Legendary Wing Leader “Johnnie” Johnson, the highest scoring RAF Ace of WWII, leads the Spitfires of No. 144 (Canadian) Wing during the weeks following D-Day. Having picked up a formation of USAAF B-17s returning from a bombing mission to Germany, the Canadian Wing’s Spitfire Mk IXs stay with the American bombers to fend off attacks from prowling Luftwaffe fighters.
By mid-summer 1944, the skies over Europe had not seen a day or night without battle in several years. During the first phases of World War II, the possibility that Hitler’s Axis forces would prevail seemed great…only the combined efforts of freedom-loving nations cooperating with maximum effort could defeat this spreading evil.
Following D-day in June ’44, the tide began to turn; Over 130,000 troops from more than eight Allied countries including Britain, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth nations, landed on Normandy’s beaches in the first 24 hours. These nations combined to drive Nazi forces from France, paving the way to eventual surrender, and their firm alliance in the air was finally beginning to wither Goering’s Luftwaffe. But like a cornered animal, the enemy’s resistance would grow more desperate over the final months.
Around the clock bombing of Germany had begun one year before, from British precision bombers at night, and American B-17s and B-24s by day. Allied fighters played a critical role, not only in the defense of the “Heavies,” but also by waging an effective offense. American and RAF fighters would routinely work together in this incredible effort, the latter of which would be comprised of pilots not only from England, but also Commonwealth nations including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and others. Not without great cost, the solidarity of these countries and their combined effort ultimately brought an end to the tyranny that threatened the world during history’s greatest conflict.
This framed Collectors Edition print is personally hand-signed by the artist along with three B-17 veterans and four Spitfire Aces who flew with the Canadian Wing:
Air Vice Marshal J.E “JOHNNIE” JOHNSON CB CBE DSO** DFC* – Spitfire Ace with 19 & 616 Sqns / highest scoring Allied Western Ace, 38 victories
Wing Commander J.F. “STOCKY” EDWARDS DFC* DFM – Spitfire Ace with 127 Canadian Wing RCAF / 16 ½ victories
Wing Commander JAMES LINDSAY DFC – Spitfire Ace with 416 Sqn RCAF / 9 victories in WWII and Korea
Lieutenant General DON LAUBMAN DFC* – Spitfire Ace with 412, 402 Sqn RCAF / 15 victories
Lieutenant Colonel IRVIN POFF 3 Air Medals – B-17 pilot with 2nd Bomb Group, 15th Air Force / Flew 50 missions
First Lieutenant KEN SHARP 3 Air Medals – B-17 pilot with the 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force / Flew 18 daylight Operations
First Lieutenant CHARLES “NORM” STEVENS – B-17 Bombardier with the 351st Bomb Group / Flew 34 daylight Operations
ELEVEN SIGNATURE FRAMED COLLECTOR’S PIECE
This copy is conservation matted to include the original autographs of four further veterans:
Group Captain BERT HOULE DFC* – 213, 145, 417 Sqn / Spitfire Ace 11 ½ victories
Flight Lieutenant WILFRED BANKS DFC* – 412 Sqn / Spitfire Ace 9 victories
Colonel ROBERT “BOB” MORGAN – Pilot of the Memphis Belle / B-17 Pilot
Colonel WILLIAM “BILL” LAWLEY Medal of Honor – 305th BG / B-17 Pilot
This print has been returned to John’s studio to be further enhanced with an exclusive original pencil drawing in the lower border. John’s pencil work is undoubtedly the best in our industry but is seldom available, making this stunning collector’s piece perfect for aviation history enthusiasts and autograph hunters alike