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SWA Fine Art is a trading name for Sunset Aviation Art Limited

SWA Fine Art is a trading name for Sunset Aviation Art Limited.
Reg # 11297707


Close encounter print

Close Encounter

by Philip E. West

Approx. overall size: 20" x 28" / 51cms x 71 cms

Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston, “A” Flight Commander – 225 Squadron in Spitfire Mk. VB, ER 660 attacks a German Transport Convoy on a mountain road near Sjedenane in Tunisia with Pilot Officer Melvyn Evans flying as his wingman – 6th March 1943.

Primary Edition signed by Flight Lieutenant Bryan Colston,
“A” Flight Commander – 225 Squadron (the pilot in the main Spitfire)
and Wing Commander Hank Costain MBE, Spitfire pilot 154 Squadron.

Artist Proofs and Remarques also signed by Squadron Leader
Geoffrey Wellum DFC

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.

Primary Edition : 275 £100

25 Artist Proofs £120
25 Remarques £220

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.

Squadron Leader Bryan P Colston DFC was born in Buckinghamshire on 27 May 1921 and was educated at St Paul’s School. He joined the RAFVR in 1940, training on Tiger Moths, Oxfords and Lysanders, becoming a fighter reconnaissance pilot with 225 Squadron in 1941. He served with 225 Sqn. until July 1943 and became a Flight Commander in 1942. He flew Lysanders, Tomahawks, Hurricanes, Mustangs and Spitfires serving throughout the Tunisian campaign and flying over a hundred operational sorties. He contracted typhoid fever at the end of the campaign and was invalided back to the UK, where, after periods of instructing at 61 OTU and some staff appointments, he commanded 695 Squadron flying Spitfire XVIs.

Wing Commander Hank Costain MBE was born in Horton on the Gower Coast and was educated at Christ College Brecon. He joined the RAFVR for pilot training in September 1940. He trained in the USA in Arizona at Thunderbird Field and Falcon Field, returning to the UK in 1941 to complete operational training at 53 OTU on Spitfire Mk1s.

He flew with No 154 Squadron (Motor Industries Squadron) Spitfire Vbs in the Hornchurch Wing. The Squadron was withdrawn from 11 Group to prepare for the invasion of North Africa, operation Torch. He flew with the Squadron throughout the North African campaign and moved with the Squadron to Malta to prepare for the invasion of Sicily, operation Husky. After moving to Lentini East in Sicily his tour was completed and he was posted back to The Canal Zone 73 OTU Abu Sueir as an instructor. Having completed his instructor’s tour the Far East were calling for experienced Spitfire pilots and he found himself en route to No 615 Squadron (County of Surrey) R.Aux.A.F. in Burma.
He baled out of a SpitfireMkViii while operating with 615 Squadron and spent several months in hospital in Calcutta before being invalided home. Fit again he became an instructor at 61 OTU Keevil on Spitfires and Mustangs.

The next tour was with 245 Squadron at Horsham St Faith flying Meteor 3s. This tour was cut short, as there was a call for the two Spitfire Squadrons in Japan to be reinforced. At the end of 1946 he found himself on No 11 Squadron at Miho in Japan as part of the BCAIR element of BCOF (British Commonwealth Occupation Force).

Returning from Japan in 1948 he spent a period ferrying with No 20 Maintenance Unit followed be an appointment as Unit Test Pilot at No9MU. He completed the CFS Course in 1952 and became Training Officer of No602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron R.Aux.A.F. Promoted to Squadron Leader in 1953, a tour as Chief Ground Instructor and OC Gunnery Squadron at 226 OCU was completed. When 226 OCU was disbanded he took command of No608 (NR) Squadron R.Aux.A.F. at Thornaby on Tees, flying Vampires.

He completed his RAF career in Guided Weapons. A tour of Woomera evaluating the Bloodhound Mk2 SAM missile. Then CO of No 33 (SAM) Squadron at Butterworth in Malaysia followed by appointment as CO of No 25 (SAM) Squadron at North Coates and RAF Germany.

The Artist Proof and Remarque editions have also been signed by:

Squadron Leader Geoffrey Wellum DFC joined the RAF with a Short Service Commission in August 1939. He joined no 92 Squadron flying Spitfires in June 1940 at the time of Dunkirk . He flew throughout the Battle of Britain, later completing over 50 fighter sweeps and escorts over northern France and Belgium until August 1941. He then joined 65 Squadron as Flight Commander in March 1942 operating over northern France and flew off Aircraft Carrier Furious on operation Pedestal, to Malta. (Geoff was a Flt. Lt. during “Operation Pedestal”) He returned to the UK as a test pilot Gloster Aircraft and finished the war as a Pilot Attack Instructor.

Geoffrey was credited with three destroyed, four probables and several damaged and was awarded the DFC in July 1941.

Geoff’s Best Selling book “First Light, recalling his wartime flying career, is highly recommended by SWA Fine Art. To give you some idea of the popularity of this book, sales to date have reached 500,000 copies! The book is available to order through most book shops. Alternatively, the book can be ordered online at www.Amazon.co.uk

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