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The Dambusters by Simon Smith.


The Dambusters by Simon Smith.

On the night of 16/17th May 1943,under a full moon, 19 specially modified Lancaster bombers from 617 Squadron carried out one of the most daring and effective air raids of the Second World War. Led by wing commander Guy Gibson the 19 aircraft took off and headed for Germany at extreme low level.. Their mission, code named Operation Chastise, was to destroy the Ruhr dams which supplied water and electricity to the industrial heart of Reich. Each aircraft carried the ingenious Upkeep mine, developed by the engineer Barnes Wallis. Shaped like a large oil drum, the bomb was spun prior to release at exactly 60ft above the water and 150 yards from the dam wall. This caused the weapon to bounce across water and on impact would also make it stay close to the wall of the dam as it sank. The bomb, technically a mine, was fitted with a hydrostatic fuse similar to a depth charge causing detonation at the required depth.The correct height above the water was achieved by aligning the beams of two spotlights to meet on the surface of the water. Delivering such a weapon on target at night at such low altitude and under enemy fire was thought by many to be impossible. The nineteen pilots,some as young as eighteen had been hand picked by Gibson only two months before and formed into 617 squadron whose first mission was to remain top secret and unknown to them up until the last moment. The Mohne Dam was attacked first and several attempts were made under heavy fire with one lancaster being shot down as it flew over the target.Guy Gibson then attempted to draw fire away from the attacking aircraft by switching on his navigation lights and flying to one side of Mick Martins aircraft ,the scene depicted in Simon Smiths painting.Just as another aircraft was about to go in,excited shouts came over the intercom - its gone! The main target achieved, Gibson led the remaining aircraft on to the Eder Dam deep amongst the mountains of the Eder valley. Here, although no flak defenses, the terrain made the approach extremely hazardous. Two bombs were released yet still the target remained unbreached leaving only one last aircraft ,that of Les Knights to attack. A steep descent from a thousand feet then a dive over a spit of land left very little time to line up and release the bomb.Worse still there was a huge mountain on the far side of the dam! Added to this Edward Johnson the bomb aimer recalled that the spinning bomb had an alarming gyroscopic effect on the handling of the aircraft,so it was with superb flying and teamwork that their bomb struck and finally destroyed the massive stonework of the Eder Dam. Gibsons leadership and bravery led to the award of the VC and many other decorations were bestowed upon the other crews.The squadron however paid a heavy price with 8 lancasters being lost.
Item Code : DHM1460The Dambusters by Simon Smith. - This Edition
TYPEEDITION DETAILSSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSYOUR PRICEPURCHASING
PRINT Signed limited edition of 500 prints.

Less than 12 copies available of this sold out edition.
Image size 25 inches x 17 inches (64cm x 43cm) Johnson, George L
Grayston, Raymond E
Sutherland, Frederick E
Johnson, Edward
Chambers, George
+ Artist : Simon Smith
£100 Off!
Supplied with one or more free art prints!
Now : £125.00

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EXCLUSIVE website offer from Cranston Fine Arts - FREE art print(s) supplied with the above item!


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FREE PRINT : The One That Broke The Dam by Ivan Berryman.

This complimentary art print worth £60
(Size : 12 inches x 9 inches (31cm x 23cm))
has been specially chosen by Cranston Fine Arts to complement the above edition, and will be sent FREE with your order.

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Dambusters - Breaching the Eder Dam by Robert Taylor.
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Other editions of this item : The Dambusters by Simon Smith DHM1460
TYPEEDITION DETAILSSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSYOUR PRICEPURCHASING
ARTIST
PROOF
Limited edition of artist proofs. Image size 25 inches x 17 inches (64cm x 43cm) Johnson, George L
Grayston, Raymond E
Sutherland, Frederick E
Johnson, Edward
Chambers, George
+ Artist : Simon Smith
Add any two items on this offer to your basket, and the lower priced item will be half price in the checkout!£225.00VIEW EDITION...
General descriptions of types of editions :


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.
NameInfo


The signature of Flight Lieutenant Edward Johnson (deceased)

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.


The signature of Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM (deceased)

Flight Lieutenant George Chalmers DFC DFM (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50

George Alexander Chalmers was born on February 12 1921 at Peterhead in Scotland. He was educated at Aberdeen Academy before working briefly at a local Crosse & Blackwell factory and joining the RAF as a boy entrant. After boy's service and qualifying as a wireless operator and air-gunner, Chalmer joined the RAF in 1938. Geogre Chalmers was posted to No 10, a two-engine Whitley bomber squadron at Dishforth, Yorkshire, from where he took part in leaflet-dropping operations over Germany after the outbreak of war. In August 1940 Chalmers transferred to No 7, the RAF's first four-engine Stirling bomber squadron which was operating from Leeming. There followed a spell with No 35, a four-engine Halifax bomber squadron, with which Chalmers was fortunate to survive an attack on the battle cruiser Scharnhorst at La Rochelle - his captain managed to make base despite being severely wounded and piloting a badly-damaged aircraft. When he joined 617 Squadron he was a Flight Sergeant and served as wireless operator on Lancaster AJ-O during the Dambusters raid which was piloted by Bill Townsend. Awarded the DFM for his part in the attack on the Ennepe Dam he was commissioned a few months later and awarded the DFC after 65 operations. In 1946 Chalmers was granted an extended service commission, and served in No 617 and No 12 Squadrons until 1950, when he was posted to No 38, a Lancaster squadron in the Middle East. He was released as a flight lieutenant in 1954, and served in the Reserve until 1961. Meanwhile, he had joined the civil service at Harrogate, where he worked for the Ministry of Defence dealing with the RAF's technical requirements. In this period his advice was much valued in the sphere of flight refuelling. On his retirement from the MoD in 1984, the company Flight Refuelling hosted a farewell party for him at which he was hailed as an "expert in specialised spares procurement", especially in relation to a refuelling system of outstanding value used by the RAF in the Falklands conflict. Sadly, George Chalmers passed away in August 2002 aged 81.


The signature of Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF

Sergeant Frederick E. Sutherland RCAF
*Signature Value : £45

 ‘Doc’ Sutherland was the front gunner on Les Knight’s 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.


The signature of Sergeant Raymond E. Grayston (deceased)

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 Knight’s 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.


The signature of Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM

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 McCarthy’s 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.
The Aircraft :
NameInfo
LancasterThe 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 : Simon Smith
Click here for a full list of all artwork by Simon Smith


Simon Smith

Simon Smith was born in 1960 into a military family and quickly developed an interest in history and the armed forces. He has worked continually as an illustrator in the historical field since leaving art college in 1982, having graduated with a First in Fine Art and Illustration.. He has work on permanent display in London and countries as far afield as Taiwan and Israel. Simon owes his lifelong interest in military subjects to his family connections with the services.

More about Simon Smith

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