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Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders. - armynavyairforce.co.uk

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Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders.


Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders.

The words from Air Vice-Marshal the Hon. Ralph Cochrane., newly appointed as AOC of No.5 Group, to the young Wing Commander were simple enough. I can't tell you the target he continued but you've got to fly low-level, on the deck, and at night. As far as aircrews are concerned, I want the best - you choose them. And by the way... I want to see your aircraft flying on four days. Guy Gibson, the highly decorated Wing Commander concerned, had 173 operations behind him and was due to be rested when the unexpected call to see Cochrane had come. Would you like to do one more trip? he'd been asked. What kind of trip? he replied. An important one was all Cochrane would say and now, two days later, he was being asked to form a squadron. What the special target might be Gibson could only speculate but, whatever it was, he realised it would be dangerous. Cochrane had given him four days. Within an hour he'd selected the aircrew; he knew most of them personally and had flown with several before. There was no doubt they were the very best in Bomber Command. Exactly four days later Squadron X - soon to become 617 Squadron - was ready at RAF Scampton. Many familiar faces were there to meet him : amongst the pilots he spotted Hoppy Hopgood, Dave Shannon from Australia, and Canadian Lewis Burpee from his own 106 Squadron. together with Dinghy Young whom he'd chosen as a flight commander. The tall, lugubrious figure of New Zealander Les Munro was there along with two other pilots from 97 Squadron, David Maltby and the big, beefy, American pilot Joe McCarthy with his Bomb-Aimer George Johnny Johnson. His B flight commander, Henry Maudsley was there, as was Australian Mick Martin, the expert in low-level flying. Every one of the nineteen crews who would fly the mission was there and seven weeks of intensive low-level flying lay ahead before, on the afternoon of 16th May 1943, Gibson finally revealed the target - that night they were to attack the mighty dams of the Ruhr valley.
Item Code : DHM6430Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders. - This Edition
TYPEDESCRIPTIONSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSPRICEPURCHASING
PRINTSigned limited edition of 325 prints.

Paper size 31.5 inches x 24 inches (81cm x 61cm) Stopes-Roe, Mary
Stevens, Maureen
Johnson, George L
Munro, Les
+ Artist : Anthony Saunders


Signature(s) value alone : £110
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FREE PRINT : No Way Back by Ivan Berryman.

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(Size : 11.5 inches x 9 inches (30cm x 23cm))
has been specially chosen by Cranston Fine Arts to complement the above edition, and will be sent FREE with your order.

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Other editions of this item : Pathway to the Ruhr by Anthony Saunders. DHM6430
TYPEDESCRIPTIONSIZESIGNATURESOFFERSPRICEPURCHASING
ARTIST
PROOF
Limited edition of 25 artist proofs. Paper size 31.5 inches x 24 inches (81cm x 61cm) Stopes-Roe, Mary
Stevens, Maureen
Johnson, George L
Munro, Les
+ Artist : Anthony Saunders
£60 Off!
Supplied with one or more free art prints!
Now : £145.00VIEW EDITION...
REMARQUELimited edition of 25 remarques. Paper size 31.5 inches x 24 inches (81cm x 61cm) Stopes-Roe, Mary
Stevens, Maureen
Johnson, George L
Munro, Les
+ Artist : Anthony Saunders
£60 Off!
Supplied with one or more free art prints!
Now : £300.00VIEW EDITION...
REMARQUELimited edition of 10 double remarques. Paper size 31.5 inches x 24 inches (81cm x 61cm) Stopes-Roe, Mary
Stevens, Maureen
Johnson, George L
Munro, Les
+ Artist : Anthony Saunders
£60 Off!
Supplied with one or more free art prints!
Now : £475.00VIEW EDITION...

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.
NameInfo


Corporal Maureen Stevens
*Signature Value : £15

Was an R/T Operator in the control tower at Scampton during 1943 and was on duty on the night of the 16/17 May when she talked home the survivors of the Dambuster Raids.


Dr Mary Stopes-Roe
*Signature Value : £10

The daughter of Sir Barnes Wallis who, as a child, helped to inspire her father to invent Upkeep - the Bouncing Bomb - whilst the family was skipping stones across the water. Together with her brother and sister they assisted their father in his experiments catapulting her marbles over a washtub at home, later famously portrayed in the 1955 film The Dam Busters. After the war she became an eminent psychologist at Birmingham University.




Squadron Leader George L. Johnson DFM
*Signature Value : £40

Joining the RAF in 1940, George Johnson served with 97 Squadron before joining 617 Squadron. Bomb aimer on American Joe McCarthys Lancaster AJ-T, they attacked the Sorpe Dam, for which he was awarded the DFM. Commissioned a few months later, George retired from the RAF in 1962.




Squadron Leader Les Munro DSO DFC RNZAF (deceased)
*Signature Value : £45

New Zealander Les Munro was the Captain and pilot of Lancaster AJ-W assigned to attack the Sorpe Dam, but was forced to turn back en-route to the target after heavy flak damage over Holland had rendered his aircraft unable to carry on with the operation. Squadron Leader Les Munro, who has died aged 96, was the last surviving pilot to have taken part on the Dambusters raid, which attacked the Ruhr Dams in May 1943. His Lancaster was one of the first to take off on the night of May 16. Their target was the Sorpe Dam. Flying at very low level over the Dutch island of Vlieland, the bomber was badly damaged by anti-aircraft fire. The radios and electrical system were disabled but, crucially, so was the intercommunication system between members of the crew. Without this it was impossible to carry out the precise attack from a height of 60 feet, so with great reluctance, Munro turned for his home base at Scampton, near Lincoln, still with his bouncing bomb on board. John Leslie Munro was born on April 5 1919 at Gisborne, New Zealand, where his Scottish father had emigrated in 1903. He worked as a farmer before joining the Royal New Zealand Air Force in July 1941. He trained initially in New Zealand and then in Canada, where he completed his qualification as a pilot. On arrival in England he trained on bombers before joining No 97 Squadron, which had recently been re-equipped with the Lancaster. After an operation to drop mines in the sea-lanes to German occupied ports, Munro attacked industrial cities in Germany during the so-called Battle of the Ruhr when Essen, Dusseldorf and Cologne were among his targets. He also flew on two raids to Berlin and attacked targets in Italy. He and his crew were approaching the end of their tour of operations (30 sorties) when volunteers were called for to form a new squadron for a special operation. Munro discussed it with his crew and they agreed to apply. A few days later, on March 25, they arrived at Scampton to join X Squadron on its formation, later to become No 617. Soon after leaving No. 97 Squadron, Munro was awarded the DFC for pressing home his attacks with great courage and determination. Within days of arriving at Scampton, all the crews were practising intensive low-level flying including runs over lakes and reservoirs when high-tension cables, barrage balloons and birds were an ever-present hazard. During a trial flight with the Upkeep bouncing bomb designed by Barnes Wallis, Munro was flying below the prescribed height of 60 feet when a great plume of water made by the bomb as it made its first bounce damaged the tailplane of his Lancaster. After the Dams Raid, Munro remained on No 617. The squadron suffered further heavy losses and morale was badly affected. Under the leadership of its new commanding officer, Wing Commander Leonard Cheshire, Munro was made a flight commander. The other two flight commanders were Dave Shannon, an Australian, and the American Joe McCarthy and these three, under Cheshires inspiring leadership, created one of the most effective squadrons to serve in Bomber Command. Cheshire described his three flight commanders as the backbone of the squadron. Of the three, the slow speaking, taciturn New Zealander was the least flamboyant, but his rock steady dependability and utter reliability were an inspiration to his young crews. Cheshire was dissatisfied with the marking of targets by the Pathfinder Force and he developed his own low-level marking technique that proved highly successful. Munro dropped flares from high level and Cheshire dived beneath them to accurately mark the targets for the following bombers. On the eve of D-day on June 5 1944, No 617 flew Operation Taxable, a complex flight requiring extremely accurate flying, navigation and timing. Munro, with Cheshire as his co-pilot, was flying one of the lead aircraft, which flew a series of orbits as it advanced across the English Channel towards the Pas de Calais dropping window (reflective metal strips) to simulate an amphibious landing force approaching the area. This deception created doubt in the Germans minds as to where the Allied landing was taking place and delayed the despatch of reinforcements to Normandy. After the landings, the squadron flew in support of troops establishing the bridgehead. On the night of June 8 , it had a spectacular success when Munro dropped one of the new 12,000-lb Tallboy bombs, which completely destroyed the Saumur railway tunnel. On the following nights he dropped Tallboys on the E-boat pens at Le Havre and Boulogne before attacking the V-weapon sites at Wizernes and Mimoyecques. After this latter raid, his 55th, he and his fellow flight commanders were retired. He had recently been awarded the DSO, his citation concluding with the words, His achievements have been worthy of the greatest praise. Munro finished the war in command of a Bomber Defence Training Flight. He returned to New Zealand and left the RNZAF in February 1946 as a squadron leader. Munro made a major contribution to community life in New Zealand and was Mayor of Tekuiti from 1978 to 1995. He was awarded the Queens Service Order in 1981 and appointed Commander of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 1997 for services to local government and community. Munro retained strong links with his old squadron and made a number of trips to the United Kingdom on special anniversaries. He was present when the Queen dedicated the Bomber Command Memorial in Green Park in 2012. In 2015 he placed his medals with an auction house to raise money for the maintenance of the memorial. At the last minute, Lord Ashcroft stepped in to stop the sale, offering to donate 75,000 to the memorials upkeep if Munro gifted his medals to the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. Squadron Leader Les Munro, born April 5 1919, died August 4 2015.

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