by Philip West.
19½” x 27” / 49cms x 69cms
Passing low over Norwich Cathedral on this wintry evening, Pathfinder Mosquitoes begin to transit east from their bases on yet another dangerous night-time mission over enemy territory. They will take the lead on this bombing mission and their role is to identify and mark pre-planned targets with flares, enabling the main force of Lancaster and Halifax aircraft to drop their bombs as accurately as possible.
The Pathfinders were elite squadrons in RAF Bomber Command. Like all aircrew, these brave men took the fight to the enemy night after night until
victory was achieved.
* Signed by a Pathfinder Mosquito Navigator. ** Signed by Two navigators and a pilot.
These prints have been signed by both the artist and the following
three Pathfinder Mosquito aircrew.
Flt Lieutenant Douglas Hadland (Navigator) – Becoming a Navigator in 1941 he joined 162 Sqn Pathfinders on Mosquitoes. Near the end of the war he was posted back to 8 group with 692 Squadron Light Night Strike Force to prepare for the then proposed invasion of Japan.
THE ARTIST PROOFS & REMARQUES have also been signed by:
Sqn. Ldr. Tommy Broom DFC (Navigator) – Early in the war he was on Fairey Battles and Blenheims and in 1943 he joined 163 Sqn on Mosquitoes as Navigator to Ivor Broom. Together they formed a hugely successful partnership known as the ‘Flying Brooms’ and spent the rest of the war together including 22 raids on Berlin and the attack on the Dortmund Ems canal.
Publishers note: There is a superb book on Tommy available at www.amazon.co.uk called Tommy Broom DFC. We highly recommend it.
S/Ldr. W.E. (Bill) Lucas DFC was born in 1917. He volunteered for aircrew early in 1940 and after training as a fighter pilot he became, due to the high demand, a bomber pilot and joined 9 Squadron (Wellingtons) in August 1941. After 14 missions over Germany Bill converted to Stirlings and completed a further 26 operations, this time with 15 Squadron at Wyton.
After two years instructing at 19 OTU Kinloss he was selected to join Pathfinder Force in October 1944 to fly Mosquitoes with 162 Squadron at Bourn, Cambridgeshire, where he remained until war end to complete 41 more missions making 81 in total. Bill attained the rank of Sqdn/Ldr. and was awarded the DFC and a Mention in Despatches. The most memorable of his missions must be the first 1000 bomber raid on Cologne on May 30 1942, as this seems to have struck a lasting memory in the minds of the general public. After the war Bill pursued a career in the insurance industry and also began to pick up the pieces of a serious athletic activity with the Belgrave Harriers which resulted in selection for the 5000 metres at the Olympic Games at Wembley in 1948, but at the age of 32 he was not in his own words “very successful”. Bill says his greatest regret was missing the games in Helsinki in 1940 and the cancelled games in 1944. “These should have been the best athletic years of my life.”