|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Nicolas Trudgian|
Cranston Fine Arts have now taken over all remaining stocks of Nicolas Trudgian prints from his previous publishers. We have made available a great many prints that had not been seen for many years, and have uncovered some rarities which lay unnoticed during this transition.
Having graduated from art college, Nicolas Trudgian spent many years as a professional illustrator before turning to a career in fine art painting. His crisp style of realism, attention to detail, compositional skills and bright use of colours, immediately found favour with collectors and demand for his original work soared on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, more than a decade after becoming a fine art painter, Nicolas Trudgian is firmly established within a tiny, elite group of aviation artists whose works are genuinely collected world-wide. When he paints an aircraft you can be sure he has researched it in every detail and when he puts it over a particular airfield, the chances are he has paid it a recent visit. Even when he paints a sunset over a tropical island, or mist hanging over a valley in China, most probably he has seen it with his own eyes. Nick was born and raised in the seafaring city of Plymouth, the port from which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620, and where Sir Francis Drake played bowls while awaiting the Spanish Armada. Growing up in a house close to the railway station within a busy military city, the harbour always teeming with naval vessels and the skies above resonating with the sounds of naval aircraft, it was not at all surprising the young Nick became fascinated with trains, boats and aircraft. It was from his father, himself a talented artist, that Nick acquired his love of drawing and surrounded by so much that was inspiring, there was never a shortage of ideas for pictures. His talent began to show at an early age and although he did well enough at school, he always spent a disproportionate amount of time drawing. People talked about him becoming a Naval officer or an architect but in 1975 Nick's mind was made up. When he told his careers teacher he wanted to go to art school the man said, 'Now come on, what do you really want to do? After leaving school Nick began a one-year foundation course at the Plymouth College of Art. Now armed with an impressive portfolio containing paintings of jet aircraft, trains, even wildlife, he was immediately accepted at every college he applied to join. He chose a course at the Falmouth College of Art in Cornwall specialising in technical illustration and paintings of machines and vehicles for industry. It was perfect for Nick, and he was to become one of the star pupils. One of the lecturers commented at the time: Every college needs someone with a talent like Nick to raise the standards sky high; he carried all the other students along with him, and created an effect which will last for years to come. Two weeks after leaving art college Nick blew every penny he had on a trip to South Africa to ride the great steam trains across the desert, sketching them at every opportunity. Returning to England, in best traditions of all young artists, he struggled to make a living. Paintings by an unknown artist didn't fetch much despite the painstaking effort and time Nick put into each work, so when the college he had recently left offered him a job as a lecturer, he jumped at the chance. The money was good and he discovered that he really enjoyed teaching. Throughout the 1970s Nick was much involved with a railway preservation society near Plymouth and it was through the railway society that he had his first pictures reproduced as prints. But Nick felt he needed to advance his career and in summer 1985 Nick moved away from Cornwall to join an energetic new design studio in Wiltshire. Here he painted detailed artwork for many major companies including Rolls Royce, General Motors, Volvo Trucks, Alfa Romeo and, to his delight, the aviation and defence industries. He remembers the job as exciting though stressful, often requiring him to work right through the night to meet a client's deadline. Here he learned to be disciplined and fast. Towards the end of the 1980's Nick had the chance to work for the Military Gallery. This was the break that for years he had been striving towards and with typical enthusiasm, flung himself into his new role. After completing a series of aviation posters, including a gigantic painting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Royal Air Force, Nick's first aviation scene to be published as a limited edition was launched by the Military Gallery in 1991. Despite the fact he was unknown in the field, it was an immediate success. Over the past decade Nick has earned a special reputation for giving those who love his work much more than just aircraft in his paintings. He goes to enormous lengths with his backgrounds, filling them with interesting and accurate detail, all designed to help give the aircraft in his paintings a tremendous sense of location and purpose. His landscapes are quite breathtaking and his buildings demonstrate an uncanny knowledge of perspective but it is the hardware in his paintings which are most striking. Whether it is an aircraft, tank, petrol bowser, or tractor, Nick brings it to life with all the inordinate skill of a truly accomplished fine art painter. A prodigious researcher, Nick travels extensively in his constant quest for information and fresh ideas. He has visited India, China, South Africa, South America, the Caribbean and travels regularly to the United States and Canada. He likes nothing better than to be out and about with sketchbook at the ready and if there is an old steam train in the vicinity, well that's a bonus!
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