by Stephen Brown
oOverall size of prints 28” x 20”
RAF Lancasters over Kynance Cove in Cornwall, returning from a daylight sortie over Northern France in the winter of 1944.The Avro Lancaster played a leading roll within Bomber Command during WW2. It formed the backbone of a continuous 4-year offensive by the RAF that eventually culminated in the Allied liberation of Europe.
Signed by three Lancaster pilots (first ever print signings) and seven other Lancaster aircrew. (Notes on each crew member accompany every print)
Please see below for details of the signatories of this edition.
As with all our prints, this edition was signed in the presence
of Sean Whyte, owner and publisher of SWA Fine Art Limited.
Stephen Brown is a self-taught artist who has specialised almost exclusively in aviation subjects for the last 15 years. Building on a background as a landscape and aviation photographer, his style carefully combines both these areas of interest. Stephen’s originals in oil are in much demand and have been regularly exhibited with the prestigious Guild of Aviation Artists. Demand for his originals is high with regular commissions being undertaken for commercial and private clients as well as the RAF.
All the print editions are signed by the following aircrew:
We do hope you will find the following biographies of interest. We think that by knowing a little about the men behind each signature, it will help you get the most from your copy of “Lancasters Over Kynance”. We would ask you to not reproduce the biographies in any format without our permission.
Please bear in mind that the notes have been prepared by each individual and copied, with virtually no editing, by SWA Fine Art.
Flt Lt Phil Ainley DFC (Pilot) was accepted for aircrew training in February 1942 at the age of 17½ years. He was selected for pilot training and was sent to the United States Naval Aviation base in Pensecola. After gaining his United States Navy wings on completion of his Catalina flying boat course, he was commissioned and returned to the UK. Following retraining on land planes, he eventually joined No. 57 Lancaster squadron in May 1944.
The squadron was heavily engaged in attacking both French flying bomb sites, the build up to D. Day and German industrial targets. One sortie to Konigsberg necessitated flying for 11 hours 10 minutes, whilst another was to drop mines in the Stettin canal from 250 feet. For this last sortie Flt Lt Ainley was awarded an immediate DFC.
He completed his operational tour of 33 sorties in October 1944, having flown all this time with the same crew with the exception of a replacement flight engineer.
On completing a course at the Bomber Command Instructors School, he became a flying instructor in Bomber Command.
Warrant Officer Ron Legg (Flight Engineer) joined the RAF at Lords Cricket on 12 July 1943. Prior to that he was an engineering apprentice with a well-known Bristol company. He was called to the Aircrew Selection Board at Oxford and chose to become a Flight Engineer and following a minor operation on his nose, he went to Lords Cricket Ground. After three weeks initial training in London, he went to Torquay and then to St Athans for the six months training as a F/E. He passed out in March 1944 having never flown in an aeroplane. When on his first leave, friends would say “What’s it like up there?” he was embarrassed to admit that he had not yet flown. After his leave, he was posted to Scampton where he met the lads that had been crewed up at OTU and were destined for the Lancaster.
His next posting was to Winthorpe, 1661 Heavy Conversion Unit. The aircraft was the Stirling and he flew with Sgt. Anscombe for a full course; this was mainly to gain air experience. He was then crewed up with F/L Oldacre and did the same course again as the F/E. An experienced F/E flew with them until he was satisfied that they were competent.
The next posting was with his crew to Syerston for a conversion on the Lancaster and then to 9 Squadron, Bardney where they did a total of about 12 hours on training flights. The pilot had to do one operation as a 2nd pilot, on that trip he was shot down but he baled out and evaded capture. They then returned to another HCU 1654 Wigsley, once again on the Stirling and another pilot W/O Ross. From there the course was completed and they went through the Lancaster finishing course once again, then to 57 Squadron East Kirkby for operational flying. The first op. was a daylight raid on Wilhelmshaven 5th October 1944 and the last on 7th April 1945. His total was 31 operations.
He was then posted to a holding unit for redundant aircrew and never flew again with the RAF.
W/O Roy Last (Air Gunner) was called up early in 1943 upon reaching his eighteenth birthday. He trained at 7 AGS Stormydown and crewed up at Wing OTU. He started ops. at 101 Squadron, Ludford Magna on 18th April 1944 on Aachen and was selected for Pathfinders after six ops. with 101 squadron. He completed 30 ops. with 582 Squadron at Little Staughton, carrying out several master bomber raids. He was wounded by flak in September 1944 and returned to the Squadron. He rejoined his skipper and completed another ten ops. before being posted to PFTU as a gunnery instructor.
F/O Fred Osborne (Bomb Aimer) joined the RAF in 1941 for pilot training and after going ‘solo’ (Tiger Moths) at Fair Oaks, Surrey was posted to the USA Detroit then Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida. He spent and enjoyable two to three months at Pensacola but was devastated at being scrubbed and remustered to Observer course in Canada; his offer to be a glider pilot was refused.
He eventually served as B/A with Bob Sexton’s (Australian) crew and served on 101 Sqd. and 7 Sqd. PFF. His ‘Tour’ and ops. flying ended after a mid-air collision whilst returning from an op on Leipzig. He cannot recall the actual crash but owes his life to the late T Shaw who rescued him from the burning aircraft.
Flt/Sgt. Jeff Palmer (Navigator/Bomb Aimer) volunteered for aircrew duties at the age of 20 in 1941. He later trained as Nav/BA in South Africa. After further training he joined 195 & 9 Sqns. and took part in Ops. over Germany. Towards the end of the war he took part in “Operation Manna” over Holland. After the end of the war he flew to India with 9 Sqn. and took part in victory demonstrations. he was demobilised in 1946.
Warrant Officer Don Say DFC (Navigator/Ron has depicted Bomb Aimer) joined the RAFVR in March 1939 and was sent for Aircrew training to Calgary and Hamilton in Canada in 1941. He qualified as Observer (armaments) aimer and served first on Vickers Wellingtons with 466 Sqdn (Aus), completing 20 Operations before moving on to 196 Sqdn for a further ten Operations over France and Germany on Stirlings.
After six months as Instructor, his second tour (23 Operations) in Lancasters was with 514 Sqd. The picture evoked memories of a daylight Operation on oil refineries at Bordeaux on 4 August 1944. Crossing the Cornish coast on return at very low level, everyone reported nude sunbathers running for cover, as 300 Lancasters roared overhead.
His total war service was six and a half years between 1939 and 1945, completing two operational tours. He was awarded the DFC in 1944.
Flight Lieutenant Jack Stidard AE (Navigator) joined the RAF in 1942 and trained as a navigator at No 1 CNS, Rivers, Canada. He eventually joined 90 Squadron at Tuddenham in early 1945 and was still in the early stages of his tour when the European war was ended. He felt privileged to take part in four Operation Manna ops. in late April/early May, when food was dropped to the starving Dutch, but he did not appreciate how desperate the situation was until post war visits to Holland with The Manna Association. Released from the RAF in 1946, he served in the RAFVR for 14 years in the Intelligence branch and was also OC of an ATC Squadron.
Flight Lieutenant Robert Stone, Croix de Guerre, (Pilot) volunteered for flying duties in 1941 and was trained as a pilot in Canada. On returning to the UK he trained on Blenheims and was posted to North Africa early in 1943. He was invalided home after a short period, having suffered a rare tropical disease and was posted to Bomber Command and trained on Wellingtons. He was subsequently posted to 550 Sqd. No 1 Group, stationed at North Killingholme in Lincolnshire, flying Lancasters. After completing 29 operations he was grounded (having developed a duodenal ulcer) and was discharged from the RAF shortly afterwards. He was subsequently awarded the Croix de Guerre. The rest of his working life was spent with the Bank of England and he is now retired and living in Somerset.
Flt/Lt. B S Turner DFC (Pilot) volunteered for the RAF in 1940 and trained as a Heavy Bomber pilot flying Tiger Moths, Airspeed Oxfords and Wellingtons at Hatfield, South Cerney and Pershore respectively. His first operational posting was to a grass field aerodrome at Feltwell where he flew Wellingtons with 75 N.Z. Sqd. After a tour of 37 trips mainly over Germany he then spent two and a half years as “taxi driver” with various navigation training flights and some two years later was posted to 61 Sqd. at Skellingforth for a second tour of ops flying Lancasters – flying ‘N’ for Nan on her 100th trip. After 21 ops he went to T.R.E. Defford as an experimental pilot. At that time the Air Force was preparing Tiger Force for the invasion of Japan, but because of the atomic bomb being dropped the invasion did not take place. Flying at Defford was with radar ‘boffins’ testing their various offensive and defensive radar equipment in about ten different types of aircraft.
In 1946 Flt/Lt Turner left the Air Force and joined Unilever in what was then known as the Belgian Congo.
Warrant Officer Bernard Warren (Rear Gunner) joined the RAFVR on 25 January 1943 and qualified as an Air Gunner from No 7 AGS Stormey Down in July 1943. After ITW he was posted to 28 OTU in August where he crewed up as a Rear Gunner. The crew then moved to No 1662 Conversion Unit at Blyton until they were posted to 103 Squadron – 1 Group – Elsham Wolds. His first op. as a spare Mid-upper Gunner was to Augsberg on 25 February 1944. On the same op. his pilot went with another crew and failed to return. With a new pilot they commenced ops. and had completed seven when they were shot down and baled out over Dusseldorf on 22 April 1944. He spent the next 12 months in POW camps and left the RAF in August 1946.
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