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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.|
Colonel Archie G Donahue USMC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|Archie Donahue was born in Casper, Wyoming in 1917. He attended schools in Wyoming until 1934 when his family moved to Texas. He had his first airplane ride at the age of eight and the flying bug bit him. Archic completed three years of engineering studies at the University of Texas before joining the Navy as an Aviation Cadet. During his training Archie was stationed at Kansas City, Jacksonville, and finally Corpus Christi. He requested a transfer to the Marine Corps, and upon his graduation he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in February of 1942. After a short posting to Norfolk, Archie was assigned to VMF-112, which was nicknamed the "Wolfpack." The squadron was sent to Guadacanal in September where they commenced combat missions flying the Grumman F4F Wildcat. Archie would soon transition to the state-of-the-art F4U-1 Corsair. Between September 1942 and June of 1943 Archie was credited with nine aerial victories. One of these was achieved in the Wildcat with the balance attained while piloting the Corsair. On May 13, 1943 Archic would down five A6M3 Zeros during a single mission. In June of 1943 VMF-112 returned to the States, and the squadron was disbanded. Serving as a flight officer at El Toro Air Station in California, Archie was given the assignment of carrier qualifying VMF-451. In February of 1945 VMF-451 began combat operations flying from the deck of the USS Bunker Hill. For the next three months Donahue and his squdroninates flew numerous missions in support of the landings at lwo Jima and Okinawa, as well as strikes at the Japanese mainland, and in the process earning the nickname "Angels of Okinawa." On April 12, 1945 Donahue was once again credited with five victories during a fierce aerial battle over Okinawa. On May 11 th Archie's flight of 16 Corsairs had just returned to the carrier, and as the pilots completed their debriefing the Bunker Hill was hit by two Kamikaze aircraft, setting off a huge fire and killing 346. The Bunker Hill had to be withdrawn from action. Donahue returned to the States where he was made Commander of a squadron at El Toro. He was later transferred to Quantico, a large Marine base near Washington, DC. Archie flew a total of 215 combat missions during WWII including 56 from the deck of the Bunker Hill. He was credited with a total of 14 confirmed aerial victories. He had more than 4000 flying hours in military aircraft and 110 successful carrier landings. Although he never crashed an airplane, Archie was reported killed during aerial gunnery training when a student made a beautiful run and cut the tail off Archie's plane about five feet behind his head. Archie is a recipient of the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and five Air Medals. Archie has also been an active participant in the Confederate Air Force, and in 1990 he piloted an SBD with an unusual pilot, Saburo Sakai, the high scoring Japanese ace who was shot down in WWII by the rear gunner of a SBD. Following his retirement from military service in 1958 Archie began a long and successful career in real estate development. Archie lives in Texas with his wife Mary. They have five children and many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Sadly, he passed away on 30th July 2007.|
|Lieutenant Colonel A Roger Conant (deceased)|
*Signature Value : £50
|Enlisting in the U.S. Navy, Roger Conant received his wings as a Marine pilot in 1942. Assigned to VMF 215 he flew the Chance Vought F4U Corsair on well over 100 combat missions, mostly in the air battles over Rabaul and the Solomon Islands where he downed a total of 6 Japanese Mitsubishi Zeros. He was on his return to the Pacific theater as a night fighter pilot on the day war ended. Roger Conant USMC(R) passed away on March 10, 2007.|
Lieutenant Colonel John F Bolt (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|John Bolt is one of only seven American aces to shoot down 5 or more enemy aircraft in both WWII and Korea. He was also the only Marine Corps ace in Korea. Commissioned in 1942, he joined VMF-214 in 1943. Flying the F4U Corsair, John Bolt downed six Zekes in just 90 days from September to December 1943 to become and ace. He also saw action in the last few weeks of the war with VMF-472. Returning to combat duty in the Korean War he served a tour with the Marines before flying a tour with the Air Force where he shot down six Mig15s. John F Bolt passed away on 8th December 2004.|
Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth A Walsh (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50
|Ken Walsh was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 24th 1916. On December 15th 1933, Kenneth Walsh joined the Marines, becoming a mechanic and radioman. In April 1937 he received his wings while still a Private, but was promoted to Corporal immediately after. Ken Walsh achieved an impressive 21 victories in his 104 combat missions. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for two separate actions in August 1943 when, overwhelmingly outnumbered, he destroyed 7 enemy aircraft before being shot down himself. He scored his final victory on 22nd June 1945 over Okinawa. Walsh remained in the Marine Corps for a full career, flying transports in Korea and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel in February 1962. He was the 4th highest scoring Marine Corps fighter Ace of World War Two. Sadly he passed away on 30th July 1998.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Corsair||The Chance-Vought F4U Corsair was arguably the finest naval aviation fighter of its era. Work on this design dates to 1938 and was headed-up by Voughts Chief Engineer, Rex Biesel. The initial prototype was powered by an 1800-HP Pratt & Whitney double Wasp radial engine. This was the third Vought aircraft to carry the Corsair name. The graceful and highly recognizable gull-wing design of the F4U permitted the aircraft to utilize a 13-foot, three-blade, Hamilton Standard propeller, while not having to lengthen the landing gear. Because of the rigors of carrier landings, this was a very important design consideration. Folding wings were also required for carrier operations. The F4U was thirty feet long, had a wingspan of 41 feet and an empty weight of approximately 7,500 pounds. Another interesting feature was the way the F4Us gear rotated 90 degrees, so it would lay flush within the wing when in the up position. In 1939 the Navy approved the design, and production commenced. The Corsair utilized a new spot welding process on its all aluminum fuselage, giving the aircraft very low drag. To reduce weight, fabric-covered outer wing sections and control surfaces were fitted. In May of 1940 the F4U made its maiden flight. Although a number of small bugs were discovered during early flight tests, the Corsair had exceptional performance characteristics. In October of 1940 the prototype F4U was clocked at 405-MPH in a speed test. The initial production Corsairs received an upgraded 2,000-HP radial giving the bird a top speed of about 425-MPH. The production models also differed from the prototype in having six, wing-mounted, 0.5 caliber machine guns. Another change was a shift of the cockpit about three feet further back in the fuselage. This latter change unfortunately made naval aviators wary of carrier landings with the F4U, due to its limited forward visibility during landings. Other concerns were expressed regarding a severe port wing drop at landing speeds and a tendency of the aircraft to bounce off a carrier deck. As a result, the F4U was initially limited to land-based USMC squadrons. Vought addressed several of these problems, and the Royal Navy deserves credit for perfecting an appropriate landing strategy for the F4U. They found that if the carrier pilot landed the F4U while making a sweeping left turn with the port wing down, that sufficient visibility was available to make a safe landing. With a kill ratio of 11 -to- 1 in WW 11 combat, the F4U proved superior in the air to almost every opposing aircraft it encountered. More than 12,000 F4Us were built and fortunately a few dozen remain in flyable condition to this date.|
|Artist Details : Nicolas Trudgian|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Nicolas Trudgian|
Cranston Fine Arts have now taken over all remaining stocks of Nicolas Trudgian prints from his previous publishers. We have made available a great many prints that had not been seen for many years, and have uncovered some rarities which lay unnoticed during this transition.
Having graduated from art college, Nicolas Trudgian spent many years as a professional illustrator before turning to a career in fine art painting. His crisp style of realism, attention to detail, compositional skills and bright use of colours, immediately found favour with collectors and demand for his original work soared on both sides of the Atlantic. Today, more than a decade after becoming a fine art painter, Nicolas Trudgian is firmly established within a tiny, elite group of aviation artists whose works are genuinely collected world-wide. When he paints an aircraft you can be sure he has researched it in every detail and when he puts it over a particular airfield, the chances are he has paid it a recent visit. Even when he paints a sunset over a tropical island, or mist hanging over a valley in China, most probably he has seen it with his own eyes. Nick was born and raised in the seafaring city of Plymouth, the port from which the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in 1620, and where Sir Francis Drake played bowls while awaiting the Spanish Armada. Growing up in a house close to the railway station within a busy military city, the harbour always teeming with naval vessels and the skies above resonating with the sounds of naval aircraft, it was not at all surprising the young Nick became fascinated with trains, boats and aircraft. It was from his father, himself a talented artist, that Nick acquired his love of drawing and surrounded by so much that was inspiring, there was never a shortage of ideas for pictures. His talent began to show at an early age and although he did well enough at school, he always spent a disproportionate amount of time drawing. People talked about him becoming a Naval officer or an architect but in 1975 Nick's mind was made up. When he told his careers teacher he wanted to go to art school the man said, 'Now come on, what do you really want to do? After leaving school Nick began a one-year foundation course at the Plymouth College of Art. Now armed with an impressive portfolio containing paintings of jet aircraft, trains, even wildlife, he was immediately accepted at every college he applied to join. He chose a course at the Falmouth College of Art in Cornwall specialising in technical illustration and paintings of machines and vehicles for industry. It was perfect for Nick, and he was to become one of the star pupils. One of the lecturers commented at the time: Every college needs someone with a talent like Nick to raise the standards sky high; he carried all the other students along with him, and created an effect which will last for years to come. Two weeks after leaving art college Nick blew every penny he had on a trip to South Africa to ride the great steam trains across the desert, sketching them at every opportunity. Returning to England, in best traditions of all young artists, he struggled to make a living. Paintings by an unknown artist didn't fetch much despite the painstaking effort and time Nick put into each work, so when the college he had recently left offered him a job as a lecturer, he jumped at the chance. The money was good and he discovered that he really enjoyed teaching. Throughout the 1970s Nick was much involved with a railway preservation society near Plymouth and it was through the railway society that he had his first pictures reproduced as prints. But Nick felt he needed to advance his career and in summer 1985 Nick moved away from Cornwall to join an energetic new design studio in Wiltshire. Here he painted detailed artwork for many major companies including Rolls Royce, General Motors, Volvo Trucks, Alfa Romeo and, to his delight, the aviation and defence industries. He remembers the job as exciting though stressful, often requiring him to work right through the night to meet a client's deadline. Here he learned to be disciplined and fast. Towards the end of the 1980's Nick had the chance to work for the Military Gallery. This was the break that for years he had been striving towards and with typical enthusiasm, flung himself into his new role. After completing a series of aviation posters, including a gigantic painting to commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Royal Air Force, Nick's first aviation scene to be published as a limited edition was launched by the Military Gallery in 1991. Despite the fact he was unknown in the field, it was an immediate success. Over the past decade Nick has earned a special reputation for giving those who love his work much more than just aircraft in his paintings. He goes to enormous lengths with his backgrounds, filling them with interesting and accurate detail, all designed to help give the aircraft in his paintings a tremendous sense of location and purpose. His landscapes are quite breathtaking and his buildings demonstrate an uncanny knowledge of perspective but it is the hardware in his paintings which are most striking. Whether it is an aircraft, tank, petrol bowser, or tractor, Nick brings it to life with all the inordinate skill of a truly accomplished fine art painter. A prodigious researcher, Nick travels extensively in his constant quest for information and fresh ideas. He has visited India, China, South Africa, South America, the Caribbean and travels regularly to the United States and Canada. He likes nothing better than to be out and about with sketchbook at the ready and if there is an old steam train in the vicinity, well that's a bonus!
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