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Homeward Bound by Nicolas Trudgian.
Breaching the Dams by Nicolas Trudgian.
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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.|
Air Marshal Sir Harold (Mick) Martin KCB CB DSO* AFC RAAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£80
|Born 27th February 1918, Australian Mick Martin joined the RAF in 1940 and had flown tours with 455 Squadron RAAF and 50 Squadron RAF before joining Guy Gibson at 617 Squadron. Pilot of AJ-P, Mick Martin was Deputy Leader of the Dams Raid and flew in Gibsons lead group. Third aircraft to attack the Mohne Dam, he was awarded the DSO for his part in the raid. Mick Martin later served with Leonard Cheshire, and went on to a distinguished career after the war. ADC to the Queen in 1963, he eventually retired from the RAF as an Air Marshal in 1974. Mick Martin died 3rd November 1988.|
Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£55
|He joined the RAFVR early in the war, serving with 50 and 106 Squadrons. When he joined 617 Squadron in 1943 he was the bomb aimer on Lancaster AJ-N piloted by Les Knight on the Dambusters raid. During that raid they first attacked the Mohne Dam and then went on to attack and actually breach the Eder Dam, for which he was awarded the DFC. Later in 1943 he was shot down but evaded capture and during a two month journey returned to England via Holland, France, Spain and Gibraltar. Sadly, Edward Johnson died 1st October 2002.|
Flight Sergeant Grant S McDonald RCAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£45
|Grant McDonald was the rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown. On the way to the Ruhr, the gunners shot up and damaged three trains in an eventful trip before reaching the Sorpe Dam. Sadly, we have learned that Grant S McDonald passed away in May 2012.|
Flying Officer Dave Rodger (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£60
|Born in Sault Ste marie, Ontario on February 23rd 1918, he son of a Scots carpenter, David Rodger was an avid collector of aeroplane magazines as a boy, that began his interest in flying. David Roger went to the local technical school, then worked for Algoma Steel while serving in the Canadian Militia. Rodger joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in October 1941 and trained as an air gunner before being commissioned as pilot officer, and then arriving in England in 1942. David Rodger converted to Lancaster bombers, and joined No 97 Squadron at Woodhall Spa near Lincoln, and it was here he teamed up with McCarthy. During their time with 97 squadron they attacked the main industrial cities on the Rhur and also Hamburg and Berlin. By the time they joined No 617 Squadron, they were recognised as an experienced crew. Rodger and McCarthy had already completed more than 20 bombing raids together when they were selected to join No 617 Squadron, forming at RAF Scampton in March 1943 under the command of Wing Commander Guy Gibson. David Rodger was the rear gunner in Big Joe McCarthy's Lancaster, which attacked the Sorpe Dam during Operation Chastise, the Dam Buster raid of May 16th 1943. On the night of the raid their aircraft was unservicable due to an engine problem, so they took the reserve aircraft which had been fitted with the upkeep bouncing bomb, but not had time to be fitted with the crucial spoptlights which were used to keep the aircraft at the height of 60 feet. As McCarthy took the bomber across the coast at 100ft, Rodger, in the rear turret, was soon in action trying to douse the searchlights before having a lively exchange with a light flak gun. By the time they arrived at the Sorpe, McCarthy's men were the only survivors of the team charged with attacking the dam, which was shrouded in mist as they arrived. With a tall church spire on the approach and a hill to be avoided after the attack, McCarthy had great difficulty getting into position to drop the mine. The lack of the height-finding spotlights made the job almost impossible. The crew made nine dummy attacks before releasing their weapon accurately at last. But the force of the explosion was insufficient to breach the earth dam, and McCarthy and his men set course for base. After the success of the Dam raids 617 squadron now under the command of Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire specialised in the attack of pinpoint targets, and Cheshire and his four senior crews from the dam buster raid developed daring and accurate low-level target-marking techniques. Rodger was appointed the gunnery leader of the squadron in September. Rodger then attacked targets in Italy, and made pinpoint raids against viaducts and the huge concrete constructions associated with the V-1 rocket programme in the Pas de Calais. In addition to their marker role, the Lancasters of No 617 carried the massive 12,000-ton Tallboy bomb, which was used to devastating effect against V-sites and railway tunnels. During the night of June 5 1944, 16 Lancasters of No 617 carried out a unique operation, dropping a dense screen of "window" (foil strips) which advanced slowly across the Channel to simulate a large convoy of ships approaching the French coast between Boulogne and Le Havre, north of the real invasion area. After 14 months on No 617, McCarthy and his crew were finally rested in July 1944. Rodger, who had flown 50 bombing operations, including 24 with No 617, was awarded the DFC for his calm resolution in the face of the heaviest opposition, which has been an inspiration to his crew. Rodger returned to Canada in September 1944, where he married, and was released from the RCAF the following year. He returned to work at Algoma Steel, where he became a superintendent. Always a keen outdoorsman, he loved fishing and played his last game of ice hockey at 84. David Rodger died on September 1st 2004 in Canada aged 86.|
Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF
*Signature Value : ¬£45
|†Doc Sutherland was the front gunner on Les Knights Lancaster AJ-N that went to the Mohne Dam, and then successfully attacked and breached the Eder Dam. Shot down four months later, he managed to evade capture and escape back to England with the help of the Resistance movements, returning through Holland, France and Spain.|
Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£45
|Ray Grayston had been serving in 50 Squadron when he was posted to 617 Squadron in March 1943. The flight engineer of Les Knights Lancaster AJ-N, they attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam, Ray was shot down on 16th September 1943, and was taken to Stalag Luft III as a POW. Sadly, we have learned that Ray Grayston passed away on 15th April 2010.|
Squadron Leader David J Shannon DSO* DFC* RAAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£80
|Born 27th May 1922 in Australia, Dave Shannon joined the RAAF in 1941, and trained as a pilot. He flew an extended tour of 36 operations with 106 Squadron RAF before being chosen for 617 Squadron. Pilot of Lancaster AJ-L in Gibsons group, he was called off as he began his run on the Mohne Dam after the breach became apparent, but flew on and was the first pilot to attack the Eder Dam. Awarded a DSO for the Dams operation, he later served as Deputy to Leonard Cheshire, flying Mosquitos on what was by then his third tour. He later served with 511 and 246 Squadrons, and returned to Australia after the war. David Shannon died in 1993.|
Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM
*Signature Value : ¬£40
|Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthys Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.|
Squadron Leader Ken Brown CGM RCAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£65
|Born 20th August 1920. Joined the Canadian Air Force in 1941, and joined No.617 Sqn in 1943. Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-F, he attacked the Sorpe Dam. Ken Brown died 23rd December 2002.|
Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : ¬£45
|New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after heavy flak damage over Holland had rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation. Squadron Leader Les Munro, who has died aged 96, was the last surviving pilot to have taken part on the Dambusters raid, which attacked the Ruhr Dams in May 1943. His Lancaster was one of the first to take off on the night of May 16. Their target was the Sorpe Dam. Flying at very low level over the Dutch island of Vlieland, the bomber was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. The radios and electrical system were disabled but, crucially, so was the intercommunication system between members of the crew. Without this it was impossible to carry out the precise attack from a height of 60 feet, so with great reluctance, Munro turned for his home base at Scampton, near Lincoln, still with his bouncing bomb on board. John Leslie Munro was born on April 5 1919 at Gisborne, New Zealand, where his Scottish father had emigrated in 1903. He worked as a farmer before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in July 1941. He trained initially in New Zealand and then in Canada, where he completed his qualification as a pilot. On arrival in England he trained on bombers before joining No 97 Squadron, which had recently been re-equipped with the Lancaster. After an operation to drop mines in the sea-lanes to German occupied ports, Munro attacked industrial cities in Germany during the so-called Battle of the Ruhr when Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were among his targets. He also flew on two raids to Berlin and attacked targets in Italy. He and his crew were approaching the end of their tour of operations (30 sorties) when volunteers were called for to form a new squadron for a special operation. Munro discussed it with his crew and they agreed to apply. A few days later, on March 25, they arrived at Scampton to join X Squadron on its formation, later to become No 617. Soon after leaving No. 97 Squadron, Munro was awarded the DFC for pressing home his attacks with great courage and determination. Within days of arriving at Scampton, all the crews were practising intensive low-level flying including runs over lakes and reservoirs when high-tension cables, barrage balloons and birds were an ever-present hazard. During a trial flight with the Upkeep bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis, Munro was flying below the prescribed height of 60 feet when a great plume of water made by the bomb as it made its first bounce damaged the tailplane of his Lancaster. After the Dams Raid, Munro remained on No 617. The squadron suffered further heavy losses and morale was badly affected. Under the leadership of its new commanding officer, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, Munro was made a flight commander. The other two flight commanders were Dave Shannon, an Australian, and the American Joe McCarthy and these three, under Cheshires inspiring leadership, created one of the most effective squadrons to serve in Bomber Command. Cheshire described his three flight commanders as the backbone of the squadron. Of the three, the slow speaking, taciturn New Zealander was the least flamboyant, but his rock steady dependability and utter reliability were an inspiration to his young crews. Cheshire was dissatisfied with the marking of targets by the Pathfinder Force and he developed his own low-level marking technique that proved highly successful. Munro dropped flares from high level and Cheshire dived beneath them to accurately mark the targets for the following bombers. On the eve of D-day on June 5 1944, No 617 flew Operation Taxable, a complex flight requiring extremely accurate flying, navigation and timing. Munro, with Cheshire as his co-pilot, was flying one of the lead aircraft, which flew a series of orbits as it advanced across the English Channel towards the Pas de Calais dropping window (reflective metal strips) to simulate an amphibious landing force approaching the area. This deception created doubt in the Germans minds as to where the Allied landing was taking place and delayed the despatch of reinforcements to Normandy. After the landings, the squadron flew in support of troops establishing the bridgehead. On the night of June 8 , it had a spectacular success when Munro dropped one of the new 12,000-lb Tallboy bombs, which completely destroyed the Saumur railway tunnel. On the following nights he dropped Tallboys on the E-boat pens at Le Havre and Boulogne before attacking the V-weapon sites at Wizernes and Mimoyecques. After this latter raid, his 55th, he and his fellow flight commanders were retired. He had recently been awarded the DSO, his citation concluding with the words, His achievements have been worthy of the greatest praise. Munro finished the war in command of a Bomber Defence Training Flight. He returned to New Zealand and left the RNZAF in February 1946 as a squadron leader. Munro made a major contribution to community life in New Zealand and was Mayor of Tekuiti from 1978 to 1995. He was awarded the Queens Service Order in 1981 and appointed Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to local government and community. Munro retained strong links with his old squadron and made a number of trips to the United Kingdom on special anniversaries. He was present when the Queen dedicated the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park in 2012. In 2015 he placed his medals with an auction house to raise money for the maintenance of the memorial. At the last minute, Lord Ashcroft stepped in to stop the sale, offering to donate £75,000 to the memorials upkeep if Munro gifted his medals to the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. Squadron Leader Les Munro, born April 5 1919, died August 4 2015.|
|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 : Gerald Coulson|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Gerald Coulson|
Gerald Coulson has been painting professionally for over 30 years and has a reputation that is second to none. Entirely self taught, he developed his technique to such a high standard that his work was published as fine art prints, enabling him to begin a full time painting career in 1969. Since that time his work, covering many different subjects, has been published and marketed worldwide as both open and limited edition prints. Gerald has had many one-man shows both in the UK and the USA and his work has been extensively exhibited throughout the world. A recent one man show of his in the UK attracted more than 3000 people in two days. The Fine Art Trade Guild have placed him in the top ten best selling artists no less than fifteen times - three times at number one. Coulson's passion for aircraft stems from childhood. This passion led to an apprenticeship as an aircraft engineer after which he served in the RAF as a technician and with British Airways as an engineer at Heathrow. His knowledge of aircraft engineering, combined with his drawing ability, led to him becoming a Technical Illustrator of service manuals for Civil and Military aircraft. These experiences and technical background have allowed him an insight and intimate knowledge of the aircraft he paints. Along with a unique ability to capture these aircraft on canvas this naturally led to a painting career which he has developed to successfully cover a wide variety of subjects. Following a trip to the 1991 British Grand Prix his interest in Motor racing was fuelled. His ability to capture the technical detail and a talent for painting subjects at speed meant that this was a perfect natural progression alongside his aviation work and he is now also firmly established as one of the worlds leading motor racing artists. A Vice President and founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists he is a four times winner of the Flight International Trophy for outstanding aviation painting. He qualified for his pilots licence in 1960 and is still actively flying today - mostly vintage aircraft, and can often be seen buzzing over the Fens of Cambridgeshire in a Tiger Moth. Whatever the subject he paints, whether aviation, landscape or portrait, his unique ability to capture the realism and 'mood'of the scene is unsurpassed, making him one of the most widely collected and highly regarded artists in the world today.
More about Gerald Coulson
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