One famous aircraft was typical of, and ultimately came to symbolize, the men and machines of Royal Air Force Bomber Command. Flying initially with 83 Squadron Pathfinder Force, then 467 Squadron RAAF, Avro Lancaster serial number R5868, call sign S for Sugar, took part in almost every major attack on Germany between summer of 1942 and the end of hostilities. With the life expectancy of a new Lancaster being just a few months, it was a miracle she survived the war. The mighty Lancaster, the mainstay of RAF Bomber Command, crewed by volunteers from Britain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Rhodesia, South Africa, and many other nations opposed to Nazi rule, flew day and night sorties whenever there was a chance of reaching the target. Their unflinching courage and selfless devotion to duty paved the way for the D-Day invasion, and the ultimate liberation of Nazi occupied Europe.
Embellished with Goering's infamous quotation "No Enemy Plane Will Fly Over The Reich Territory", S for Sugar took her bombs to Berlin, Hamburg, Schweinfurt, Bremen, Hanover, Wurzburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and other prime targets, flying the second greatest number of operational sorties of any bomber in the Command. Time and again Sugar brought her crew home, often limping back riddled with flak and bullet holes, occasionally on three engines, and once all the way back from the German capital with a badly damaged wing following a mid-air collision over the target.
Robert Taylor's emotive painting shows S for Sugar on the morning of 27th April 1944 after her 95th sortie - a raid on the ball-bearing factory at Schweinfurt. As the battle-scarred bomber taxies in at RAF Waddlington, other 467 Squadron Lancasters follow, heading for their dispersal points. Already the weary crews begin their informal debriefing.
By the war's end this trusty bomber had completed no fewer than 137 operations over enemy territory, bringing her crew home every time. Now magnificently restored to her former glory, S for Sugar resides in the RAF Museum at Hendon, providing a lasting tribute to the gallant men of RAF Bomber Command.
The RAF Aircrew Edition
(Individually numbered 1 - 400)
Every print is signed in pencil by FOUR distinguished pilots who flew with RAF Bomber Command during World War II.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Michael Beetham GCB CBE DFC AFC FRAeS
Michael Beetham volunteered for the RAFVR in May 1941. After pilot training he was commissioned, and in November 1943 posted to 50 Squadron flying Lancasters at Skellingthorpe. At this time the bomber offensive was at its height, culminating in the Battle of Berlin. Sir Michael and his crew made ten trios to Berlin, lost an engine over Augsburg and took heavy damage during an attack on Leipzig. After completing his first tour and a period of instructing, Sir Michael started his second tour with 57 Squadron at East Kirby, taking part in 'Operation Exodus', bringing home Prisoners of War from Germany. After a distinguished post war career, Sir Michael received the RAF's top job, Chief of the Air Staff, where he was deeply involved in the Falklands War.
Squadron Leader Tony Iveson DFC AE
Tony Iveson fought in the Battle of Britain with RAF Fighter Command, as a Sergeant pilot, joining 616 Squadron at Kenley flying Spitfires on 2 September 1940. Commissioned in 1942, Tony undertook his second tour transferring to RAF Bomber Command, where he was selected to join the famous 617 Squadron's high precision operations, including all three sorties against the German battleship Tirpitz, and went on to become one of the most respected pilots in the squadron.
Flight Lieutenant Harry Hughes DFC DFM AE*
After joining the RAF in March 1941, Harry Hughes trained as a Navigator. On completion of training he was posted to join 102 (Ceylon) Squadron at RAF Pocklington flying Halifaxes. Harry completed his first tour with 102 Squadron. For his second tour Harry was posted to join 692 Squadron at Graveley, as Navigator (B). Equipped with Mosquito light bombers, 692 Squadron was part of the Light Night Striking Force of No. 8 (PFF) Group, Bomber Command; famous for its fast striking raids on Berlin using 4000lb "cookie" bombs.
Flight Lieutenant John Petrie-Andrews DFC DFM
John Petrie-Andrews joined the RAF in 1940. After training as a pilot, in January 1943 he was posted to join 102 (Ceylon) Squadron at Pocklington for his first tour, flying Halifaxes. John then joined 35 Squadron, one of the original squadrons forming the Pathfinder Force. Here he flew first Halifaxes before converting to Lancasters. John Petrie-Andrews completed a total of 70 operations on heavy bombers, including 60 with the Pathfinders.
The RAF Bomber Command Edition
(Individually numbered 1 - 250)
Just 250 copies of Robert Taylor's print BAND OF BROTHERS have been issued in this special commemorative edition, signed by SIX additional RAF Bomber Command Aircrew, making a total of TEN signatures.
Air Marshal Sir John Curtiss KCB KBE
John Curtiss trained as a navigator in RAF Bomber Command. He joined his first operational squadron - 578 Squadron, in 1944, flying Halifax IIIs. He later flew as a Halifax navigator with 158 Squadron at RAF Lissett. After the war Sir John held many high ranking posts in the RAF, and was Air Commander Falklands Operations in 1982.
Squadron Leader E. Gray Ward DFC
After joining the RAF in November 1940, Gray Ward trained as a pilot. His first operational squadron was 50 Squadron flying Lancasters, before he joined 57 Squadron as a Flight Commander. In late 1944 he was selected to join 617 Squadron, and took part in the 22,000lb. "Grand Slam" raids on the Bielefeld and Arnsberg viaducts.
Squadron Leader 'Mac' Hamilton DFC*
After joining Coastal Command in 1943, 'Mac' converted to Lancasters, and was posted to Bomber Command, joining 619 Squadron at Woodall Spa for his first tour. Here he flew sorties mainly to Berlin and the Ruhr, For his second tour he joined Cheshire's 617 Squadron, again at Woodall Spa, where he flew precision operations, including the raids on the Saumur rail tunnel, the U-boat pens, V1 sites and V2 rocket bases, and the raids against the German battleship Tirpitz.
Squadron Leader Reg Lewis DFC
Reg Lewis was a Navigator in Bomber Command, first with XV Squadron, and then 214 Squadron, both on Stirlings. In August 1943 he was posted to 138 (Special Duties) Squadron based at Tempsford. Here he flew Halifaxes, dropping agents and arms into occupied Europe. In February 1944, after flying agent Francis Cammaerts over France, Reg was shot down but evaded capture and made his way to and over Pyrenees into Spain, and home.
The Lord Mackie of Benshie CBE DSO DFC
George Mackie joined the RAF in February 1940, training as a Navigator in Bomber Command. He first joined 15 Squadron in 1941 flying Wellingtons, before going to the Middle East to join 148 Squadron. He later served with 149 Squadron on Stirlings, and 115 Squadron on Lancasters. Squadron Leader George Mackie completed three full tours on heavies, the last two as aircraft Captain.
Squadron Leader Harry Wright DFC*
Harry Wright joined the RAF in February 1940, training as a Navigator. In August 1943 he was posted to join 35 Squadron at RAF Graveley, part of 8 (Pathfinder) Group. Converting to Lancasters in March 1944, Harry became Pathfinder Navigation Leader with 35 Squadron. He flew the last of his 57 operations, to Heligoland, in the final few hours of the war, May 1945.
Overall print size: 30 1/2" wide x 23 1/2" high.
Image size: 24" wide x 16" high.