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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.|
|Flight Lieutenant Mervyn Ingmire DFC|
*Signature Value : £15
|As a young man, Mervyn Ingmire witnessed the great air battles over London and Kent during August 1940 from his home in Margate. He volunteered for the RAF and while waiting to be called for aircrew training he saw the huge German raids being intercepted by RAF fighters and watched Ju87s dive-bombing Manston airfield. He joined 115 Squadron in 1941 at Marham, flying Wellingtons and had completed a full tour of operations by April 1942. After a spell on Whitleys in the Western Desert and Mediterranean theatre during 1943, he joined 83 Squadron at Coningsby, part of the 5 Group Lancaster Pathfinder Force. In late December 1944, his aircraft, PB533 OL-Q, was diverted to Metheringham on return from a mission to bomb the synthetic oil refineries at Politz. Short of fuel, the Lancaster crashed while attempting to land in early morning fog, killing the other seven crew of the Lancaster (Squadron Leader Leslie Hatcher DFC AFM, Flight Sergeant H J Naldrett, Flight Lieutenant A J Booker DFC, Pilot Officer E Marron, Wireless Operator R F Goodman, Flight Lieutenant C Summerscales DFC and Wireless Operator F J Bell), but Ingmire was rescued from the wreckage and despite terrible injuries, he survived. After the war Mervyn Ingmire enjoyed a career in the motor industry before retiring to live in Norfolk and sharpen his bridge-playing skills.|
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham GCB CBE DFC AFC FRAeS
*Signature Value : £25
|Michael Beetham volunteered for the RAFVR in May 1941. After pilot training he was commissioned, and in November 1943 posted to 50 Squadron flying Lancasters at Skellingthorpe. At this time the bomber offensive was at its height, culminating in the Battle of Berlin. Sir Michael and his crew made ten trips to Berlin, lost an engine over Augsburg and took heavy damage during an attack on Leipzig. After completing his first tour and a period of instructing, Sir Michael started his second tour with 57 Squadron at East Kirby, taking part in Operation Exodus, bringing home Prisoners of War from Germany. After a distinguished post war career, Sir Michael received the RAFs top job, Chief of the Air Staff, where he was deeply involved in the Falklands War.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Lancaster||The Avro Lancaster arose from the avro Manchester and the first prototype Lancaster was a converted Manchester with four engines. The Lancaster was first flown in January 1941, and started operations in March 1942. By March 1945 The Royal Air Force had 56 squadrons of Lancasters with the first squadron equipped being No.44 Squadron. During World War Two the Avro Lancaster flew 156,000 sorties and dropped 618,378 tonnes of bombs between 1942 and 1945. Lancaster Bomberss took part in the devastating round-the-clock raids on Hamburg during Air Marshall Harris' "Operation Gomorrah" in July 1943. Just 35 Lancasters completed more than 100 successful operations each, and 3,249 were lost in action. The most successful survivor completed 139 operations, and the Lancaster was scrapped after the war in 1947. A few Lancasters were converted into tankers and the two tanker aircraft were joined by another converted Lancaster and were used in the Berlin Airlift, achieving 757 tanker sorties. A famous Lancaster bombing raid was the 1943 mission, codenamed Operation Chastise, to destroy the dams of the Ruhr Valley. The operation was carried out by 617 Squadron in modified Mk IIIs carrying special drum shaped bouncing bombs designed by Barnes Wallis. Also famous was a series of Lancaster attacks using Tallboy bombs against the German battleship Tirpitz, which first disabled and later sank the ship. The Lancaster bomber was the basis of the new Avro Lincoln bomber, initially known as the Lancaster IV and Lancaster V. (Becoming Lincoln B1 and B2 respectively.) Their Lancastrian airliner was also based on the Lancaster but was not very successful. Other developments were the Avro York and the successful Shackleton which continued in airborne early warning service up to 1992.|
|Artist Details : Michael Rondot|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Michael Rondot|
Michael Rondot is well known in the military aviation world for his distinctive style of aircraft paintings and prints which have made him one of todays most widely collected aviation artists. During his 25 year career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force he flew over 5000 hours in combat jets, including Jaguar fighter bombers during the Gulf War, bringing a unique authority to his paintings that sets them in a class of their own. His portrayals of classic combat aircraft are much sought-after by both aviators and enthusiasts alike for their realism and powerful atmospheric settings.
More about Michael Rondot
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