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Captain Robert P Winks (deceased)
|Robert Winks joined the service in 1943, and after training was posted to England. Flying his first combat mission in July 1944, he served with the 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group. His year long tour in Europe took in the heavy fighting over the Battle of the Bulge, the missions to support the Arnhem operations, and the Battle of Berlin, when the 357th destroyed 56 enemy aircraft. During this time he flew some 69 combat missions. His personal P-51D was 'Trusty Rusty'. His victories included an Me262 jet fighter claimed on 15th January 1945. Sadly, he died on 19th May 2008.|
Colonel Donald Cummings (deceased)
|Joining the USAAF in 1941, Don Cummings saw action in England, Africa and Italy, taking part in the Battle of Anzio. Flying first with the 12th Air Force and then posted to the 8th Air Force in England, flying with the 39th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group out of Wormingford. Don Cummings flew a total of 150 combat missions and on 25th February, 1945, became one of only two fighter Aces to shoot down two Me262 jet fighters on a single mission. He then served in occupied Germany after the war ended. Sadly, we have learned Don Cummings passed away in November 2012.|
|Colonel Duerr J Schuh||Duerr Schuh flew his first combat mission in July 1944. Flying 61 missions in the P-51 with the 352nd Fighter Group, he took part in the Battle of the Bulge. The day following Christmas, 1944, while covering a bombing run, he jumped a group of Me109s, shooting down three in a single action. He ended the war an Ace.|
|Colonel Royce W Priest||"Deacon" Priest arrived in England in May 1944, assigned to the 355th Fighter Group. Flying the P-51, combat missions comprised long-range escort, and intensive low-level ground attack. In August he landed behind the lines to pick up his C.O. downed by Ack-Ack fire. Within 6 months of his arrival in Europe he became an Ace, taking his fifth Luftwaffe fighter.|
|Colonel Wilbur R Scheible||After joining the USAAF in 1941, Wilbur completed flight training in 1942. Assigned to the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group based at Martlesham Heath, England, he flew P47s and P-51s, primarily engaged in bomber escort work. During his combat career he had single, double, and triple air victories, ending his war an Ace with 6 air victories.|
Maj Urban L Drew USAF (deceased)
|Urban "Ben" Drew was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1924. Three months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, at the age of eighteen, Drew joined the USAAF and commenced pilot training. He earned his wings and a commission at Mariana, Florida in October 1943. He remained in the States honing his flying skills as an instructor pilot for the North American P-51 Mustang at Bartow, Florida. In May of 1944 he received his first overseas combat assignment, sailing to England on the Queen Elizabeth. He was assigned to the 375th Fighter Squadron "Yellowjackets" of the 361st Fighter Group based in at Bottisham in Cambridgeshire. Later his squadron would be relocated to Little Walden in Essex. During his combat tour Drew would fly a total of seventy-five combat missions, rising to command of X Flight and later to command of the 375th squadron. Drew would be officially credited with six aerial victories during his combat tour. Notable was his downing of two Me-262 jets on October 7, 1944. He was the first fighter pilot to down two of the German jets, and he received the Air Force Cross for this achievement. Also of note was the ace's destruction of the largest aircraft to fly in WW 11, the BV-238, which he destroyed in a strafing pass with two wingman on Lake Schaal on September 18, 1944. Initially he was credited with the destruction of a BV-222, and it was not until many years later during the research for a British Broadcasting Company documentary that it became clear that it was a BV-238 which Drew and his wingmen strafed and destroyed on September 18, 1944. Following his successful combat tour, Drew returned to the States where he again served as a flight instructor. In 1945 he was assigned to the 412 th Fighter Squadron of the 414 th Fighter Group based at lwo Jima flying the P-47 Jug. Drew's final victory tally included 6 confirmed aerial victories, 1 damaged, and 1 additional aircraft destroyed on the ground. In addition to the Air Force Cross, Drew was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 14 Air Medals. Following the War Drew helped organize the 127 th Fighter Group of the Michigan National Guard. He became Deputy Group Commander and later was appointed the first Air Adjutant General of the State of Michigan. After his retirement from the Air Force with the rank of Major, he established an aviation business in Britain and South Africa. He currently resides in Southern California, and remains active in matters involving the American Fighter Aces Association. Sadly we have learned that Ben Drew passed away on 3rd April 2013.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Mustang||The ubiquitous North American P-51 Mustang, which many consider to be the best all-around fighter of WW II, owes its origins to the British Air Ministry. Following Britains entry into WW II in 1939, the RAF was interested in purchasing additional fighter aircraft from American sources, particularly the Curtiss P-40. Curtiss, which was busy, was unable to guarantee timely delivery so the British approached North American Aviation as a possible second source for the P-40. North American chose to propose its own fighter design which would use the same Allison engine as the P-40. Utilizing new laminar flow wings, the North American fighter was expected to have performance better than the P-40. Developed in record time the new aircraft was designated as a Mustang I by the Brits, whereas the USAAF ordered two for evaluation which were designated XP-51 Apaches. Intrigued with the possibility of using this aircraft also as a dive bomber, North American proposed this to the USAAF which decided to order 500 of the P-51 aircraft to be modified for dive bombing use. Designated as the A-36 Invader, this version of the Mustang utilized dive flaps, and bomb racks under each wing. Some reinforcing of the structural members was also required because of the G-forces to be encountered in dive bombing. A-36s entered combat service with the USAAF prior to any P-51s. In early 1943 the 86th and 27th Fighter Bomber Groups of the 12th Air Force began flying A-36s out of Northern Africa. Despite some early problems with instability caused by the dive flaps, the A-36 was effective in light bombing and strafing roles. It was not, however, capable of dog fighting with German fighters, especially at higher altitudes. Despite these drawbacks one USAAF pilot, Captain Michael T. Russo, who served with the 16th Bomb Squadron of the 27th Fighter Bomber Group, was credited with five confirmed aerial victories in the A-36, thereby becoming the first mustang ace.|
|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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