Home at Dusk
by Philip E. West
After another long day of dog-fighting with enemy aircraft, Flt. Lt. Geoffrey Wellum and his wingman from 92 Squadron make their way back to base as the sun sets over the River Thames. As sure as night follows day, both pilots are all too aware that tomorrow will bring more aerial combat and the
ever present threat they may never live to see another sunset.
Approx. overall print size: 17¼” x 27½”/ 44 x 70cms
The Primary Edition is signed by Flt. Lt. Frank Newman 92 Squadron Spitfire pilot. The Artist Proofs and Remarque Editions are signed by
Fl. Lt. Geoff Wellum DFC – as featured in the picture.
(For further details, please see below)
The Primary Edition prints are signed by the artist and:-
Flight Lieutenant Newman left O.T.U. to join 131 Squadron at Tangmere in time to participate in the closing months of the Battle of Britain. As the enemy activity diminished so the policy of Fighter Command turned to offensive sweeps over western France. By the end of 1942 the A.O.C decided to give the squadrons of 11 Group a rest from their intensive operations, so 131 Squadron was posted to northern Scotland to defend Scapa Flow naval base.
This routine series of operations came to an end when Frank was chosen, together with a number of other experienced pilots, to form a fighter wing for the invasion of North Africa. My mid-1943 Rommel and the African Corps had been swept out of Algeria and Tunisia by General Montgomery and the Eighth Army. After a short rest the Desert Air Force was heavily engaged in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. By this time Frank was transferred to join the already famous 92 Squadron where he was pleased to come under the command of such experienced pilots as Group Captain Brian Kingcome and Squadron Leader Neville Duke.
For the next few months 92 Squadron was heavily involved in a twice-weekly patrol over the Anzio Bridgehead where they occasionally met small units of the Luftwaffe. It was at this point that the squadron was hoping to score its 300th enemy aircraft destroyed. This happened on the 17th February 1944 and it was time for a squadron celebration! The enemy continued to appear in small numbers and later in the year whilst leading a dusk patrol Frank Newman and his fellow pilots were able to add to this score so that by the end of the campaign the total score reached 317½ definitely destroyed and over 200 probably destroyed. Any further increase in this number of victories was made impossible when the squadron was switched to fighter/bombers in late 1944; for this, tactics were so different. Each Spitfire carried a 500lb bomb and was given a map reference for his target by the army ground force.
After the war Fl. Lt. Newman was sent on a training course to be become a Test Pilot. Upon completion of the course he was appointed Test Pilot at the R.A.F.’s biggest maintenance units (132 M.U.) where he enjoyed the privilege of flying thirty-one different types of aircraft.
the Artist Proofs are signed by the artist and:-
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 Wellum 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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