Winter of '41
Overall size 28” x 20”
Philip E. West
print size 16” x 26” / 40cms x 66cms.
snow during the winter of 1941 often kept pilots and their aircraft
grounded, despite the best efforts of the ground crew. Spitfire
'G' George - based at RAF Manston and assigned to Flt. Lt. Geoffrey
Wellum, could only resume combat sweeps over northern Europe once
the storm had passed and they were all satisfied the aircraft
was safe to fly.
print signed by Flt. Lt. 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.
The Primary Edition prints 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 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 3000,000 copies! The book is available to order through most book shops. Alternatively, the book can be ordered online at www.Amazon.co.uk
The Artist Proof and Remarque Editions are also signed by this very distinguished and highly decorated pilot:
Squadron Leader Neville Duke, DSO OBE DFC** AFC CzMC began training as a fighter pilot in 1940 at the age of 18. Oblivious to the fact that keeping a diary was a contravention of the Official Secrets Act, Neville began right away, diarising his daily thoughts and experiences. In the entry for New Year’s Day 1941, he noted, “The past year has been the best and most successful of my life. I started flying last August and some of my friends are dead, but many of my brother-pupils will last this war out. Perhaps if I should one day fall, this diary will be of some slight interest to those who will in the future become pilots.”
In April 1941 he was posted to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill where he was 'Sailor Malan's wingman. Later that year he was posted to 112 Squadron in the Middle East, where he survived being shot down twice by pilots of JG-27.
By February 1942 Neville Duke had 8 confirmed enemy aircraft shot down and three probables. Then followed a second tour with 92 Squadron, flying Spitfire Vs in the North African campaign, before going on to a third tour flying Spitfire VIIIs with 145 Squadron in Italy. He became the Allied top-scorer in the Mediterranean theatre.
Neville logged 28 combat victories, 485 sorties and more than 700 hours’ flying, all meticulously recorded in his diaries.
After the war, rather than accept a desk job Neville joined Hawker as a test pilot. In 1949, delivering a Hawker Fury to Pakistan, he set speed records for London to Rome and London to Karachi. He went on to become Chief Test Pilot in 1951. On September 7, 1953, flying his famous all red Hawker Hunter, he set a new air speed record of Speed record at 727.63 mph.
As of February 2006 Neville, at the age of 83, still flies about once every other week, often with his 85-year-old wife, Meg, beside him.
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