First of Many
by Robert Taylor
|On the morning of 11 July 1940, Douglas Bader, the new commander of 242 squadron took off alone in filthy weather to intercept a lone intruder that had been reported in his sector. Here we see Bader as he breaks into the clear, and spots the enemy. Minutes later the Dornier crashed into the sea, the first victory for Bader and 242 squadron.
The print bears the signatures of four famous RAF Fighter Aces that flew Hurricanes and Spitfires with Douglas Bader during the Battle of Britain in 1940. Sadly, none of these renowned pilots are still with us today.
|Museum Presentation||Framed to include the signatures of Douglas Bader and three additional RAF Aces plus RAF wings.||$1525|
|This four signature print is double matted and framed to include the autograph of Sir Douglas Bader along with three additional pilots who flew with the Tangmere Wing. Also included in the mount is a pair of authentic original WWII RAF pilot's wings.
With the signatures of eight of the RAF's top fighter pilots of WWII, and genuine WWII vintage pilot's wings, this is truly a museum quality
piece, ready for your collection. Overall size: 27½" x 31".
The print itself is one of a limited edition of 600, the framed ensemble is a single unique item, one copy only.
All materials and methods used in the matting meet the highest conservation standards. The piece is completed with a top quality Mahogany finish wood frame with gold accent and ultraviolet filtering plexiglass, providing maximum protection against fading.
(The photograph above was taken before the UV filtering glazing was fitted)
|The signatures - (* indicates matted signature)|
|Wing Commander Bob Stanford-Tuck DSO, DFC||Air Commodore Pat Jameson CB, DSO, DFC|
|Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC||Group Captain Duncan Smith DSO, DFC, AE|
|Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO, DFC *||Group Captain Sir Hugh 'Cocky' Dundas CBE, DSO, DFC, DL *|
|Air Vice Marshall Johnnie Johnson CB, CBE, DSO, DFC *||Wing Commander Ken Holden OBE, DFC *|
|Sir Douglas Bader
Born in London on February 21, 1910, Douglas Bader was commissioned as an Officer in the Royal Air Force in 1930 and was posted to
At the outbreak of the Second World War Bader applied to rejoin the RAF. With pilots in short supply the Regulations were overlooked and by June 1940 Bader had been posted to command 242 Squadron. In 1941 Bader was promoted to Wing Commander, stationed at RAF Tangmere from where he lead the Tangmere Wing in sweeps over North West Europe. By the summer of 1941 Bader had
Bader was captured by German forces, eventually ending up in the infamous Colditz camp as a result of his constant and unremitting hostility to his captors. Bader remained in captivity despite numerous escape attempts until Colditz was liberated in 1945.
Robert Stanford-Tuck joined the RAF in September1935, and completed training at Grantham with the highest rating available - ‘exceptional’. In July 1936 he was posted to 65 Squadron at Hornchurch where he flew Hawker Demons, which were eventually replaced by Spitfires in late 1938. Consequently, by the outbreak of war Tuck had flown several hundred hours on Spitfires and was thoroughly familiar and confident in this advanced fighter.
Tuck’s first aerial combat took place over Dunkirk on 23 May 1940, as a flight commander in 92 Squadron. He destroyed an Me 109 and two Me 110’s during the day. He remained with 92 Sqdn during the first half of the Battle of Britain, then posted to take over command of No. 257 Hurricane Squadron, where he stayed until being given command of the Fighter Wing at Duxford in mid 1941.
Tuck spent October 1941 in the U.S.A. lecturing, and test flying all the American fighters, then returned to U.K. to take command of the Biggin Hill wing of four Spitfire Squadrons. His air combat career finished when he was shot down by ground fire during a low level attack over Northern France, in January 1942 and was taken prisoner by the Germans. At that time he was credited with 29 air victories.
James Edgar Johnson, nicknamed "Johnnie", was born on 9th March 1915. A sportsman, Johnson broke his collarbone while playing rugby, an injury that later complicated his ambitions of becoming a fighter pilot. He had been interested in aviation since his youth and applied to join the RAF but was initially rejected, first on social, and then on medical grounds; he was eventually accepted in August 1939. The injury problems, however returned during his early training and flying career, resulting in him missing the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain between May and October 1940.
In 1940 Johnson had an operation to reset his collarbone, and began flying regularly. He took part in the offensive sweeps over occupied Europe from 1941 to 1944, and participated in the Dieppe Raid, Battle of Normandy, Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge and the Western Allied invasion of Germany. He achieved the rank of group captain by the end of the war.
Johnson was credited with 34 individual victories over enemy aircraft, he flew 700 operational sorties and engaged enemy aircraft on 57 occasions. Included in his list of individual victories were 14 Bf 109s and 20 Fw 190s destroyed making him the most successful RAF ace against the Fw 190. This score made him the highest scoring Western Allied fighter ace against the Luftwaffe.
Townsend joined the Royal Air Force in 1933 and was commissioned a pilot officer on 27 July 1935. On graduation, he joined No. 1 Squadron RAF at Tangmere flying the Hawker Fury biplane fighter. He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 27 January 1939.
Townsend was one of three pilots who together shot down the first enemy aircraft to crash on English soil in WWII, a Heinkel 111.
Townsend oversaw the conversion of No. 85 Squadron to night operations at RAF Hunsdon during early 1941. In May 1941, by now an acting wing commander and credited with shooting down at least 11 enemy aircraft, Townsend was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO). He was promoted to the temporary rank of wing commander on 1 December 1941. He later became commanding officer of RAF Drew in April 1942 and commanded No. 611 Squadron RAF, a Spitfire unit. He was later leader of No. 605 Squadron RAF, a night fighter unit. His wartime record was nine aircraft claimed destroyed, and two shared, two 'probables' and four damaged.
|Sir Hugh 'Cocky' Dundas
Dundas was called up early in the war, serving with No. 616 Squadron, flying Spitfires. He was shot down on 22 August and wounded during the Battle of Britain, but returned to his squadron in September 1940.
In September 1941, he was posted as an instructor to No. 59 Operational Training Unit, but his scruffiness and unruly pet dog did not endear him to the commanding officer, and he was transferred promptly as a Flight Commander with No. 610 Squadron. He was promoted to squadron leader and posted as commanding officer of No. 56 Squadron RAF in December, the first to be equipped with the Hawker Typhoon. Posted to the Mediterranean in 1943, he led 324 Wing from Malta and through Italy until the end of the war. In June 1944, Dundas was promoted to the acting rank of group captain at the age of only 23. He was promoted to wing commander on 11 May 1945. His war time score was 4 destroyed, 6 shared destroyed, 2 shared probables, and 2 and 1 shared damaged.
Jameson joined the RAF completed his flying training in January 1937 and was posted to No. 46 Squadron, flying Hurricanes. From April 1940 he took part in the Norwegian Campaign, where he destroyed a Junkers Ju 88 and had a share in two Dornier Do 26 flying boats.In June Allied forces evacuated from Norway. On 7 June No. 46 Squadron landed its Hurricanes successfully on the flight deck of HMS Glorious, the first time Hurricanes had landed on a carrier. The carrier, along with the escort destroyers were subequently sunk.
After recover at Gleneagles Hospital in Scotland, Jameson took command of No. 266 Squadron RAF in September 1940, as part of Douglas Bader's "Big Wing". In June 1941 he was posted in as Wing Leader, Wittering Wing. In August 1942 he led the Wittering Wing over Dieppe, and in December was posted to RAF North Weald to command Nos. 331 and 332 Squadrons. In July 1944 he took command of 122 (Mustang) Wing, ending the war an ace with nine aerial victories.
A sergeant at the start of the Second World War, Smith was commissioned as a pilot officer on 29 September 1940. Smith was posted to the Spitfire-equipped No. 611 Squadron at RAF Hornchurch in October 1940, and went to No. 603 Squadron RAF in August 1941 as a Flight Commander. Smith was due for a rest but had to remain operational, leading his squadron while bringing their new squadron leader up to speed. He was promoted to flying officer on 29 September.
In January 1942, Smith rejoined the "Hornchurch Wing", now flying the improved Spitfire Mk. IX. In March 1942 he was promoted to acting squadron leader and given command of No. 64 Squadron. During the ill-fated Dieppe Raid on 19 August, he was shot down but rescued from the English Channel. In August he became an acting wing commander at North Weald, and was promoted to squadron leader.
Sent to Malta to command the 244th Fighter Wing, Smith flew in support of the Allied landings on Sicily. In September 1943, engine failure forced him to bail out into the sea, being rescued after five hours adrift. As an acting group captain, he then took charge of 324 Wing, finally leaving in March 1945. Duncan Smith was credited with 17 enemy aircraft shot down, two shared destroyed, six probables, two shared probables and eight damaged in aerial combat.
Kenneth Holden joined 616 Squadron Auxiliary Air Force in early 1939 and flew his first solo on 26th March. Called up on 4th September 1939, he completed his training and arrived at 11 Group Pool Sutton Bridge on 26th November. After converting to Spitfires he was posted to 2 Ferry Pilot Pool in December 1939. He rejoined 616 Squadron on 3rd January 1940. Over Dunkirk on 28th May 1940 Holden destroyed a Me109 and probably a second and on 1st June he did the same again.
On 1st September Holden damaged two Me109’s and on the 27th he destroyed another. He was appointed 'A’ Flight Commander on 5th November 1940 as an Acting Flight Lieutenant. In mid-May 1941 he was given command of 610 Squadron, then at Westhampnett. Holden destroyed a Me109 on 22nd June, damaged two more on 25th and 26th June, destroyed a Me109 and shared another on 6th July and got a probable Me109 on the 10th. He was awarded the DFC. Holden was released from the RAF in 1945 as a Wing Commander.