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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.|
|Flt Lt Frank Newman|
*Signature Value : £15 (matted)
|Flight Lieutenant Newman left O.T.U. to join 131 Squadron at Tangmere in time to participate in the closing months of the Battle of Britain. As the enemy activity diminished so the policy of Fighter Command turned to offensive sweeps over western France. By the end of 1942 the A.O.C decided to give the squadrons of 11 Group a rest from their intensive operations, so 131 Squadron was posted to northern Scotland to defend Scapa Flow naval base. This routine series of operations came to an end when Frank was chosen, together with a number of other experienced pilots, to form a fighter wing for the invasion of North Africa. My mid-1943 Rommel and the African Corps had been swept out of Algeria and Tunisia by General Montgomery and the Eighth Army. After a short rest the Desert Air Force was heavily engaged in the invasion of Sicily and Italy. By this time Frank was transferred to join the already famous 92 Squadron where he was pleased to come under the command of such experienced pilots as Group Captain Brian Kingcome and Squadron Leader Neville Duke. For the next few months 92 Squadron was heavily involved in a twice-weekly patrol over the Anzio Bridgehead where they occasionally met small units of the Luftwaffe. It was at this point that the squadron was hoping to score its 300th enemy aircraft destroyed. This happened on the 17th February 1944 and it was time for a squadron celebration! The enemy continued to appear in small numbers and later in the year whilst leading a dusk patrol Frank Newman and his fellow pilots were able to add to this score so that by the end of the campaign the total score reached 317½ definitely destroyed and over 200 probably destroyed. Any further increase in this number of victories was made impossible when the squadron was switched to fighter/bombers in late 1944; for this, tactics were so different. Each Spitfire carried a 500lb bomb and was given a map reference for his target by the army ground force. After the war Fl. Lt. Newman was sent on a training course to be become a Test Pilot. Upon completion of the course he was appointed Test Pilot at the R.A.F.’s biggest maintenance units (132 M.U.) where he enjoyed the privilege of flying thirty-one different types of aircraft.|
Squadron Leader Percival H. Beake DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £25
|Joining the RAFVR in April 1939, Percival Beake was mobilised at the outbreak of war. Posted to 64 Squadron on Spitfires in the summer of 1940 at the height of the Battle of Britain, he flew with them until June 1941 when he was posted first to 92 Squadron at Biggin Hill, and then 601 Squadron at Duxford. After a spell instructing he returned for his second tour in December 1942, joining 193 Squadron as a Flight Commander. In May 1944 he took command of 164 Squadron at Thorney Island flying Typhoons, moving to France shortly after the Normandy Invasion. With two victories to his credit he was awarded the DFC in September 1944. |
Starting with 6th August 1944 my log book records that a successful attack was carried out on an enemy strong point in a quarry and that on the following morning I flew home on a very rare 48 hour leave. For a few days after my return we had only one specific target - an enemy dump which we effectively bombarded with rockets on 11th August - so we were deployed on armed reconnaissances. After landing from one of these on 13th August my Wing Commander, Walter Dring, called me to his caravan and said - Beaky, you have just done your last op. You are not to fly again and that is an order, until returning to the UK. I am arranging for your relief as soon as possible. - I was absolutely stunned and my lasting memory of that period is not of carnage but of acute embarrassment at having been grounded. I just hated sending the squadron up without myself leading and remember making frequent calls to the met office hoping to get forecasts of filthy weather that would make operational flying impossible. In the event, my relief, Squadron Leader Ian Waddy, was shot down by flak within two or three days of taking over command, so maybe Wally Dring had some sort of premonition that prompted my grounding.
Percival Beake died on 25th June 2016.
|The Aircraft :|
|Spitfire||Royal Air Force fighter aircraft, maximum speed for mark I Supermarine Spitfire, 362mph up to The Seafire 47 with a top speed of 452mph. maximum ceiling for Mk I 34,000feet up to 44,500 for the mark XIV. Maximum range for MK I 575 miles . up to 1475 miles for the Seafire 47. Armament for the various Marks of Spitfire. for MK I, and II . eight fixed .303 browning Machine guns, for MKs V-IX and XVI two 20mm Hispano cannons and four .303 browning machine guns. and on later Marks, six to eight Rockets under the wings or a maximum bomb load of 1,000 lbs. Designed by R J Mitchell, The proto type Spitfire first flew on the 5th March 1936. and entered service with the Royal Air Force in August 1938, with 19 squadron based and RAF Duxford. by the outbreak of World war two, there were twelve squadrons with a total of 187 spitfires, with another 83 in store. Between 1939 and 1945, a large variety of modifications and developments produced a variety of MK,s from I to XVI. The mark II came into service in late 1940, and in March 1941, the Mk,V came into service. To counter the Improvements in fighters of the Luftwaffe especially the FW190, the MK,XII was introduced with its Griffin engine. The Fleet Air Arm used the Mk,I and II and were named Seafires. By the end of production in 1948 a total of 20,351 spitfires had been made and 2408 Seafires. The most produced variant was the Spitfire Mark V, with a total of 6479 spitfires produced. The Royal Air Force kept Spitfires in front line use until April 1954.|
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