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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.|
Brigadier General Robin Olds (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55
|After leaving West Point in June 1943, Robin Olds was posted to the 479th Fighter Group in England, joining 434 Squadron. Based at Wattisham in East Anglia, and flying P-38s, he was involved in heavy bomber escort duties and fighter sweeps until the Normandy invasion, soon after which his Squadron converted to P51 Mustangs. by early 1945 Robin Olds was in command of 434 Squadron taking part in the Battle of the Bulge, flying escort missions, and providing air support to the airborne attack across the Rhine. At the end of World War II Robin Olds had 24.5 victories, of which 13 were in the air. Later in Vietnam Robin Olds gained four more victories, flying F4 Phantoms and flew with the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. Sadly, Robin Olds passed away on 14th June 2007.|
Captain Robert P Winks (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45
|Robert Winks joined the service in 1943, and after training was posted to England. Flying his first combat mission in July 1944, he served with the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. His year long tour in Europe took in the heavy fighting over the Battle of the Bulge, the missions to support the Arnhem operations, and the Battle of Berlin, when the 357th destroyed 56 enemy aircraft. During this time he flew some 69 combat missions. His personal P-51D was 'Trusty Rusty'. His victories included an Me262 jet fighter claimed on 15th January 1945. Sadly, he died on 19th May 2008.|
Colonel C E Bud Anderson
*Signature Value : £50
|Bud Anderson went to England with the 357th Fighter Group in 1943, the first Eighth Air Force Group to be equipped with the P-51 Mustang. He got himself on the score sheet on one of the first Berlin missions, dog fighting with a bunch of Me109s who had set upon a straggling B-17. On 29th June 1944, leading his squadron on a mission to Leipzig, they ran into a formation of Fw190s. In the ensuing battle Anderson shot down the leader, and two more Fw190s. After a short rest in the U.S., Bud returned for a second tour, just in time for the 357th's big day on 27th November 1944. With the 353rd they took on a huge formation of some 200 enemy fighters, Anderson adding three more to his score. He finished the war with 16 air victories and many more probables.|
Colonel Walker Bud Mahurin (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70
|Walker Melville "Bud" Mahurin was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan on 5th December 1918. He joined the Army reserves on 29th September 1941 and entered flight training, being commissioned as a pilot on the 29th of April 1942 at Ellington Field Texas. 'Bud' Mahurin gained a reputation as one of the USAAF's most colourful fighter Aces. Arriving in the European theatre, flying with the 56th Fighter Group at Boxted, England, on the 17th of August the 56th Fighter group flew escort for the Eighth Air Force Bombers whose mission was to bomb Schweinfurt and Regensburg. They encountered a large force of German fighters and Bud Mahurin shot down two Fw190s. He went on to become an Ace on the 4th of October, and by the end of November he had achieved 10 kills. Bud Mahurin was promoted to Major on the 21st of March 1944. On the 27th of March he shared a victory of a Do217 but was hit by the bomber and was forced to bail out of his Thunderbolt, when his aircraft was set ablaze by the gunfire. Mahurin evaded the Germans with help of the French resistance and returned to Britian. He had by this time shot down 20 German aircraft. He then transferred to the south west Pacific Commanding the 3rd Air Commando Squadron where he added a Japanese aircraft to his score, shooting down a KI-46 Dinah, making hinm one of very few American pilots to shoot down German and Japanese aircraft. Mahurin saw combat from New Guinea to Okinawa. After this tour he returned to the US and was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel. After the war he spent two tours at the Pentagon and went on to obtain an aeronautical engineering degree. During the Korean War 'Bud' Mahurin commanded the 4th Fighter Interceptor Group in Korea where he added 3.5 MiG-15s to his tally before being shot down in his Sabre. He was shot down by ground fire on the 13th of May 1952, and bailed out for the last time, to spend a gruelling sixteen months as a POW in North Korea undergoing extensive torture. Mahurin returned to the US and stayed in the USAF until 1956 when he worked for the aerospace industry. Sadly, Bud Mahurin passed away on 11th May 2010.|
First Lieutenant John Skara
*Signature Value : £40
|John Skara joined the service in June 1942. After training he was posted to England to join the 357th Fighter Group at Leiston in Suffolk, flying both the P51B and later the P51D. He undertook his first combat mission in March 1944, and took part in the long and hazardous escort missions both to Russia, and to Italy. For most of his combat tour he flew as wingman to Bud Anderson|
First Lieutenant Raymond T Conlin
*Signature Value : £45
|'Ted' Conlin joined the service in July 1942, arriving in england in March 1944 to join the 362nd Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, flying P-51s. He flew the first of his combat missions on 13th May 1944, and the next few weeks saw much activity in the build up to D-Day. In September he took part in the air operations in support of Market Garden, the airborne landings in Holland around Arnhem and Nijmegen, and also escort on the 'Russian Shuttle' missions. He finished his combat tour in November 1944.|
Major General Donald Strait
*Signature Value : £45
|Don Strait was born on April 28th, 1918 and grew up in Verona, New Jersey. From an early age Don Strait wanted to be a pilot, and after working for Prudential Insurance Company for a short period Don Strait enlisted in 1940 in the 119th Observation Squadron of the New Jersey National Guard. Initially Don Strait was an armorer and moved up to become an aerial gunner in the two-seater O-46 and O-47 observation planes. He qualified as an aviation cadet in early 1942 and started his training at Maxwell Field, Alabama. After Basic and in January 1943 Strait received his wings and his commission. Don Strait got his ambition to become a fighter pilot, he began flying the P-47 Thunderbolt at Westover Field, MA. After checking out in the P-47 and completing transition training he was assigned to the 356th Fighter Group, then at Bradley Field, CT. By August, 1943 Don Strait had been promoted to Captain before being transferred to England. Captain Don Strait with the 356th Fighter Group went to Martlesham Heath in England flying first the P-47 Thunderbolt. Martlesham Heath was just five miles from the North Sea, which made it relatively easy to find when returning from a mission in bad weather. The 356th made its first combat sorties in October, 1943, with sweeps over Holland and northern France; sightings of Luftwaffe planes were quite rare, and the group took over a month to score its first aerial victory. Strait's first combat occurred on February 6th, 1944, when his flight bounced a pair of Fw190s while on an escort mission. He immediately attacked. The 190s split apart and he chased one down to the deck. He scored hits on it and the pilot bailed out - Strait's first kill. But he and his wingman had used too much fuel, and barely made it back to base. He shot down a couple more Bf109s while flying Thunderbolts on February 10th and May 19th. Having completed well over 200 combat hours, he was entitled to rotate home, but agreed to continue front-line flying, provided that he was given command of the 361st Fighter Squadron. He took a 30-day leave and returned to Europe in September, 1944. He and Captain George May, the intelligence officer, reviewed daily sightings and disposition of the Luftwaffe, which helped him plan and lead the squadron's missions. Don Strait took part in long range bomber escort and ground support missions, taking part in all the D-Day operations, before converting to P51s. The group flew their first Mustang mission on November 20, the same day that Strait assumed command of the 361st FS. In two combat tours he flew a total of 122 missions. He led the squadron again on November 26, 1944, when it flew an escort mission over the heavily defended Ruhr. After linking up with the B-17s just east of Holland, the pilots were advised of 40 bandits approaching from the south. As Strait's sixteen Mustangs arrived in the Osnabruck area, they spotted the 40 Bf109s at 25,000 feet. They dropped tanks and attacked. Then Strait spotted about another 150 German fighters at various altitudes, preparing to attack the bombers. "We've got the whole damn Luftwaffe!" he radioed. He closed to within 350 yards of an enemy airplane and fired - it dived away smoking. Strait's wingman saw it crash. Strait soon bounced another 109, but it eluded him. He spotted a third and closed to within 300 yards, and exploded it (a shared kill with Lt. Shelby Jett). After this dogfighting, fuel began to be a concern, so they headed home. That day the 356th FG destroyed 23 enemy aircraft without losing a single American. After two more victories on December 5th, Strait found more air combat on Christmas Day. In action again against Bf109s, he had a nasty moment when his first victim left oil and engine coolant all over his windscreen. Skidding away, Strait almost rammed his foe. He continued shooting down German planes in 1945 - an Fw190 on Jan. 14th, another Fw190 on Feb 14th, and three Fiesler Storch light observation planes on Feb 20th. Don Strait commanded the 361st Fighter Squadron, and became the Group's leading fighter Ace with 13 and a half air victories, all but three of these flying the P51. After the war he rejoined the NJ Air National Guard. He later commanded the 108th Tactical Wing in Korea, where he flew the F86, F84, and F105 jet. Participated in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Vietnam. He retired from the Air Force in 1978 with the rank of Major General, and was inducted into the New Jersey Aviation Hall of Fame in 1989.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
|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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