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|Signatures on this item|
|Admiral of the Fleet Lord Lewin GCB MVO DSC (deceased)||Terry Lewin served onboard the destroyer HMS Ashanti during Operation Pedestal. He later served on the Russian convoys, the invasion of North Africa and in the Channel. After the war he became chief of the Defence Staff during the Falklands War. Lord Lewin, regarded by many as the best Admiral produced by the Royal Navy since the second world war, died in January 1999.|
|Flight Lieutenant Tony Holland DFC AE DFC (US)||Tony Holland flew the first spitfire to Malta from USS Wasp with 603 Squadron in April 1942. He shared in the destruction of 6 enemy aircraft.|
|Lieutenant Commander George Marten LVO DSC||George Marten was first Lieutenant of destroyer HMS Penn during Operation Pedestal, and boarded the Ohio to take charge of recovery operations. He later commanded HMS Wilton in the North Atlantic.|
Lieutenant Peter Twiss OBE DSC (deceased)
|Peter Twiss was born on the 23rd of July,1921 in Lindfield, West Sussex. Peter Twiss spent much of his early days on a farm near Salisbury. When war broke out later in 1939 he enlisted as a Naval Airman Second Class in the Fleet Air Arm, qualifying as a pilot after initial training at 14 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at Castle Bromwich on Tiger Moths and then went on to fly Hawker Harts and Fairey Battles. Operational training followed at RNAS Yeovilton flying Blackburn Rocs and Skuas and Fairey Swordfish followed by a period at the Army School of Co-operation at Andover on Bristol Blenheims on twin conversion before being posted to the Orkneys to 771 Squadron. By then he had amassed 292 hours on 12 types and attained the rank of Midshipman. Peter Twiss flew with 807 Squadron FAA from the carrier HMS Furious during the Malta convoys, and later took part in the invasion of North Africa. Best known as a post-war test pilot, particularly of the Fairey Delta FD2 with which he set a World Absolute Speed Record, Peter Twiss also saw distinguished service as a Fleet Air Arm pilot. Flying Fulmars, he was with HMS Ark Royal when she was sunk in November 1941 and then served with his squadron on both Argus and Furious for several of the vital Malta convoys with Force H. He formed the first Seafire Squadron for Operation Torch and was awarded a Bar to his DSC. Returning to the UK, he was sent to the Night Fighter Development Unit. During the war Peter began to get opportunities to fly new aircraft and he started his test flying in America late 1944 and had his first opportunity to fly a jet aircraft. By now he had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. In 1945 he attended the Empire Test Pilots School at Cranfield and then went to the Naval Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment based at Boscombe Down. In 1946 he joined Fairey Aviation as a test pilot. Lieutenant-Commander Peter Twiss test flew many of the Fairey aircraft including the Fairey Primer, Fairey Firefly, Fairey Gannet, the Fairey FD1, and the Fairey Rotadyne compound helicopter and in 1947 he entered the Lympne Air flying a Firefly IV winning the high speed race with 306 mph. His achievement in breaking the world air speed record in 1956 in the Fairey Delta 2 was recognised by receiving the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service and an OBE. By 1959 Peter was Chief Test for Fairey Aviation when the company was sold to Westland Aircraft and he decided to retire from test flying. He had then amassed 4,500 hours in 148 different types of aircraft. Sadly, Peter Twiss passed away on 31st August 2011.|
Wing Commander Laddie Lucas CBE DSO DFC (deceased)
|Laddie Lucas rose in two years from Aircraftman 2nd class to Command no. 249, the top scoring fighter squadron in the Battle of Malta in 1942. He was then 26. Lucas led two Spitfire squadrons and in 1943 a wing on the Western Front. 1944 switching to Mosquitoes of the 2nd tactical air force. After the war he was a conservative MP for ten years. He was also one of Britains best amateur golfers, captaining Cambridge University, England in the Walker Cup, Great Britain and Ireland against the United States, to date he has written eleven books. Sadly Laddie Lucas passed away in 1998.|
|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.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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