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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 Joseph J Foss (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|Born 17th April 1915. He ws awarded his wings in May 1941, becoming a Marine Corps pilot leading a unit of Wildcat fighters which accounted for 72 enemy aircraft. Involved in the defence of Guadalcanal from the Japanese, he was forced to ditch into the sea, being rescued by local islanders before subsequently being picked up by a Catalina two weeks later. Later, defending Henderson Field from a large formation of enemy bombers and their accompanying fighters, he refused to allow his unit to be lured into combat with the enemy fighters, instead waiting for the escorting aircraft to run out of fuel and turn back, forcing the now unescorted bombers to also turn back. Joe Foss died 1st January 2003. Born into a farming family in South Dakota in 1915, Joseph Foss would go on to become the USMCs highest scoring fighter pilot of WW II. He would also become the first aviator to equal the WW 1 victory record of Captain Eddle Rickenbacker, and the first USMC aviator to become an ace in a day. A recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, Joe Foss would be credited with 26 aerial victories while flying the F4F Wildcat with VMF-121 based at Henderson Field in Guadacanal in 1942 and early 1943. All this success did not come easily to Foss. Growing up during the difficult days of the Great Depression, the young Foss realized that to become a military aviator he would have to attend college. Following his graduation from the University of South Dakota, Foss entered the naval aviation cadet program in 1940. With Americas entry into WWII Foss was assigned to a photo reconnaissance unit. Foss was disappointed with this assignment and worked hard at convincing others that he was destined to be a fighter pilot. Logging nearly three hours of flying time per day in an F4F, the skills and dedication of this aspiring fighter pilot were soon noticed. Foss was assigned to VMF- 121 as the Executive Officer of the squadrons C.O. Captain L.K. Davis. The squadron was sent on its initial combat tour in the fall of 1942. Twenty Wildcats were transported by escort carrier to Guadacanal and were catapulted off for the flight to Henderson Field. Foss flight became known as Uoes Flying Circus, and 61.5 victories would be credited to this flight, with four other pilots becoming aces. Although air defense was the primary role of VMF-121, some ground support missions were also flown. The squadrons successes were not without a price, and more than 20% of VMF-121s pilots did not return from the combat tour at Guadacanal. In November Foss flew a mission against a large Japanese convoy near the Russell Islands. During this mission Lt. Col. Bauer was downed. Foss returned to Henderson Field and flew back to the site where Bauer was downed in a Grumman Duck. Unable to locate his downed comrade because of darkness, Foss returned at dawn. Unfortunately, Bauer was never found. Foss had fought recurring battles against malaria while on Guadacanal. He had lost 37 pounds. With the destruction of the Japanese convoy Foss along with several other pilots of VMF121 got some much needed R&R in Australia. While in Australia Foss met two of the leading Australian aces Clive Caldwell and Keith Truscott. Joe was disturbed by the attitude of the Australians that the Japanese must be second rate opponents. Returning to Guadacanal on New Years Day 1943, combat sorties resumed. On January 25 Foss flew his last mission at Guadacanal, but did not engage the enemy. Problems with malaria continued to plague the USMCs top ace, and he was unable to make a second combat tour. Following the War Foss helped organize the South Dakota Air National Guard. He remained active in the reserve finally retiring with the rank of Brigadier General. Foss had successful careers in professional sports, politics (Governor of South Dakota), and commercial aviation. He also was instrumental in the formation of the American Fighter Aces Association, and has served as President of the National Rifle Association.|
|Colonel T W Boot Furlow|
*Signature Value : £25
|Flying the F4F on his first combat mission with VMF-121 in October 1942, Boot Furlow soon downed his first Zero on the Hiei mission. He served in all the major south west Pacific theaters and later flew the F4U Corsair|
|Lt Colonel Roger Haberman|
*Signature Value : £35
|Roger Haberman served with VMF-211. He flew at Guadalcanal from 9th October 1942 to January 1943. Later he flew the F4U Corsair, becoming an Ace with 7 victories.|
|Lt Colonel William B Freeman (deceased)|
*Signature Value : £35
|Serving with VMF-121, later VMF-115, William Freeman flew over 200 combat missions in the Pacific theater, 1942-1945. A highly skilled pilot, he became an Ace with 5 victories. William Freeman passed away on 11th June 2007.|
|The Aircraft :|
|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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