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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 Frank L. Gailer
*Signature Value : £25
|General Gailer was born in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1923. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to New York, finally settling in Great Neck, Long Island. He graduated from Staunton Military Academy, Staunton, Va., in 1941, and attended Hofstra College, Hempstead, N.Y., until June 1942. He then entered the aviation cadet program and received pilot training at Parks Air College, Garden City, Kan., and Eagle Pass, Texas, where he earned his pilot wings and commission as second lieutenant. Frank Gailer was posted to England, joining the 357th Fighter Group at Leiston. Flying with the 363rd FS he went into combat in august, and in the next few months destroyed 6 enemy aircraft before being shot down in November 1944. Captured by the Germans, he was interned in Stalug I. After the war, in Vietnam, he commanded the 35th TFW at Phan Rang AB, flying over 500 hours combat on F-100s. In 1969 he returned to England once again, to command the 48th TW, and then as Vice-Commander of Third Air Force, USAF Europe.|
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.|
|Lieutenant Colonel Robert G. Schimanski|
*Signature Value : £35
|Born in Spokane, Washington in 1920, Bob Schimanski graduated as a fighter pilot, and was posted to join the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group in England. During his tour of duty on P51s at Leiston, he flew 70 combat missions, getting on the score sheet with the first of his victories on 13th September 1944. He became an Ace on 2 Match 1945 when he downed a Me109 south of Magdeburg. By the end of his tour had achieved 6 air victories, all but one against Me109s, plus a further two on the ground.|
|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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