H.M.S. Ark Royal
Print Number 1/50
by Philip E. West
Overall size28” x 20” Image size 25½” x 15”
HMS Ark Royal IV – Flagship of the Flag Officer Aircraft Carriers – a mobile airfield and a most impressive sight as she launches a Phantom from one of her catapults.
She had a standard displacement of 43,000 tons, a beam of 168 feet, and was 846 feet long. Ships company numbered 2,570 and her Air Group consisted of Phantom Interceptors,
Buccaneer strike and Gannet AEW aircraft together with Wessex SAR and Sea King ASW helicopters.
She served her Nation and the Royal Navy for 23 years and sailed 800,000 miles of valuable service, finally being decommissioned
50 Prints in this Remarque Edition £450.00
Print Number 1/50
Every print is signed by:
Vice Admiral Sir Edward Anson KCB,
Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi GCB (both former Captains of the Ark Royal)
Commander TJH Gedge RN AFC (Phantom pilot – actually flew Phantom depicted) Commander D. Hobbs (Gannet pilot), Lt. Commander D R George RN AFC (Wessex helicopter pilot), Captain E M Hackett (Buccaneer pilot), Captain R C Swales RN (Sea King pilot) and Mr. Tom Wilkinson (Fleet Master at Arms).
H.M.S. Ark Royal by Philip E. West
We do hope you will find these biographies of interest. We think that by knowing a little about the men behind each signature, it will help you get the most from your copy of “H.M.S. Ark Royal”.
We would ask you not to reproduce the biographies in any format without our permission.
Please bear in mind that the notes have been prepared by each individual and copied, with virtually no editing, by SWA Fine Art.
Vice Admiral Sir Edward Anson KCB was born in Adelaide, South Australia. After being educated at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent and in Nairobi, Kenya, „Ted‟ entered the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth in 1943.
As a Midshipman and Sub-Lieutenant he served on board the aircraft carrier HMS Implacable and in the destroyer HMS Agincourt.
After pilot training he served in the aircraft carriers HMS Glory, HMS Ark Royal, HMS Bulwark and HMS Victorious.
He was promoted Lieutenant Commander in 1959 when on loan to Blackburn Aircraft Limited as a Test Pilot.
During this appointment he was closely associated with the development of the Buccaneer strike aircraft.
On his return to the Royal Navy he was chosen to command the first RN Buccaneer Squadron – No 801 Naval Air Squadron – in 1962 and served with the Squadron embarked in HMS Ark Royal and HMS Victorious.
Promoted Commander in 1964, „Ted‟ took command of the frigate HMS Eskimo before serving as Commander (Air) at Lossiemouth, Scotland, and in HMS Eagle.
He subsequently commanded the Inter-Service Hovercraft Unit. Following promotion to Captain in 1971 he was Naval Air Attaché to Japan and South Korea in 1972, based in Tokyo.
During 1974 he became Commanding Officer of HMS Juno and Captain 4th Frigate Squadron.
In 1976 he took command of HMS Ark Royal and after promotion to Rear Admiral in 1980 took up his appointment as Flag Officer Naval Air Command at Yeovilton. He was promoted Vice Admiral in 1982 and appointed Chief of Staff to the Commander-inChief Fleet at Fleet Headquarters at Northwood.
Vice Admiral Anson and his wife Rosemary have two children and live at Ilminster, Somerset.
He is descended from the sister of Admiral Lord Anson, who sailed round the world and captured a Spanish treasure ship in the Pacific during the War of Jenkin‟s Ear in the 18th Century.
Admiral Sir Desmond Cassidi GCB joined the Royal Navy in September 1938 and as a Midshipman saw war service in HM Ships Cumberland and Hardy with the Iceland Patrols and Russian Convoys.
He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant in 1944 and took part in the D-Day and South of France landings.
After service in 814 and 810 Naval Air Squadrons, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander in 1953. In 1954 he served at the RN Air Station at Ford in Sussex as the Senior Pilot of the Gannet Intensive Flying Trials Unit, and afterwards became Commanding Officer of 820 Squadron.
In 1955/56 he served in the Ice patrol Ship HMS Protector as First Lieutenant during her first journey to the Antarctic.
During 1956/59 he was on the Directing Staff at the RN Staff College in the rank of Commander.
This was followed by a sea appointment as Commanding Officer of the frigate HMS Whitby, and in 1962/64 he served as Fleet Operations Officer to the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet.
In 1964 he was promoted to Captain and served as Assistant Director of Naval Plans (Warfare) in the Ministry of Defence until 1967 when he was appointed in command of the anti-Submarine frigate HMS Undaunted and as Captain (D) Portland Squadron.
In 1969 he was at the Imperial Defence College and in January 1970 returned to the Ministry of Defence as the Director of Naval Plans.
In command of HMS Ark Royal from August 1972 to November 1973,
he was promoted to Rear Admiral in 1974 when he took up the post of Flag Officer Carriers and Amphibious Ships and Commander Carrier Striking Group Two.
He became Director General Naval Manpower and Training in 1975. He was promoted to Vice Admiral in 1976 and in 1978 took the post of Flag Officer Naval Air Command at Yeovilton.
In September 1979 he was promoted to Admiral when he took the post of Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel and in December 1982 became Commander-in-Chief Home Command.
He was Flag ADC to The Queen 1982-1985 and retired from the Navy in 1985.
Commander T J H Gedge AFC Royal Navy started flying in Glasgow University Air Squadron and joined the Royal Navy in January 1963 as a short career fighter pilot,
later transferring to a full career commission.
He flew Sea Vixen all weather fighter aircraft from HMS Victorious and F-4 Phantom aircraft from HMS Ark Royal before commanding 800 Naval Air Squadron,
the first front-line Sea Harrier squadron in HMS Invincible and later in HMS Hermes.
He formed and commanded 809 Squadron Sea Harriers for Operation Corporate for relief of the Falkland Islands in 1982, initially flying from MV Atlantic Conveyor.
Qualified as a Flying Instructor (QFI) and later as an air warfare instructor (AWI) he served at Yeovilton, Lossiemouth and Leuchars in second-line flying appointments.
He was the last Senior Pilot (SP) of the Royal Naval Air Warfare School 764 Squadron and later SP of the RN Phantom Training Flight at RAF Leuchars followed by SP of the front line Phantoms,
892 Squadron. Other appointments included HMS Jupiter, Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth as Aviation Officer and 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines.
Staff trained at Greenwich he also completed the RAF Air Warfare Course at RAF Cranwell and the RN Force Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Course at HMS Dryad.
Since the Falklands War, Tim Gedge served in the MOD in the Directorate of Naval Air Warfare and later in the Directorate of Operational Requirements (Sea Systems) on the British Naval Staff in Washington and as Staff Aviation Officer to the Flag Officer Flotilla Three (the seagoing NATO Commander ASW Striking Force).
His active service career completed in the MOD Central Staffs and he retired in 1996.
Lieutenant Commander D R George AFC RN joined the Royal Navy as an Artificer Apprentice in 1965. He was commissioned in 1968 and qualified as a commando helicopter pilot in 1970.
Served with 847 Squadron, 848 Squadron, and 771 Squadron 1970-72 and joined the SAR Flight on Ark Royal in 1973.
Between 1975 and 1977 he was an Instructor with 705 Squadron based at RNAS Culdrose.
He joined Ark Royal again in 1977 as SAR Flight Commander.
He returned to 705 Squadron as Training Officer in 1979. 1981-82 was SAR Flight Commander at RNAS Lee-on-Solent and became an Instructor in 707 Squadron at RNAS Yeovilton in 1982.
He returned to 705 Squadron as Senior Pilot in 1983.
Between 1985 and 1988 he was Commanding Officer of 771 Squadron at RNAS Culdrose before becoming Chief Instructor of the Flying Training School at Culdrose in 1988.
In 1991 he became Commanding Officer, Naval Flying Standards Flight (RW) and in 1993 he became Lieutenant Commander Flying, RNAS Culdrose.
In 1996, before he retired from the Navy in 1997, he was 1st Lieutenant RNAS Culdrose.
He is at present Air Day Commercial Manager and Air Day Co-ordinator for RNAS Culdrose.
Captain E M Hackett FIMgt MNI RN joined the Royal Navy in 1961 and served in HM Ships Urchin and Duchess under training before joining Puncheston in the Far East Fleet .
During the confrontation against Indonesia. He began flying training in 1966 and qualified as a Buccaneer pilot in 1968 after which he joined 801 NAS in Hermes.
He was Flag Lieutenant to the Flag Officer Naval Air Command between 1970 and 1972 and then joined 809 NAS in ARK ROYAL after completing the Air Warfare Instructor’s Course. He was Senior Pilot of 809 from 1974 to 1977.
Commanded HMS Rhyl 1978-80. Between 1980-82 he was Sea Harrier and Air Weapons Desk Officer in the Directorate of Naval Air Warfare,
MoD. 1982-1984 Commander (Air) HMS Illustrious and was Staff Aviation Officer to Flag Officer third Flotilla, Portsmouth 1984-85, when he was promoted to Captain.
1985-87 saw him commanding HMS Rooke and Chief of Staff to the Flag Officer Gibraltar.
From there he commanded HMS Coventry between 1988-90. Between 1990-92 he was Deputy Director Naval Warfare (Air) and Adviser on aircraft Accidents to the Navy Board.
He was Captain of the Port – Queen’s Harbour Master and Chief Staff Officer to the Flag Officer Portsmouth from 1992 to 1994, when he retired from the Active List.
He is presently occupied as a consultant to Operational Command Training Organisation Ltd where he advises,
teaches and assesses senior managers on crisis and accident management in high risk and potentially dangerous industries. He is also Trials Master for new Warships.
Commander David Hobbs MBE RN joined the Royal Navy in 1964 and since qualifying as a pilot, flew both fixed and rotary wing aircraft “to the deck”, including Gannet AEW aircraft,
Wessex Commando helicopters and Canberra ECCM aircraft. He has served on the aircraft carriers, Victorious, Centaur, Hermes, Bulwark,
Albion and two Ark Royals (the 1955 and 1985 ships) with 849, 845, 846 Naval Air Squadrons and 360 RN/RAF Joint Squadron.
While serving in the Director General Aircraft (Naval) Department,
he was responsible for developing the visual and electronic recovery aids for the Sea Harrier.
He also organised the flying trials that cleared the Invincible class and Hermes to operate the modern generation of aircraft at sea.
He has been Curator and Deputy Director of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at RNAS Yeovilton since leaving the active list of the Royal Navy in 1998.
After a lifetime interest in naval history, he is the author of numerous books, contributes regularly to a variety of international publications and has presented papers at naval historical symposia in Australia, France, New Zealand, the United States and Great Britain. He is an adviser to the naval Staff on a range of aircraft carrier matters.
Admiral Sir Michael Layard, KCB, CBE retired from the Royal Navy in 1995 after some 40 years service – first as a Seaman Officer, then as a Fighter Pilot,
flying from the aircraft carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal.
He commanded the last Sea Vixen Squadron, 899, HMS Lincoln, HMS Cardiff and the Royal Naval Air Station at Culdrose.
He was also the last Commander Air in the former HMS Ark Royal.
His first job as a Rear Admiral, in 1988, was as the Fleet Air Arm Tribal Chief, FONAC, later to embrace all active Naval Aviation as the FONA.
Finally, he was the first combined Second Sea Lord and CinC Naval Home Command, on the Admiralty Board and responsible for all Royal Naval and Royal Marine people policy.
He took part in several “bush fire” conflicts in the Middle and Far East during the 60s and 70s.
He saw action in the Falklands War, as the Senior Naval Officer in MV Atlantic Conveyor. He was awarded the CBE.
Now, in retirement, he is involved in too many things ranging from Charities and Trusts, to School Governorships, the NHS and the Fleet Air Arm Museum
He and his wife, Elspeth have lived in Somerset, on and off, for over 35 years and she is the proud Sponsor who launched the Duke Class Frigate, HMS Somerset. They have two delightful married sons.
He says he is a passable painter and a passionate sailor and they are never happier than when they are “collecting experiences” – he did a bungie jump in New Zealand on his sixtieth birthday! His 32-foot yacht „Banjo‟ is the second most beautiful woman in his life.
Captain Roy C Swales BSc RN entered BRNC Dartmouth in May 1959, passing out as an Acting Sub Lieutenant in 1961.
Served in HMS Scarborough and selected for helicopter pilot training in 1962. Flying training at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, RNAS Culdrose and RNAS Portland between 1963-64.
Served with 829 and 826 Squadrons between 1964-67, in the Far East, Mediterranean and Home before a two year USN exchange at NAS Key West, Florida.
Joined 700S Squadron flying Sea King Mk1 at RNAS Culdrose between 1969-70. Commanded HMS Upton (minesweeper) 1971-72.
Senior Pilot 819 Squadron, HMS Gannet 1973-74 before joining 824 Squadron as Senior Pilot on board HMS Ark Royal 1974-75.
Joined the Staff of Flag Officer Naval Air Command twice (1975-77 and 1978-80) and became CO 706 Squadron 1977-78.
Appointed to Directorate of Naval Air Warfare, MoD 1982-84, and was Commander (Air) at RNAS Portland 1985-86.
Appointed Captain, he was Senior Military Coordinator at Defence Operational Analysis Establishment 1986-88 and then joined the International Military Staff at NATO HQ,
Brussels until he returned to the MoD for his last appointment as Deputy Director for Naval Aviation Requirements in the Directorate of Operational Requirements (Sea) in 1991.
He retired from the Active List in 1993.
In 1997 he gained a BSc (First Class Honours) through the Open University. He is an active volunteer with the Records and Research Centre at the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Tom Wilkinson MBE BEM was appointed to the Naval Air Station at Yeovilton HMS Heron as Master at Arms on 12th September 1968.
And this was the commencement of the most happy period of his service career.
He spent two years at Heron, which were to stand him in good stead in later appointments with the Fleet Air Arm.
He was asked on completion of his appointment if he would take Eagle. It was to be her last commission before being broken up and he jumped at the chance,
staying on board for 18 months until returning from the Far East to pay off. He owed this appointment to FONAC.
Tom went back to Heron for a year and was then appointed to the Britannia Royal Naval College,
Dartmouth supposedly for six months but stayed 20, the first Fleet Master at Arms to do so.
He was then asked to take Ark Royal and this without reservation was the happiest appointment of his service life. He spent two and a half years in that wonderful ship.
He was appointed an MBE together with his BEM. He was presented to HM The Queen on two occasions,
on one of which he carried the Admiralty Verge before Her Majesty when she attended the Jubilee Dinner in 1977.
He had the honour and privilege of serving in the two largest carriers with the finest and most professional officers and men in the Service.
A Certificate of Authenticity and biographical details on each signatory accompanies every print.
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