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Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC* (deceased)
|Learnt to fly at the age of 16 and joined the RAF two years later in 1936. He first saw action in 1940 when as a Flight Commander in 32 Squadron, based at Biggin Hill, he flew his Hurricane against the fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe. He recalls this as an intensely busy period, during which he shot down an Me109 - his first enemy aircraft; by the end of August that same year his tally of enemy aircraft shot down increased to eight. Awarded the DFC, he was transferred to 257 Squadron where he joined Bob-Stanford Tuck as a Flight Commander. Promoted in 1941 to Squadron Leader, Pete Brothers then took command of 457 Squadron RAAF, equipped with Spitfires. A year later when 457 Squadron returned to Australia, Pete took command of 602 Squadron. In the early autumn of 1942 he went on to become Wing Leader of the Tangmere Wing, succeeding his old friend, Douglas Bader. By the end of the war Pete Brothers had amassed 875 operational hours over a 44-month period. He was credited with having personally shot down 16 enemy aircraft and damaged many more. He later went on to command 57 Squadron during the Malaya campaign. Upon return to the UK Pete Brothers joined the V-Force, flying Valiant-4 jet bombers. He retired in 1973. Sadly, Pete Brothers died 18th December 2008.|
Group Captain Dennis David CBE DFC AFC (deceased)
|Dennis David served with distinction in both the Battle of France and Battle of Britain. He regards the RAFs success in the former - during which he was credited with 11.5 victories - as crucial to victory in the Battle of Britain. He was a member of 87 Squadron at the outbreak of war and was posted to France in 1939 as part of the Air Component. When the Blitzkrieg began on 10th May 1940, he was a Flying Officer. He destroyed a Do17 and shared a He111 on the first day, and by the time the squadron withdrew to the United Kingdom late in the month he had brought his score to 11.5 and been awarded the DFC and Bar. He continued to fly during the Battle of Britain, destroying a Ju88 and a Bf109 on the 11th August, a Ju87, a Bf110 and another shared on the 15th and a Ju88 and Bf109 on the 25th. He shot down a He111 on 15th September and the following month was posted as a Flight Commander to 213 Squadron. On 19th October he destroyed a Ju88 to bring his score to 20 and in November was posted to 152 Squadron. In 1943, with the rank of Wing Commander, he was posted to the Middle East to command 89 Squadron on Beaufighters. In November he led the Squadron to Ceylon and early the following year was promoted again to Group Captai. He served in Burma until the end of the war, after which he remained in the RAF with the Rank of Wing Commander. He died 25th August 2000.|
Group Captain Frank Carey (deceased)
|Born 7th May 1912. Frank Carey joined the Royal Air Force n 1927 as a 15 year old apprentice. Carey was first employed as a ground crew fitter and metal rigger but in 1935 Frank carey was selected in 1935 for a pilots course. He was then posted as a sergeant pilot to No 43 Squadron, the Fighting Cocks, whose aircraft he had been servicing. Demonstrating exceptional panache in the Hawker Fury biplane fighter, Carey was selected for the squadrons renowned aerobatics team which took part in many air displays. In early 1939, No 43 Squadron was re-equipped at Tangmere, Sussex, with the eight-gun Hurricane fighter. During World War Two, Frank Carey scored 25 enemy aircraft destroyed, one of the highest Allied fighter pilot totals. Carey opened his account at Acklington in Northumberland, when he shared in the destruction of several Heinkel shipping raiders during the cold winter of 1939-40. This was followed by a short spell at Wick defending the fleet at Scapa Flow before he was commissioned as a pilot officer and posted with No 3 Hurricane Squadron to Merville in France after the German invasion, adding to his total. After six days day of continuous combat, during which he bagged some 14 kills Carey was shot down. He had attacked a Dornier 17 bomber and was following it closely down in its last moments; the pilot was dead but the surviving rear gunner pressed his trigger to set Careys Hurricane alight, wounding him in a leg. The fire stopped, and Carey lwas forced to land between the Allied and enemy lines. Carey managed to get back by hitching a lift with a Belgium soldier on the back of his motorbike until he was picked up by a Passing Army truck which got him to a casualty station at Dieppe, he was put on a Hospital train but the train was attacked by the luftwaffe afer the attack the Engin eDriver had detache dthe train form the carriages and left the wounded. The wlaking wounded managed to push the carriages to the relative safety of La Baule on the coast. Frank Carey along with some other RAF personel managed to obtain a abandoned Bristol Bombay whihc they flew back to Hendon with Carey manning the rear gun. Carey found himself listed as missing believed killed and awarded a DFC and Bar to add to an earlier DFM. He returned to Tangmere just in time for the Battle of Britain. During the Battle of Britain, Carey was shot down during an attack on a large formation of German aircraft, when after several ships had been lost from a Channel convoy during the summer of 1940 Carey and five other Hurricane pilots of No 43 Squadron arrived on the scene to find enemy aircraft stretched out in great lumps all the way from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg. Frank Carey said about the combat At the bottom were Ju87 dive-bombers; above these Me 109s in great oval sweeps, and above them Me 110s. Three of us got up into them. It was absolutely ludicrous - three of us to take on that mob. At one stage I found himself hooked on to the tail of the last of an echelon of 109s and started firing away quite merrily. Then I had an awful wallop. It was an Me 110 with four cannons sitting just behind me. There was a big bang and there, in the wing, was a hole a man could have crawled through. Carey was slightly wounded by an explosive bullet, then a second Me 110 attacked and caused damage to Carey's rudder; but he managed to return to Tangmere only to be fired at by its anti-aircraft guns. That he managed to land was, he said, a great tribute to the Hurricane. He had been in combat up to six times a day when on August 18, the squadron's losses enabled him to lead No 43 for the first time in an attack on a mixed bunch of fighters and Ju 87 dive-bombers. The fur was flying everywhere, he recalled. Suddenly I was bullet stitched right across the cockpit. Since Tangmere was under attack he turned away and found a likely field for a crash landing at Pulborough, Sussex, where his Hurricane turned violently upside down. he spent some time in hospital. In November 1941 he was posted to Burma with No.135 Sqn when war broke out in the Far East. No 135 was diverted to Rangoon in Burma , , On February 27 1942, Carey was promoted wing commander to lead No 267 Wing, though it could seldom muster more than six serviceable Hurricanes. After destroying several Japanese aircraft he was forced to move to Magwe. As Japanese air raids increased Carey turned the Red Road, the main thoroughfare across the city, into a fighter runway. One advantage, he recalled, was that it was quite possible to sit in Firpos, the citys fashionable restaurant, and take off within three to four minutes. I managed it on several occasions. Early in 1943, Carey formed an air fighting training unit at Orissa, south-west of Calcutta, for pilots who were unfamiliar with conditions and Japanese tactics. In November 1944 he was posted to command No 73 OTU at Fayid, Egypt, in the rank of group captain. Awarded the AFC, Carey returned to Britian as the war ended in 1945, where he was granted a permanent commission and went to teach tactics at the Central Fighter Establishment at Tangmere. After attending the Army Staff College he reverted to the rank of wing commander to lead No 135 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, where he flew Tempests. Converting to jets, he moved to Gutersloh as wing commander, A succession of staff appointments followed until 1958 he was appointed air adviser to the British High Commission in Australia. Carey, who was awarded the US Silver Star and appointed CBE in 1960, retired from the Royal Air Force in 1962 and joined Rolls-Royce as its aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, retiring in 1972 and moving back the the UK. . Frank Carey died 6th December 2004.|
Squadron Leader John Gibson (deceased)
|In May 1940 John Gibson joined 501 Squadron. The squadron flew to France and saw action during the German advances. On 27th May Gibson destroyed an He III and shared in the destruction of another before he was himself shot down, crash-landing in a field. The much-depleted Squadrons final base was at St Helier in Jersey on 19 June 1940, from where it covered the evacuation of the British Army from Cherbourg. During the Battle of Britain, Gibson destroyed seven aircraft. In an action on August 15 1940 Gibsons aircraft was set alight by return fire from a Stuka, one of a force attacking Hawkinge airfield. Being then directly over Folkestone, Gibson steered his blazing aircraft away from the town and took it down to 1000 feet before baling out. He was again shot down in flames on the 29th, this time over Dover, and baled out into the sea two miles off the coast. He was picked up by a motor boat. About this time Gibson was awarded the DFC. Later in the war he served in the Pacific and was awarded the DSO. He passed away on the 1st July 2000.|
Squadron Leader Kenneth Lee (deceased)
|Kenneth Norman Thomson Lee was a Battle of Britain pilot who volunteered for the RAF in 1937. Kenneth Lee joined 111 Squadron at Northolt in March 1939. He was commissioned and went to 43 Squadron at Tangmere. Kenneth Lee flew Hurricanes during the Battles of France and Britain with No.501 Sqn, based at Filton and accumulated 7 victories, the first being when 501 Squadron went to France on May 10th 1940 and Kenneth Lee claimed a Bf 110 destroyed later that day. On the 12th he destroyed a Do 17 and a Bf109. The Squadron flew back from France on June 18th and re-assembled at Croydon on the 21st. On May 27th Kenneth Lee claimed an He111 destroyed and a Do17 on June 6th. While attacking a formation of He111s on June 10th Lee's Hurricane was hit by return fire from one of the He111s and exploded. He took to his parachute and landed at Le Mans. Kenneth Lee damaged a Ju 87 on July 29th and on August 12th destroyed another Ju87. While flying his Hurricane (P3059) Lee was shot down for a second time on the 18th when Oberleutnant Schopfel in an Me109 of III./JG26 shot him down over Canterbury. He was one of four Hurricane of the squadron claimed by Schopfel that day. Kenneth Lee baled out, with a bullet wound in the leg and landed near Whitstable. In October, Lee rejoined 501 Sqn and on the 22nd October he was awarded the DFC. On November 29th Lee was posted to the Special Duties flight at Stormy Down and later transferred as Flight Commander to 52 OTU, at Crosby-On-Eden. In December 1941 Kenneth Lee became Flight Commander with 112 Squadron when he was posted to the Middle East and on the 18th of September 1942 Lee moved to 260 Squadron. On 10th November he destroyed an Mc202. He took control of 123 Squadron at Abadan, Persia in March 1943. In May, Lee with 123 Squadron went to the Western Desert and on July 27th 1943 Lee was shot down for the third time and captured on a dawn raid on Crete. He was taken prisoner of war to Stalag Luft 111 at Sagan and Belaria. Ken Lee left the RAF in late 1945 as a Squadron Leader. Sadly, Kenneth Lee passed away on 15th January 2008.|
Wing Commander Roland Bee Beamont CBE DSO DFC DL (deceased)
|One of World War IIs great characters, Bee flew Hurricanes with 87 Squadron, later leading a Tempest Wing. He had 8 victories plus a further 32 VIs destroyed. After the war he became a highly respected Chief Test Pilot.Wing Commander Roland Beamont, one of the RAFs top buzz bomb interceptors, was born in Enfield England on August 10, 1920. Educated at Eastborne College, Beamont accepted a short service commission with the Royal Air Force in 1938. He commenced flying in 1939 at the the No. 13 Reserve Flying School at White Waltham. His initial duty was with the Group Fighter Pool at St. Athan where he learned to fly the Hurricane. Beamont was soon posted with the No. 87 Squadron which was part of the Advanced Air Striking Force in France. Seeing action in both France and Belgium prior to the Allied withdrawl, Beamont rejoined 87 Squadron in England during the Battle of Britain. In the spring of 1941 Beamont was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after destroying five enemy aircraft. As Commanding Officer of 609 Squadron, Beamont pioneered both day and night ground attack missions utilizing the Typhoon. Beamont was credited with destroying 25 trains in a three month period. He was then made responsible for organizing and commanding the first Tempest Wing at Newchurch. Three days after D-Day Bearnont shot down an Me-109, marking the first aerial combat victory for the Hawker Tempest. In the summer of 1944 Beamont destroyed 32 buzz bombs prior to leading his wing to a Dutch Airfield at Volkel on the Continent. In October of 1944 Beamont was shot down during a ground attack mission over Germany, and he remained a prisoner of war until wars end. Following repatriation Beamont became an experimental test pilot with the Gloster Aircraft Company, which had developed the RAFs first jet aircraft. Turning down a permanent commission with the RAF, Beamont then joined English Electric Company in Wharton as the Chief Test Pilot for the B3/45 (Canberra) jet bomber program. He managed all prototype testing on the Canberra, and in the process set two Atlantic speed records. Later Beamont was involved with the supersonic P1/Lightning program, and became the first British pilot to fly at twice the speed of sound. From 1965 until 1970 he was a founding member of Britains highly succesful Saudi Arabian export program. For several years prior to his retirement in 1979, Beamont was Director of Operations for British Aerospace and Panavia where he was in charge of flight testing for the Tornado. Since his retirement Beamont has authored nine books, and published numerous magazine articles. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Scociety and an Honorary Fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots in America. He died 19th November 2001.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
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