Attack on the Tirpitz
by Philip E. West
November 12th 1944. Lancaster's from Nos 617 and 9 Squadron bombed the German battleship 'Admiral von Tirpitz' at anchor just off Tromso. Using Barnes Wallis designed Tallboy bombs dropped from between 12,000 to 16,000 feet they delivered several very close misses and three or more direct hits. A column of steam and smoke shot up to 300 feet and within a few minutes the massive ship began to turn turtle. The RAF and Royal Navy had had several previous 'goes' at the Tirpitz with limited success, but on this occasion the threat from this extremely powerful warship ended.
The painting depicts Wing Commander J B Tait's Lancaster after his bombing run 'staying on the scene' to observe the outcome of the mission. The rest of 617 and 9 Squadron aircraft complete their runs and turn to head home to Lossiemouth. Down below at low level another Lancaster is orbiting and filming the destruction. This Lancaster came from 463 Squadron and was the last one to return home. With only one Lancaster being seriously damaged all the aircraft completed the mission.
Original painting for sale. http://swafineart.com/pages/originals.htm
All the prints have been signed and numbered by Philip E. West.
The Primary Edition has also been signed by former Lancaster pilot on this raid and the Artist Proofs and Remarques are additionally signed
by another pilot also on the Tirpitz raid.
Overall print size approx: 20” x 27½ / 51 x 70cms.
The Primary Edition is signed and numbered by the artist and countersigned by:
Sqn. Ldr. Lawrence “Benny” Goodman (Pilot) volunteered for aircrew at 18 years of age and was called up in 1940. After basic training he went to RAF Abingdon – a Whitley O.T.U – for what he was told would be ‘straight through’ training. This did not materialise and he found himself in the role of a Ground Gunner. In 1941, a posting eventually came through to the Initial Training Wing followed by Elementary Flying School at Peterborough and an instructor’s course at Woodley, Reading; then to Clyffe Pyparde, a holding unit. A sea journey to Canada followed and Service Flying Training School on Ansons. On completion he was posted to Kingston, Ontario, to instruct Acting Leading Naval Airmen on the Royal Navy tactics of the time. e.g. jinking after take off, dive bombing etc. “However, I had to learn everything first, so I was just about one step ahead of the students! said Benny.
Eventually returning to the UK and O.T.U. on Wellingtons at Silverstone and Heavy Conversion Bomber Unit at Swinderby on Stirlings. Then a short course at the Lancaster Conversion Unit. After an interview Benny and his crew were surprised and delighted to find they had been selected for 617 Squadron – this was in 1944 and they stayed together as a crew on 617 Squadron until the war in Europe ended. He completed 30 missions – all with William “Jock” Burnett as his flight engineer. Notable raids Benny took part in were on the Tirpitz (29/10/44), dropping the Grand Slam 22,000 bomb on the Arnsberg Viaduct (19/03/45) and the attack on Berchtesgarten ‘Eagles nest’ (25/05/45).
the Artist Proofs and Remarque editions have also been signed by :
Sqn. Ldr. Tony Iveson, (Pilot) DFC, AE, CRAeS was born and raised in Yorkshire and learned to fly in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve before the war. In 1940 he flew with 616 and 92 Fighter Squadrons, Fighter Command, and survived ditching a Spitfire in the North Sea after a combat with a Junkers 88. After qualifying at the RAF’s Central Flying School in 1941 he went on to be a flying instructor in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
On returning to Britain he was directed to Bomber Command and was posted to No. 617 ‘Dam Busters’ Squadron in 1944 flying Lancasters. He was later appointed a Flight Commander. Amongst other operations he flew on all three attacks the Squadron made on the German battleship “Tirpitz”. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in January 1945.
He was seconded to BOAC at the end of the war to Captain Avro Lancastrians on the re-opening of the routes to Australia and other countries. Later he returned to RAF Transport Command flying Handley Page Hastings before retiring in 1951. He also commanded an Auxiliary Squadron from 1954 to 1957.
He was Secretary of 617 Squadron Association from 1966 to 1990 and is currently Chairman of the Bomber Command Association, still 6500 strong! His post-war career was entirely in communications – in the printing industry, in television, advertising, corporate and financial public relations. Since his retirement in 1990 he lived in the south of France for eight years, returning to England after the death of his wife.