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|*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.|
Group Captain Byron Duckenfield AFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40 (matted)
|Byron Duckenfield started at Flying Training School on 25th November 1935 in a Blackburn B2 at Brough. As a Sergeant, he joined No.32 Sqn at Biggin Hill on 8th August 1936 and flew Gauntlets and Hurricanes. He joined 74 Squadron at Hornchurch on 11th April 1940, flying Spitfires, and on 5th May was posted to 501 Squadron flying Hurricanes at Tangmere. On the 11th of May at Betheniville, he survived a crash in a passenger transport Bombay aircraft in an aircraft in which he was a passenger, While comin ginto land the aircraft at 200 feet the aircraft stalled and the aircrfat fell backwards just levelly out as it histhe ground. 5 of th epassengers were killed when the centre section collapsed and crushed them. Duckenfield was fortunate as he had moved position during the flight. as the two passengers sitting each side of where he was sitting had died in the crash. (it was found later that the Bombay had beeb loaded with to much weight in the aft sectiion. ) recovering in hospital in Roehampton. On 23rd July 1940, he rejoined No.501 Sqn at Middle Wallop, then moved to to Gravesend two days later, scoring his first victory, a Ju87, on the 29th of July 1940. During August and September he scored three more victories. After a spell as a test pilot from 14th September 1940, he was posted to command 66 Squadron on 20th December 1941, flying Spitfires. On 26th February 1942 he took command of 615 Squadron flying Hurricanes from Fairwood Common, taking the squadron to the Far East. In late December 1942 he was shot down in Burma and captured by the Japanese. He remained a POW until release in May 1945. After a refresher course at the Flying Training School in November 1949, he took command of No.19 Squadron flying Hornets and Meteors from Chruch Fenton. After a series of staff positions, he retired from the RAF as a Group Captain on 28th May 1969. Duckenfield would write later his details : |
At first light, 12 Hurricanes IIC aircraft of 615 Squadron, myself in the lead, took off from Chittagong for central Burma to attack the Japanese air base at Magwe, 300 miles away on the banks of the River Irrawaddy. Arriving at Yenangyaung, we turned downstream at minimum height for Magwe, 30 miles to the South and jettisoned drop tanks. Just before sighting the enemy base, the squadron climbed to 1200 feet and positioned to attack from up sun. On the ramp at the base, in front of the hangers, were 10 or 12 Nakajima KI - 43 Oscars in a rough line up (not dispersed) perhaps readying for take. These aircraft and the hangars behind them were attacked in a single pass, before withdrawing westward at low level and maximum speed. A few minutes later perhaps 20 miles away form Magwe, I was following the line of a cheung (small creek), height about 250 feet, speed aboput 280 mph, when the aircraft gave a violent shudder, accompanied by a very lound, unusual noise. The cause was instantly apparent: the airscrew has disappeared completely, leaving only the spinning hub. My immediate reaction was to throttle back fully and switch off to stop the violently overspeeding engine. Further action was obvious: I was committed to staying with the aircraft because, with a high initial speed, not enough height to eject could be gained without the help of an airscrew. So I jettisoned the canopy and acknowledged gratefully the fact that I was following a creek; the banks of either side were hillocky ground, hostile to a forced landing aircraft. Flying the course of the creek, I soon found the aircraft to be near the stall (luckily, a lower than normal figure without an airscrew) extended the flaps and touched down wheels-up with minimum impact ( I have done worse landings on a smooth runway!) My luck was holding, if one can talk of luck in such a situation. December is the height of the dry season in that area and the creek had little water, it was shallow and narrow at the point where I came down: shallow enough to support the fusalage and narrow enough to support wing tips. So I released the harness, pushed the IFF Destruct switch, climed out and walked the wing ashore, dryshod. The question may occur -Why did not others in the squadron see their leader go down? - the answer is simple, the usual tatctic of withdrawal from an enemy target was to fly single at high speed and low level on parallel courses until a safe distance from target was attained. Then, the formation would climb to re-assemble. Having left the aircraft, I now faced a formidable escape problem? I was 300 miles from friendly territory: my desired route would be westward but 80% of that 300 miles was covered by steep north-south ridges impenetrably clothed in virgin jungle; these were natural impediments, there was also the enemy to consider. Having thought over my predicament, I decided the best I could do - having heard reports of mean herted plainspeope - was to get as far into the hills as possible and then find a (hopefully sympathetic) village. I suppose I may have covered about 15 miles by nightfall when I came upon this small hill village and walked into the village square. Nobody seemed surprised to see me (I suspect I had been followed for some time) I wa given a quiet welcome, seated at a table in the open and given food. Then exhaustion took over, I fell asleep in the chair and woke later to find myself tied up in it. Next day I was handed over to a Japanese sergeant and escort who took me back to Magwe and, soon after that, 2.5 years captivity in Rangoon jail.
Sadly we have learned that Byron Duckenfield passed away on 19th November 2010.
Group Captain Frank Carey (deceased)
*Signature Value : £70 (matted)
|Born 7th May 1912. Frank Carey joined the Royal Air Force n 1927 as a 15 year old apprentice. Carey was first employed as a ground crew fitter and metal rigger but in 1935 Frank carey was selected in 1935 for a pilots course. He was then posted as a sergeant pilot to No 43 Squadron, the Fighting Cocks, whose aircraft he had been servicing. Demonstrating exceptional panache in the Hawker Fury biplane fighter, Carey was selected for the squadrons renowned aerobatics team which took part in many air displays. In early 1939, No 43 Squadron was re-equipped at Tangmere, Sussex, with the eight-gun Hurricane fighter. During World War Two, Frank Carey scored 25 enemy aircraft destroyed, one of the highest Allied fighter pilot totals. Carey opened his account at Acklington in Northumberland, when he shared in the destruction of several Heinkel shipping raiders during the cold winter of 1939-40. This was followed by a short spell at Wick defending the fleet at Scapa Flow before he was commissioned as a pilot officer and posted with No 3 Hurricane Squadron to Merville in France after the German invasion, adding to his total. After six days day of continuous combat, during which he bagged some 14 kills Carey was shot down. He had attacked a Dornier 17 bomber and was following it closely down in its last moments; the pilot was dead but the surviving rear gunner pressed his trigger to set Careys Hurricane alight, wounding him in a leg. The fire stopped, and Carey lwas forced to land between the Allied and enemy lines. Carey managed to get back by hitching a lift with a Belgium soldier on the back of his motorbike until he was picked up by a Passing Army truck which got him to a casualty station at Dieppe, he was put on a Hospital train but the train was attacked by the luftwaffe afer the attack the Engin eDriver had detache dthe train form the carriages and left the wounded. The wlaking wounded managed to push the carriages to the relative safety of La Baule on the coast. Frank Carey along with some other RAF personel managed to obtain a abandoned Bristol Bombay whihc they flew back to Hendon with Carey manning the rear gun. Carey found himself listed as missing believed killed and awarded a DFC and Bar to add to an earlier DFM. He returned to Tangmere just in time for the Battle of Britain. During the Battle of Britain, Carey was shot down during an attack on a large formation of German aircraft, when after several ships had been lost from a Channel convoy during the summer of 1940 Carey and five other Hurricane pilots of No 43 Squadron arrived on the scene to find enemy aircraft stretched out in great lumps all the way from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg. Frank Carey said about the combat At the bottom were Ju87 dive-bombers; above these Me 109s in great oval sweeps, and above them Me 110s. Three of us got up into them. It was absolutely ludicrous - three of us to take on that mob. At one stage I found himself hooked on to the tail of the last of an echelon of 109s and started firing away quite merrily. Then I had an awful wallop. It was an Me 110 with four cannons sitting just behind me. There was a big bang and there, in the wing, was a hole a man could have crawled through. Carey was slightly wounded by an explosive bullet, then a second Me 110 attacked and caused damage to Carey's rudder; but he managed to return to Tangmere only to be fired at by its anti-aircraft guns. That he managed to land was, he said, a great tribute to the Hurricane. He had been in combat up to six times a day when on August 18, the squadron's losses enabled him to lead No 43 for the first time in an attack on a mixed bunch of fighters and Ju 87 dive-bombers. The fur was flying everywhere, he recalled. Suddenly I was bullet stitched right across the cockpit. Since Tangmere was under attack he turned away and found a likely field for a crash landing at Pulborough, Sussex, where his Hurricane turned violently upside down. he spent some time in hospital. In November 1941 he was posted to Burma with No.135 Sqn when war broke out in the Far East. No 135 was diverted to Rangoon in Burma , , On February 27 1942, Carey was promoted wing commander to lead No 267 Wing, though it could seldom muster more than six serviceable Hurricanes. After destroying several Japanese aircraft he was forced to move to Magwe. As Japanese air raids increased Carey turned the Red Road, the main thoroughfare across the city, into a fighter runway. One advantage, he recalled, was that it was quite possible to sit in Firpos, the citys fashionable restaurant, and take off within three to four minutes. I managed it on several occasions. Early in 1943, Carey formed an air fighting training unit at Orissa, south-west of Calcutta, for pilots who were unfamiliar with conditions and Japanese tactics. In November 1944 he was posted to command No 73 OTU at Fayid, Egypt, in the rank of group captain. Awarded the AFC, Carey returned to Britian as the war ended in 1945, where he was granted a permanent commission and went to teach tactics at the Central Fighter Establishment at Tangmere. After attending the Army Staff College he reverted to the rank of wing commander to lead No 135 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, where he flew Tempests. Converting to jets, he moved to Gutersloh as wing commander, A succession of staff appointments followed until 1958 he was appointed air adviser to the British High Commission in Australia. Carey, who was awarded the US Silver Star and appointed CBE in 1960, retired from the Royal Air Force in 1962 and joined Rolls-Royce as its aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, retiring in 1972 and moving back the the UK. . Frank Carey died 6th December 2004.|
Saburo Sakai (deceased)
*Signature Value : £60 (matted)
|This legendary Zero pilot graduated into the Japanese air force in 1937 and he scored his first victory in the China War. On December 8, 1941, Sakai participated in the raid on Clark Field and, on December 10, led the attack on Kellys B-17. He fought in New Guinea against the 8th Fighter Group, B-26s of the 22nd Bomb Group, and 75 Sqn RAAF. Badly wounded in August 1942 over Guadalcanal he was hospitalized and lost the sight of his right eye. He was pressed back into service and claimed 5 Hellcats in the final days. In over 200 combats, Sakai never lost a wingman and destroyed 64 enemy aircraft. Saburo Sakai is the Highest-scoring Japanese ace to survive the War. Sakal flew with the Imperial Navy as a noncommissioned officer in China where he attained two victories. While stationed at Tainan on Formosa, Sakais unit was involved in the attacks on American airfields in the Philippines shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Japanese pilots had developed fuel-saving, low-speed, tactics with their Mitsubishi Zero fighters, which allowed them to make the 1200-mile round-trip flight to the Philippines, while accompanying Japanese bombers. The appearance of Japanese aircraft from bases which were thought to be out of range came as an unpleasant surprise to American forces. During this mission S akal bagged a p-40 over Clark field. During the days that would follow, Sakai's squadron would repeatedly make the long flight to the Philippines to support the advancing Japanese invasion force that was disembarking. On December 10, 1941 while patrolling at 18,000 feet, Sakal saw several bombs explode near Japanese convoy ships. Noticing a lone B-17 Flying Fortress, Sakal and nine other Zeros made for the American Bomber at full throttle. Overtaking the bomber, believed to be the one piloted by Colin Kelly, Sakal and the other Japanese fighters poured fire into the aircraft from behind. Finally, the overmatched bomber began to go down. Eight of its crew bailed out before the aircraft crashed short of Clark Field. Sakal would later have another encounter with b- 1 7s over Borneo. However, these would be later model aircraft fitted with a rear gunner's turret, and would prove to be much more difficult to bring down. In early 1942 Sakai's unit was shifted to supporting the Japanese invasion of Java. Encountering outclassed Brewster Buffaloes, P-36s, P-40s, and some Hurricanes, the Japanese fighter forces wreaked havoc in the skies. Sakai's victory tally rose to thirteen. A few months later Sakal was involved in fighting around Rabaul. This was the first time the Japanese would meet stiff resistance. In many months of fighting the Japanese forces sustained meaningful casualties. On July 22, 1942 Sakal chased a Lockheed Hudson, whose pilot put on a daring series of aerial maneuvers, before finally being downed by the Japanese ace, for his 4C Victory. In late July the morale of the Japanese fighter forces suffered a serious setback with the realization that American carrierbased aircraft were now involved in the battles in New Guinea. The Japanese forces had in fact not obtained the decisive victory that they had been told was achieved at the Battle of Midway. With the American attack on Guadalcanal, Sakai's unit was refocused on flying 11 00-mile escort missions for Japanese Bombers attacking American forces at Guadalcanal. On one of these missions Sakai mistakenly attacked a formations of Avengers. Hit by fire from the rear gunners of the torpedo bombers, Sakal was badly injured, losing sight in one eye. He successfully nursed his aircraft back to Rabaul. After recovering from his injuries, Sakai would be involved as a flight instructor and test pilot until the Japanese surrender. Saburo Sakai passed away 22nd September 2000.|
Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls DFC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £40 (matted)
|A pre-war RAFVR pilot, in June 1940 Nicholls converted to Hurricanes at 7 OTU, Hawarden. Nicholls flew during the Battle of Britain with 85 and 242 and in September joined 151 Squadron.at Digby On September 30, 1940, he shared in the destruction of a Ju 88 and returned to Digby with his Hurricane P 5182 severely damaged by return fire. Nicholls spent only a brief time with 242 but Bader made a considerable impression. After a hard day Nicholls remembers Bader taking off his legs and dressing the stumps with lotion and talcum powder. Few people realise, Nicholls feels, just how much strain combat flying with artificial legs must have been. Later in the war Nicholls flew Hurricanes with 258 Squadron in the Far East to Seletar airfield, Singapore and flew their first operation on January 31 1942. On February 10 1942 the three surviving Hurricanes of 258 were withdrawn to Palembang with the fifteen surviving pilots, six remained behind to fly with 605 Squadron, with Nicholls being one of the nine evacuated from Java to Ceylon. 258 Squadron was reformed at Ratmalana on March 1 1942 and Nicholls rejoined it. Awarded the DFC (19.5.44) he remained with 258 until August 1944, when he was posted to HQ 224 Group, Burma, as Squadron Leader Tactics. Squadron Leader Doug Nicholls, who has died aged 95, flew Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, avoided capture in Java and earned the DFC flying ground attack missions in Burma. Nicholls and his fellow pilots of No 258 Squadron had just arrived in the Middle East as reinforcements in 1941 when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. It was decided to rush the squadron to Singapore and it embarked on the aircraft carrier Indomitable before sailing for the Far East. On January 28 1942, 22 Hurricanes took off from the carrier and departed on the three-hour flight to Batavia. After refuelling, Nicholls headed for Palembang in the south of Sumatra. During the hazardous crossings, the squadron had lost a quarter of its aircraft before facing the Japanese. Two pilots were soon lost in combat. On February 6, the airfield at Palembang was attacked. Nicholls managed to damage a Japanese bomber but he was attacked by a Zero fighter and was forced to bail out over the jungle 30 miles from his airfield. Nicholls started walking and eventually commandeered a car, but found that his squadron had been forced to evacuate Palembang. When the car ran out of petrol he traded it for a railway ticket to a nearby port where he escaped to Batavia to rejoin his depleted squadron. It was soon decided to withdraw the squadron and leave six pilots to fly the only remaining Hurricanes. Three volunteered to stay and the remainder cut cards, the three drawing the lowest to remain. Nicholls cut a jack, which was high enough for him to join the party to be evacuated. On February 28, just six of the 22 pilots who had arrived a few weeks earlier sailed for Ceylon on an overcrowded boat. Those left behind were either killed or became PoWs for the next three years.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
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