Philip West is recognised as one of the world’s finest aviation artists. Collectors of his original oil paintings span the globe, many waiting patiently for his next breathtaking canvas to appear. Self taught, Philip has won many accolades for his paintings, not the least of which was the prestigious Duane Whitney Award for Excellence at the 1997 American Society of Aviation Artists Exhibition.
Please bear in mind that the following notes have been prepared by each individual and copied with no editing by SWA Fine Art. Both these men took part in the “Operation Jericho” raid and flew in the main aircraft depicted in this picture.
Flight Lieutenant A.C. Dunlop R.A.F.V.R (Navigator) joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in November 1940 and trained in Canada. On return to the UK he crewed up with Max Sparks in July 1942 with whom he undertook 35 operations.
Posted to 487 R.N.Z A.F Squadron, they first flew Lockheed Venturas (modified airliners) against targets such as dockyards (e.g. Rotterdam), airfields and marshalling yards in occupied Europe. Fortunately, after escalating losses, the Squadron was re-equipped with De Havilland Mosquito Mk VIs in August 1943 and low-level operations against pinpoint targets such as VI and V2 rocket sites were undertaken, together with night intruder sorties.
It was in February 1944 that 487 Squadron was selected to lead the low level raid on Amiens Prison whereby breaching the walls enabled 285 French patriots to escape execution by the Germans.
In July 1944 Flt.Lt. A.C Dunlop left '487' when he was posted to India as an instructor. On his return to the U.K. he was posted to Bomber Command 105 and 139 (Jamaica) Squadrons and demobilised in April 1946.
Flight Lieutenant M.N. Sparks A.F.C., R.A.F., (Pilot) gained his pilots wings with the R.N.Z.A.F. in December 1941. Posted to the United Kingdom he joined the newly formed 487(N.Z.) Squadron in September 1942. Equipped with the Lockheed Ventura (a bomber version of the Hudson) the squadron was meant for medium-level daylight “circus” operations, but after losing 10 out of 11 aircraft and crews over Holland in March 1943 it was wisely decided to re-equip the depleted squadron with a different type of aircraft.
In September 1943 the Squadron was again operational with the new Mosquito Mk.V1 aircraft, attacking daylight pinpoint targets such as V1 and V2 rocket sites and night intruder sorties against enemy airfields. From D-Day on, 487 sqn. in company with 464 (R.A.A.F.) and 21 (R.A.F.) was part of the 2nd T.A.F., operating behind enemy lines day and night, searching out enemy road convoys, railway troop trains, enemy airfields, etc. – all designed to cause maximum disruption to the enemy forces. Flt. Lt. Max Sparks completed 42 operational sorties with 487 squadron and returned to New Zealand in March 1945.
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