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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.|
Col Reade F Tilley USAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|A native of Clearwater, Florida, Reade Tilley grew up with a love for competition in the fast lane. This made Reade natural for driving race cars and the military equivalent; fighter pilot. After attending the St. Petersburg College in Florida and the University of Texas at Austin, Reade was faced with the difficult choice of deciding whether to continue to pursue his race car driving career or become a fighter pilot. With war raging in Europe, Reade opted for the latter, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. In 1941 he was assigned to No. 121 Eagle Squadron of the RAF. This was one of the three American-manned squadrons in the RAF. Reading of the horrific air attacks being endured by the people of the besieged Island of Malta, Reade volunteered for a daring mission to launch landbased Spitfires from the USS Wasp to relieve the forces on the island. On the morning of April 20, 1942 forty-seven Spits, including one flown by Tilley, were launched from the Wasp. The arrival of these fighters was very important in saving the strategic island from annihilation by the Nazis. Arriving safely in Malta, Tilley would soon fly in combat, and on his second mission he would down a Bf-109. The Luftwaffe launched an all-out effort to destroy the recently arrived Spitfires, and within a matter of days all of the newly arrived aircraft were either destroyed or damaged. In June Tilley returned to Gibraltar and led another flight of Spitfires to Malta, this time from the deck of the HMS Eagle. During his combat tours at Malta, Tilley attained a total of seven confirmed aerial victories, two probables, and five damaged. He was one of the first two American pilots to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross during the defense of Malta. The citation reads in part: "... on three occasions by making feint attacks after having expended his ammunition he successfully drove off enemy fighters attempting to machine gun our aircraft as they landed ..." Reade was promoted to Flying Officer in August of 1942, and in October he transferred to the USAAC with the rank of Captain. In early 1944 he was promoted to the rank of Major. Tilley remained with the USAF following the War and served initially with the USAFE, the Air Forces in Europe, where he was involved with the Berlin Air Lift. Later Tilley would serve with the Strategic Air Command. Promoted to Colonel in 1955, he served as the Director of Public Information for General Curtis LeMay. During this period Tilley was able to hone his race car driving skills as a member of the SAC Racing Team. Driving an Allard, Tilley competed against some of the top professional drivers of the era in a series of road race competitions at Air Force bases throughout the country. Reade also served as Director of Information for Pacific Air Forces during the Vietnam War. After retiring from the Air Force, he became a consultant. Reade Tilley passed away in 2001.|
Colonel Don Blakeslee (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40
|Joining the RAF in 1940 Don Blakeslee flew Spitfires with 401 Squadron. When the Eagle Squadron were formed he transferred as an experienced flight commander with several victories to his credit. An aggressive and fearless fighter pilot, Blakeslee was promoted to lead 133 Squadron, and was described as the best fighter leader the war produced. Already an Ace, he transferred to the USAAF 4th Fighter Group. By the war end he had over four years of continuous combat flying, and 14.5 air victories to his credit. Colonel Don Blakeslee sadly passed away on 3rd September 2008.|
Colonel Jim Goodson
*Signature Value : £60
|Jim Goodson joined the RAF in 1940. Posted to re-form 133 Eagle Squadron RAF flying Spitfires, he transferred to the USAAF 4th fighter Group in September 1942, commanding 336 Squadron. Flying P47s and then P51s, Jim Goodson flew continuously until he was shot down ten months before the end of the war. He was one of the most highly decorated Aces in the USAAF, with 32 enemy aircraft to his credit.|
Colonel Oscar Coen (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55
|Oscar Coen was born at Hannaford, N.D., on May 11, 1917, to Archie and Mary Coen. He grew up in Pound, Wis., and received his bachelor of science degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Enlisting in 1940 into the RCAF, Oscar Coen transferred to the RAF in 1941, joining 71 Squadron RAF. In a daring raid over France he destroyed a complete ammunition train with a pass so low that exploding debris hit his Spitfire. Managing to bail out safely he was smuggled to Spain by the French Resistance, and eventually back to England. With several victories and a DFC to his credit he transferred to the USAAF in 1942 as a Squadron Commander, completing the war as an Ace with 5 victories and flying over 250 combat missions. Oscar Hoffman Coen, 87, of Baker City, died June 23, 2004, at the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise.|
Major General Carroll W McColpin (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55
|Carroll Warren McColpin was born in Buffalo, New York on November 15th 1914 and was raised and educated in Los Angeles. Carroll McColpin participated in civilian flying activities in Los Angeles, he started to learn to fly in 1928 and in 1936 obtained his pilots certificate. As a young man, he had built his own airplane and taught himself the basics of stick flying and aerial acrobatics by the age of sixteen. Carroll Red McColpin volunteered for the RAF in 1940 despite official US disapproval, going via Canada to England. After serving with No.607 Squadron, he became the second Eagle Ace after shooting down two ME-109s on October 2, 1941 and is the only pilot known to have fought in aerial combat to a draw - with Werner Molders, the high-scoring German Ace. Red McColpin commanded 133 Eagle Squadron up to the transfer to the USAAF in September, 1942, General McColpin was the only American to fly combat in all three RAF American Eagle Squadrons. His total missions in these Squadrons exceeded three hundred counting the ones he flew with the 607. He was a double ace before Pearl Harbor and was the first American to be decorated, in Buckingham Palace by King George during World War II. McColpin joined the 4th Figher Group. He later led the 404th Fighter Group in support of the D-Day invasion and the drive across Europe. In 400 missions, he recorded 11.5 victories and collected 29 awards for gallantry. Following the war, McColpin remained in the Air Force, serving in several command and senior staff positions, ultimately becoming the commander of the 4th Air Force. He retired as a Major General in August, 1968. Sadley Major General Carroll Warren McColpin passed away on November 28, 2003.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.|
|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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