Over the Beaches
by Philip E. West
|Spitfires of 222 Squadron, and Hawker Typhoons over the Normandy beaches on D-Day. The Typhoons have begun to peel off into their attack on German positions below, while the Spitfires patrol the skies above.
|Overall size: 20" x 28"||Available in the following editions|
|350||Main edition||Signed by two Spitfire pilots and two Typhoon pilots, all of whom flew combat missions on D-Day.||$275|
|25||Artist's proof||As above||$350|
|Main edition, A/P and Remarque signatures|
|F/O Tom Hannam (Spitfire)||Flt. Lt. John Carpenter (Spitfire)||F/O Tony Hallet (Typhoon)|
|Flt. Lt. David Ince (Typhoon)|
F/O Tom Hannam
Most operational sorties were on sweeps, high cover for bombers and ships convey patrols. At the end of September he was shot down over Normandy and spent the next three months avoiding capture by the Germans. Eventually arriving in Gibraltar he was flown home on 23 December 1943. After a brief period he rejoined 222 Squadron to take part in the invasion of Europe and went through Northern France, Belgium and Holland.
In December 1944, with the war in Europe no more than 5 months from its end, the Squadron converted onto Tempests Mark V’s and returned to Europe supporting the crossing of the Rhine near Nijmegen and then into Germany. Operational flying covered attacks on airfields, trains, road transport, tanks and rocket sites. When the war in Europe ended he became a flying instructor on Tiger Moths for a short period. Tom returned to civilian life a little older but very much wiser.
Flt. Lt. John Carpenter
In May another attempt was made. From the 21st until it re-embarked on HMS ‘Glorious’ on 6 June the squadron gave a good account of itself, covering the evacuation of the Army and flying offensive patrols. The carrier was sunk by enemy action soon after sailing and nearly all 263’s pilots were lost. Carpenter had not flown on to the carrier and returned to the UK by another ship. He joined 222 Squadron on Spitfires at Hornchurch in late June 1940 in time for the evacuation of Dunkirk.
On 31 August he claimed a probable Bf109, on 1 September he destroyed another Bf109, on the 3rd a Bf110 and on the 4th a further Bf109. Soon afterwards he was shot down and wounded and returned to the squadron in October. Carpenter stayed with 222 Sqn. until April 1941, when he was posted to 46 Squadron, just as it prepared to go to the Middle East. The squadron embarked on HMS ‘Argus’, before transferring to the ‘Ark Royal’, from which they flew off to Hal Far, Malta on 6 June.
46 Squadron was kept in Malta and re-numbered 126 Squadron. On 30 June Carpenter shot down a Mc200, on 4 September he claimed another, on 8 November a Mc202, on the 12th another Mc202 and on 27 December he shot a Ju88 down into the sea. Carpenter, who had been a Flight Commander since early October, was awarded the DFC (2.1.42) and posted to 92 Squadron in the Western Desert. In May 1942 he covered the invasion of Sicily and Italy and was given command of 72 Squadron at Anzio.
After a rest Carpenter was given command of 72 Squadron at Lago, Italy in January 1944. On 11 April he was posted away, received a Bar to the DFC (7.7.44) and returned to the UK. He went to Hawker’s as a production test pilot. Carpenter was granted a Permanent Commission in September 1945 and he retired on 31 December 1959, as a Flight Lieutenant, retaining the rank of Squadron Leader. Post war he served as CO in Kai Tek, Hong Kong.
F/O Tony Hallet
After Fighter Pilot training in the USA in 1941/42 he returned to the UK for conversion to Hurricanes and was then posted to an Army Co-operation Unit in Northern Ireland where he gained valuable experience flying various types of aircraft, i.e. Defiant, Lysander, Hurricane, Martinet and Twin Engine Oxford. His operational flying from Southern England consisted mainly of attacking the many strongly defended Radar Stations from Ostend to Cherbourg and on two occasions changed from rockets to bombs for attacks on Noball Targets (flying bomb sites).
Operations from the landing strips consisted, with close Army Support, taking out Gun Positions, attacking Tanks and destroying anything that moved in enemy territory all against very heavy enemy Flak. He completed in excess of 100 sorties and since 1984 has revisited Normandy on many occasions. He attended the official funerals of two 198 Squadron Pilots whose aircraft wreckage had been discovered as many as 41 and 49 years after the events.
Flt. Lt. David Ince
Subsequently converting to Typhoons he flew with 193 and 257 Squadrons, from Normandy until the end of hostilities in Europe, completing almost 150 sorties and being awarded an immediate DFC. He took a leading part in trials, demonstrations and the early operational use of Napalm. Almost shot down on one reconnaissance flight, he later devised and proved a camera installation for low level close up target photography, which was an immediate success. In the closing stages of the war he was leading 193 Squadron on shipping strikes in the Baltic.
After attending the first post war course at The Empire Test Pilots School he returned to University to complete an engineering degree.