DHM1833. Inbound to Target - The Dambusters by Robert Taylor.
The crews of 617 Squadron that took part in the epic Dambusters raid on the night of 16/17 May 1943 were among the finest in the RAF. They were the elite of Bomber Command, and when they left RAF Scampton that night, the skills of their pilots - some of the finest of the Second World War, would be tested to the limit. First, they must guide their aircraft across heavily defended enemy territory at altitudes often as low as fifty feet, dodging flak, trees, buildings and power lines. And then they must attack their targets with a precision unmatched in the annals of the RAF. Of all the pilots who took to the skies that night, no-one was more accomplished at low-level flying than Flight Lieutenant Mick Martin, and it is his aircraft, Lancaster AJ-P that is the subject of this artwork. In company with Flight Lieutenant John Hopgood in the distance, they follow one of the many canals of Holland, wingtips barely missing the sails of the windmills, en-route to the Mohne Dam.
DHM1701. Well on the Way to Make History - the Dambusters by David Pentland.
The most famous raid of the second world war, the audacious Dambusters raid by Lancasters of No.617 Sqn was to wreak havoc in Germanys industrial heartland. Two dams will be destroyed on the raid - the Mohne and the Eder, flooding the valleys below and stopping production in their factories, providing an immeasurable morale boost for those back home. Here, two of the modified bombers pass windmills on the Dutch canals as they make their way to the first target, their almighty roar shattering the stillness and disturbing some of the local wildlife. As they approach Germany in the moonlight, the bombers are well on the way to make history.
Signed limited edition of 1050 prints.
Image size 17 inches x 12 inches (43cm x 31cm)
Website Price: £ 180.00
To purchase these prints individually at their normal retail price would cost £275.00 . By buying them together in this special pack, you save £95
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Signatures on this item
*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.
Ken Lucas joined the RAF in June 1940, and trained as ground crew for bomber Command. He was sent first to 49 Squadron at RAF Scampton, before transferring to 617 Squadron upon its formation, Involved in all the major servicing of the aircraft before the raid including fitting the motors that drove the belt that spun the bomb, and attaching the critical lamps to the underside of the aircraft. Sadly, Ken Lucas passed away in January 2011.
Grant McDonald was the rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F flown by Ken Brown. On the way to the Ruhr, the gunners shot up and damaged three trains in an eventful trip before reaching the Sorpe Dam. Sadly, we have learned that Grant S McDonald passed away in May 2012.
†Doc Sutherland was the front gunner on Les Knights Lancaster AJ-N that went to the Mohne Dam, and then successfully attacked and breached the Eder Dam. Shot down four months later, he managed to evade capture and escape back to England with the help of the Resistance movements, returning through Holland, France and Spain.
Ray Grayston had been serving in 50 Squadron when he was posted to 617 Squadron in March 1943. The flight engineer of Les Knights Lancaster AJ-N, they attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam, Ray was shot down on 16th September 1943, and was taken to Stalag Luft III as a POW. Sadly, we have learned that Ray Grayston passed away on 15th April 2010.
Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthys Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.
New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after heavy flak damage over Holland had rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation. Squadron Leader Les Munro, who has died aged 96, was the last surviving pilot to have taken part on the Dambusters raid, which attacked the Ruhr Dams in May 1943. His Lancaster was one of the first to take off on the night of May 16. Their target was the Sorpe Dam. Flying at very low level over the Dutch island of Vlieland, the bomber was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. The radios and electrical system were disabled but, crucially, so was the intercommunication system between members of the crew. Without this it was impossible to carry out the precise attack from a height of 60 feet, so with great reluctance, Munro turned for his home base at Scampton, near Lincoln, still with his bouncing bomb on board. John Leslie Munro was born on April 5 1919 at Gisborne, New Zealand, where his Scottish father had emigrated in 1903. He worked as a farmer before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in July 1941. He trained initially in New Zealand and then in Canada, where he completed his qualification as a pilot. On arrival in England he trained on bombers before joining No 97 Squadron, which had recently been re-equipped with the Lancaster. After an operation to drop mines in the sea-lanes to German occupied ports, Munro attacked industrial cities in Germany during the so-called Battle of the Ruhr when Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were among his targets. He also flew on two raids to Berlin and attacked targets in Italy. He and his crew were approaching the end of their tour of operations (30 sorties) when volunteers were called for to form a new squadron for a special operation. Munro discussed it with his crew and they agreed to apply. A few days later, on March 25, they arrived at Scampton to join X Squadron on its formation, later to become No 617. Soon after leaving No. 97 Squadron, Munro was awarded the DFC for pressing home his attacks with great courage and determination. Within days of arriving at Scampton, all the crews were practising intensive low-level flying including runs over lakes and reservoirs when high-tension cables, barrage balloons and birds were an ever-present hazard. During a trial flight with the Upkeep bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis, Munro was flying below the prescribed height of 60 feet when a great plume of water made by the bomb as it made its first bounce damaged the tailplane of his Lancaster. After the Dams Raid, Munro remained on No 617. The squadron suffered further heavy losses and morale was badly affected. Under the leadership of its new commanding officer, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, Munro was made a flight commander. The other two flight commanders were Dave Shannon, an Australian, and the American Joe McCarthy and these three, under Cheshires inspiring leadership, created one of the most effective squadrons to serve in Bomber Command. Cheshire described his three flight commanders as the backbone of the squadron. Of the three, the slow speaking, taciturn New Zealander was the least flamboyant, but his rock steady dependability and utter reliability were an inspiration to his young crews. Cheshire was dissatisfied with the marking of targets by the Pathfinder Force and he developed his own low-level marking technique that proved highly successful. Munro dropped flares from high level and Cheshire dived beneath them to accurately mark the targets for the following bombers. On the eve of D-day on June 5 1944, No 617 flew Operation Taxable, a complex flight requiring extremely accurate flying, navigation and timing. Munro, with Cheshire as his co-pilot, was flying one of the lead aircraft, which flew a series of orbits as it advanced across the English Channel towards the Pas de Calais dropping window (reflective metal strips) to simulate an amphibious landing force approaching the area. This deception created doubt in the Germans minds as to where the Allied landing was taking place and delayed the despatch of reinforcements to Normandy. After the landings, the squadron flew in support of troops establishing the bridgehead. On the night of June 8 , it had a spectacular success when Munro dropped one of the new 12,000-lb Tallboy bombs, which completely destroyed the Saumur railway tunnel. On the following nights he dropped Tallboys on the E-boat pens at Le Havre and Boulogne before attacking the V-weapon sites at Wizernes and Mimoyecques. After this latter raid, his 55th, he and his fellow flight commanders were retired. He had recently been awarded the DSO, his citation concluding with the words, His achievements have been worthy of the greatest praise. Munro finished the war in command of a Bomber Defence Training Flight. He returned to New Zealand and left the RNZAF in February 1946 as a squadron leader. Munro made a major contribution to community life in New Zealand and was Mayor of Tekuiti from 1978 to 1995. He was awarded the Queens Service Order in 1981 and appointed Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to local government and community. Munro retained strong links with his old squadron and made a number of trips to the United Kingdom on special anniversaries. He was present when the Queen dedicated the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park in 2012. In 2015 he placed his medals with an auction house to raise money for the maintenance of the memorial. At the last minute, Lord Ashcroft stepped in to stop the sale, offering to donate £75,000 to the memorials upkeep if Munro gifted his medals to the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. Squadron Leader Les Munro, born April 5 1919, died August 4 2015.