by Philip West.
Approx. overall print size 19½” x 26”/ 49cms x 66cms
The Short Stirling was the RAF's first four-engined bomber to enter service and it served throughout WW11 in many roles including bomber, minelayer, troop carrier and glider-tug. The lack of power produced by its engines severely limited the loads carried by Stirlings. On long-range trips such as Italy, even with a greatly reduced bomb load the aircraft could barely clear the Alps. Despite very large losses due to its operational limitations, those that flew this big, agile aircraft, came to respect and look upon it with it
Two Victoria Crosses were awarded to Stirling pilots.
This print has been signed by the artist and the following former Stirling pilots.
Flt. Lt.R. Livermore (Pilot) was part of 299 Air Support Squadron in Norfolk. He flew six ops. on Stirlings, taking supplies to the French resistance - dropping 24 containers at a time by parachute at night, each one full of supplies, including guns and ammunition. They had to arrive at the target area within a five minute period, or else
the resistance would leave for fear of a trap being set by the Germans. When the resistance were satisfied they were watching the correct aircraft they would flash they torches on and off as both a signal and also to pinpoint the drop zone. Flt. Lt. Livermore also towed gliders behind his Stirling aircraft during the Rhine crossing.
THE ARTIST PROOFS & REMARQUES have also been signed by:
Sqn. Ldr. Lawrence “Benny” Goodman (Pilot) – 617 sqn Lancaster pilot who completed 30 missions. Notable raids he 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).
S/Ldr. W.E. (Bill) Lucas DFC (Pilot) was born in 1917. He volunteered for aircrew early in 1940 and after training as a fighter pilot he became, due to the high demand, a bomber pilot and joined 9 Squadron (Wellingtons) in August 1941. After 14 missions over Germany Bill converted to Stirlings and completed a further 26 operations, this time with 15 Squadron at Wyton.
After two years instructing at 19 OTU Kinloss he was selected to join Pathfinder Force in October 1944 to fly Mosquitoes with 162 Squadron at Bourn, Cambridgeshire, where he remained until war end to complete 41 more missions making 81 in total. Bill attained the rank of Sqdn/Ldr. and was awarded the DFC and a Mention in Despatches. The most memorable of his missions must be the first 1000 bomber raid on Cologne on May 30 1942, as this seems to have struck a lasting memory in the minds of the general public. After the war Bill pursued a career in the insurance industry and also began to pick up the pieces of a serious athletic activity with the Belgrave Harriers which resulted in selection for the 5000 metres at the Olympic Games at Wembley in 1948, but at the age of 32 he was not in his own words “very successful”. Bill says his greatest regret was missing the games in Helsinki in 1940 and the cancelled games in 1944. “These should have been the best athletic years of my life.”
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