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The following text has been obtained from various
reliable online sources with grateful thanks.
Duel of Eagles by Robert Taylor.
Signed by General Adolf Galland (deceased) and
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO*, DFC*.
Signed limited edition prints.
Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader CBE, DSO*, DFC*.
Ace with 23.00 Victories
One of the most famous fighter aces of World War Two, Douglas Bader joined the RAF in 1928. A fearless aerobatic flyer, his luck ran out when his aircraft crashed attempting a slow roll. He lost both legs, and his career in the RAF was, for the time being, over. At the outbreak of World War Two however, his persistence persuaded the RAF to let him fly again, this time with artificial legs. Joining 19 Squadron in February 1940, he soon scored his first victory. A brilliant fighter leader, he was given command of 242 Squadron - and led them throughout the Battle of Britain. Posted to Tangmere in 1941 Bader was one of the first Wing Leaders. Baders luck again ran out on August 9th 1941, when he was brought down over St Omer, France. Bader was taken prisoner, ending up in Colditz for the rest of the war. He scored 20 and shared 4 victories.
Citation for the Distinguished Flying Cross, gazetted 7th January 1941.
Squadron Leader Bader has continued to lead his squadron and wing with the utmost gallantry on all occasions. He has now destroyed a total of ten hostile aircraft and damaged several more.
London Gazette, 1941.
Distinguished Service Order Bar to the Distinguished Service Order Distinguished Flying Cross Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross
S/Ldr. D. R. S. Bader was born on 10th February, 1910.
From the start, his life followed no placid pattern. When Douglas was a few months old, his family returned to India, where his father worked as a civil engineer. Young Douglas was left behind because his family thought him too young for India's harsh climate. He did not rejoin them until he was two years old, beginning a long life as a loner. The Bader family returned to England in 1913 and settled in North Doncaster.
The following year, when World War I began, Frederick Bader (Douglas's father) went with the British army into France. It was the last time Douglas saw his father, who died in France of complications from a shrapnel wound in 1922, and was buried near the town of St. Omer.
Throughout his early years, Douglas showed a fierce spirit of independence and nonconformity. He excelled in sports such as rugby football; when he was captain of the rugby team, his natural leadership abilities became apparent. In 1923, Douglas stayed with his aunt Hazel Bader and her husband, Flight Lieutenant Cyril Burge, who at the time was adjutant at the Royal Air Force (RAF) college in Cranwell. That's when he first became interested in airplanes.
At the age of thirteen, Douglas became interested in becoming a pilot in the Royal Air Force and was awarded one of six King's Cadetships to the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell in 1928. Not all of his flying was regulation and his superiors did not like his rebellious nature. Halfway through the two-year course, when the cadets took progress exams, Bader came out 18th out of 21 cadets. Cranwell's commandant, Air Vice Marshal Halahan , warned him: "You're young, I can understand your trouble, but the air force won't go on understanding. They want men here, not school boys." Bader emerged from Halahan's tirade considerably shaken, knowing the commandant was right. He studied harder, and his flying became better than ever.
He was narrowly beaten into second place for the Sword of Honour when passing out of the College in 1930, but was commissioned as Pilot Officer, and posted to RAF Kenley where he honed his flying skills on the Bulldog fighter with 23 Squadron. The Bulldogs were faster than the Gamecocks but heavier and liable to loose height rapidly in low-altitude maneuvers.
By early 1931, Douglas had gained a place in the Squadron's aerobatic team for the Paris Air Show.
Douglas, along with two other pilots from his squadron, went on an excursion to Woodley airfield near Reading on 14th December 1931. In the Woodley clubhouse a young pilot was discussing acrobatics with Bader, the Hendon star, and suggested that he give a demonstration of low flying. Bader refused, citing his inexperience flying acrobatics in a Bulldog. The matter was dropped until Bader and the other pilots were leaving. Someone dared him to do it. In some agitation Bader took off, then turned back toward the field. Flying low and fast across the field, Bader began a slow roll, but in his inexperience with the Bulldog he flew too low.
The Bulldog's left wing struck the ground, and the plane cartwheeled quickly into a tangle of wreckage. Both of Bader's legs were crushed, his left leg under the seat, his right tom by the rudder pedal. Bader was pulled from the Bulldog's wreckage by shocked onlookers and taken immediately to the Royal Berkshire Hospital, where he was placed in the care of Dr. Leonard Joyce, one of England's best surgeons.
Joyce immediately amputated Bader's right leg above the smashed knee and, several days later, the left leg six inches below the knee. After his second amputation, Bader's condition worsened. None of the doctors expected the 21-year-old pilot to survive. But Bader had great will to live.
After a long, painful recovery, Bader was transferred to the RAF Hospital in Uxbridge in 1932. While there, he became acquainted with the Dessoutter brothers. Marcel Dessoutter had been an aircraft designer until he, too, lost a leg in an air crash. Afterward he started a firm that made artificial legs of light metal alloys like aluminum. Douglas Bader was the first customer to require two artificial legs. Despite the physical impediment, Bader began to remake his life both physically and mentally. After several months of agonizing and determined effort, Bader learned to walk on both "tin" legs. He refused to use a walking stick, saying, "I'm going to start the way I mean to go on." He soon began driving a car again, with the pedals modified to accommodate his tin legs. Bader's thoughts then returned to flying. After a weekend spent with the Under-secretary of State for Air, Sir Phillip Sasson, in June 1932, Bader's desire to fly reached fever pitch. His host, who lived near Lympe airfield, arranged a flight for him in an Avro 504 trainer. Bader's handling of the Avro left nothing to be desired. Later, an RAF medical board found him fit for restricted flying duties.
Soon afterward, in April 1933, Bader was informed by the air force that he was to be retired on grounds of ill health, which left him feeling shocked and numb. Within weeks, Bader left the RAF on a total disability pension.
Douglas was discharged from the Service, but with the onset of the Second World War he recognised that it perhaps offered the opportunity of getting back in the air and joining the action. It was not easy and he had to be persistent, calling on a number of favours along the way. He was constantly being told 'there is nothing in King's Regulations allowing a man in his condition to fly,' but, as he was quick to point out, there was nothing in Kings Regulations to say a man in his condition could NOT fly. Eventually, due to the nation's overwhelming need for experienced pilots and with considerable support from those officers under whom Douglas had served in the early 1930s, the way was cleared and he was back where he considered he belonged.
In November 1939, Douglas went to the Central Flying School at RAF Upavon for assessment. Although not having flown for seven years, after just a few hours of refresher training Douglas was flying solo in a Tutor and progressed quickly to the Battle, Master and Hurricane. His final course report read: 'This officer is an exceptionally good pilot. He is very keen and should be ideally suited.to single-seat fighters.' In the section headed 'Ability as a Pilot', the Officer Commanding Refresher Squadron wrote 'Exceptional'.
By April 1940 Douglas was promoted, taking command of 'A' Flight of 222 Squadron, flying Spitfires. His skills as a pilot and his inspirational leadership qualities soon became well known throughout the Service and when, in June 1940, the totally demoralised Canadian 242 Squadron, a Hurricane unit, was withdrawn after the fall of France, Bader was quickly identified as the ideal candidate to take charge. Within a very short period of time Bader's leadership had transformed the Squadron. Group Captain Woodhall, Station Commander, RAF Duxford said '242 Squadron soon became an enthusiastic team led by their single-minded and swashbuckling OC Douglas Bader.'
Air Marshal Sir Denis Crowley Milling, a young Pilot Officer at the time, remembered that 'Less than a month after he took command of the Squadron, morale was very high. Fear was ever present, of course, but Bader was afraid of nothing and through both example and constant encouragement he helped us all conquer our own anxieties'.
However even the seemingly indestructible Douglas Bader's luck ran out on 9th August 1941, when his Spitfire collided with a Luftwaffe Bf109 over France and Bader was captured and imprisoned for the remainder of the Second World War. His personal tally of 22.5 enemy aircraft was the fifth highest in the RAF. Despite confinement in a prisoner of war (POW) camp, Douglas eventually being transferred to Colditz, and his positive attitude towards escape and returning to action continued to inspire his fellow POWs. In April 1945 liberation arrived. Douglas came home but soon realised that there was now little place for him in the RAF.
After leaving the RAF in late February 1946, Bader flew all over the world, often with Thelma, touring Europe, Africa and America. He spent many hours visiting veterans hospitals.
In 1976, Bader was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his services to amputees, "so many of whom he had helped and inspired by his example and character." After Thelma's death, he married Joan Murray, who shared his interest in public work for the disabled. His workload would have been exhausting for anyone, let alone a legless man with a worsening heart condition, but iron willpower drove him on until August 1982, when he suffered a mild heart attack after a golf tournament in Ayrshire.
Three weeks later, on 5th September, 1982, after serving as guest speaker at a London Guildhall dinner honoring the 90th birthday of the Marshal of the Royal Air Force, Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, Douglas Bader died of a heart attack. He was 72 years old. "He became a legend at first in the personification of RAF heroism during the Second World War," the London Times obituary said.
He rejoined the civilian ranks and carved himself a career as Managing Director of Shell Aircraft Operations, as well as serving on the Civil Aviation Authority. Douglas soon realised that not only were many people in a similar position to himself but most were in less fortunate circumstances. Something had to be done to help and the tough-talking, no-nonsense Bader was the man to do it. Douglas Bader appreciated that he enjoyed an elevated position throughout the UK. His story was legendary and his direct attitude and forthright nature made people take note of what he said. He dedicated himself to improving the plight of disabled people everywhere and over the years supported and raised funds for countless charities and projects. In 1976, for his inspirational work for and amongst the disabled community, he was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen.
Douglas Bader and his wife Lady Joan, OBE, came to Cupar in 1982 to open the original Douglas Bader Garden for the disabled. Designed by George Craig, it was created by North East Fife District Council to commemorate the International Year of the Disabled. Despite his failing health, Sir Douglas drew a large audience who crowded into the small garden to catch a glimpse of the living legend. Sir Douglas knew Fife well, and he often referred to it as "God's own country." He had Scots blood through his mother, and was a regular visitor to St Andrews where he played countless rounds of golf over the famous Old Course. A single figure player, he travelled the globe with his clubs and played with many leading players such as Ben Hogan, who had an affinity with the RAF hero because of the crash which almost wrecked his own life. A few months after visiting Fife Sir Douglas sadly passed away.
Douglas never tried to find an excuse for the accident. In his flying logbook he later entered the simple account, 'X-country Reading. Crashed slow rolling near ground, bad show.' When quizzed in later life as to what had gone wrong, a philosophical Douglas, after a brief thought, merely stated 'Just made a balls of it, old boy. That's all there is to it.' Having been informed by his doctors that he was doing remarkably well but should use 'sticks' as he would never walk without them, he retorted 'On the contrary, I will never bloody well walk with them.' He never did.
In the 1950s, Paul Brickhill’s book about Bader’s life, Reach for the Sky, became a global best-seller, leading to the epic Danny Angel film of the same title, starring veteran British actor Kenneth Moore. Consequently the inspirational story of Douglas Bader became a household name all over the world.
General Adolf Galland
Ace with 104.00 Victories
Adolf Galland fought in the great Battles of Poland, France and Britain, leading the famous JG26 Abbeville Boys. He flew in combat against the RAFs best including Douglas Bader, Bob Stanford Tuck and Johnnie Johnson. In 1941, at the age of 29, he was promoted to Inspector of the Fighter Arm. In 1942 Hitler personally selected Galland to organise the fighter escort for the Channel Dash. He became the youngest General in the German High Command but open disagreements with Goering led to his dismissal at the end of 1944. He reverted to combat flying, forming the famous JV44 wing flying the Me262 jet fighter, and was the only General in history to lead a squadron into battle. With 104 victories, all in the West, Adolf Galland received the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds. Born 19th March 1912, died 9th February 1996. Born in 1911, Adolf Galland learned to fly at a state-sponsored flying club in the early 1930s. In 1933 he was selected to go to Italy for secret pilot training. Galland flew for a brief time as a commercial airline pilot prior to joining the clandestine Luftwaffe as a Second Lieutenant. In April of 1935 he was assigned to JG-2, the Richtofen Fighter Wing, and in 1937 he joined the ranks of the Condor Legion flying the He-51 biplane fighter in support of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Despite flying 280 missions, Galland attained no aerial victories, a rather inauspicious start for a pilot would go on to attain more than 100 aerial victories - the highest for any pilot who flew on the Western Front. During Germanys invasion of Poland, Galland was assigned to an attack squadron and he flew over fifty ground sorties. He was promoted to Captain for his efforts, but Galland was anxious to return to a fighter squadron, and he got his wish in October of 1939 when he was transferred to JG-27. It was with JG-27 that Galland first learned to fly the Bf-109. In May of 1940 JG-27 flew in support of the invasion of Belgium, and Galland achieved his first combat victory on May 12. Two months later his score had risen to more than a dozen, and at this time he was once again transferred to JG-26 situated on the Channel Coast. Engaging the RAF on a daily basis during the Battle of Britain, Gallands score rose steadily until it exceeded 40 victories by September. After a short leave Galland rejoined JG-26 in Brittany, where the squadron played a defensive role. Following Germanys invasion of Russia in June of 1941, JG-26 became one of only two German fighter squadrons left on the Channel Coast. This resulted in plenty of flying, and by late in 1941 Gallands victory totals had reached 70. Following a near brush with death when the fuel tank of his 109 exploded, Galland was grounded for a time, and sent to Berlin where he was made the General of the Fighter Arm, reporting directly to Goring and Hitler. Galland spent most of the next few years carrying out inspection tours, and was at odds with his superiors about the need for an adequate fighter defense to negate ever-increasing Allied bombing of Germanys cities. He continued to fly combat missions when the opportunity presented itself, despite Gorings orders to the contrary. In January of 1945 almost 300 fighters were lost in an all-out attack on Allied airfields in France, a mission Galland did not support. He was dismissed as General of the Fighter Arm for his insubordination, but reflecting his flying abilities Hitler ordered Galland to organize JV-44, Germanys first jet-equipped fighter squadron. By March of 1945 Galland had recruited 45 of Germanys best surviving fighter pilots, and this new squadron was given the difficult task of trying to counter the daily onslaught of 15th Air Force bombers coming at Germany from the South. Gallands final mission of the War occurred on April 26 when he attained his 102nd and 103rd confirmed aerial victories prior to crash landing his damaged Me262. Several days later the War was over for both Galland and Germany. General Galland died in 1996.
Knights Cross Oak Leaves Swords Diamonds
The Lancaster VC’s by Robert Taylor
A superb study of a pair of Lancaster heavy bombers as they set out on a mission over occupied Europe, painted against a powerful cloudscape. Both Bill Reid and Norman Jackson won Britains supreme award, the Victoria Cross, flying in Lancasters.
Signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid VC (deceased) & Warrant Officer Norman Jackson VC (deceased).
Signed limited edition of 1500 prints.
William Reid, pilot and agricultural adviser: born Glasgow 21 December 1921; VC 1943; married 1952 Violet Gallagher (one son, one daughter); died Crieff, Perthshire 28 November 2001.
For one of the bravest actions of the Second World War, Bill Reid was awarded the Victoria Cross. On 3 November 1943, a force of 600 bombers was tasked to bomb Düsseldorf. Reid, flying a Lancaster with his six-man crew, was crossing the Dutch coast at 21,000 feet when his windscreen suddenly exploded. A Bf 110 had attacked from dead astern with cannon fire and not only shattered his cockpit but damaged both gun turrets. Reid, hit in the head and shoulder, as well as having his face cut by perspex splinters, recovered to find that his aircraft had dived nearly 200 feet.
He managed to right the bomber and, saying nothing of his injuries, flew on, but minutes later he was attacked again, this time by a Focke-Wulf 190 which raked the bomber from stem to stern. This attack killed the navigator and mortally wounded the wireless operator, as well as further wounding Reid. As he was to recall:
We were really hit this time, and we started to spin down. Everything went dead in my ears as there was no intercom, nothing. My hands were a bit bloody, skinned, really, when the windscreen had shattered.
Somehow, in the intense cold, Reid managed to control the aircraft with the help of the flight engineer, Sgt Jim Norris, who had been wounded in the arm. The attack had ruptured the aircraft's oxygen system as well as its hydraulics. Reid would have had every right to turn back to Britain, but made the decision to press on with his mission. Without any assistance from his navigator, Reid was in considerable difficulty, but he had committed the route to memory and 50 minutes later he was over his targets. Keeping his aircraft steady, he released his bombs, waited for the automatic photograph to indicate his accuracy and then turned for home, steering by the moon and Pole Star.
Now growing weak through loss of blood and lapsing into unconsciousness, with the aid of Norris and the bomb aimer he managed to keep the plane in the air despite heavy anti-aircraft fire as they crossed the Dutch coast. Then, all of a sudden, all four engines cut out and the plane went into a spin. Norris, light-headed through lack of oxygen, had forgotten to change over the petrol cocks to full engine. Somehow his training took over and he quickly rectified the fault and the engines burst back into full power. Spotting the airfield at Shipdham, Norfolk, Reid circled and flashed his landing lights to indicate his aircraft was in distress. With the hydraulics useless, he had to hand-pump the undercarriage down, which collapsed as he touched the runway. The Lancaster slithered 60 yards before coming to a halt.
The citation for Reid's Victoria Cross reads:
Wounded in two attacks, without oxygen, suffering severely from the cold, his navigator dead, his wireless operator fatally wounded, his aircraft crippled and defenceless, Flight Lieutenant Reid showed superb courage and leadership in penetrating a further 200 miles into enemy territory to attack one of the most strongly defended targets in Germany, every additional mile increasing the hazard of the long and perilous journey home. This tenacity and devotion to duty were beyond praise.
The son of a blacksmith, Bill Reid was educated at Coatbridge Secondary School and joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1940. He trained as a pilot in North America and because of his flying skills worked as an instructor before his first operational flight with 61 Squadron in August 1943. He had only flown nine sorties before the flight which was to change his life.
After recovering from his wounds he was posted to the famous 617 (Dambuster) Squadron, then led by Wing Cdr Leonard Cheshire, later himself to win the VC. Reid was to recall Cheshire with much warmth. On his first flight back, Reid made a pig's ear of the landing and knocked the tail off the plane. Cheshire apologised to him and said, "It's my fault. After all you have been through, I should have given you a few circuits before you flew off." Then he added that he would have to put an endorsement into Reid's book. Many years later, Reid said, laughing, "I think I am the only pilot to get a Victoria Cross on one trip and a red endorsement on the next!"
Reid flew a number of successful raids with the squadron until 31 July 1944. On that day, while attacking a V1 weapon storage site near Rheims, having dropped his own "Tallboy" bomb he was hit by a bomb from a Lancaster 6,000ft above him. The bomb severed all his control cables. Reid gave the order for his crew to bale out, but as he did so the Lancaster went into a sudden dive. He had no option but to bale out himself and landed safely. Taken prisoner of war, Reid found himself in Stalag Luft III before moving to a camp at Belaria. As the Russians advanced, Reid was moved to Luckenwalde, 30km from Berlin. With little food and many dying of exhaustion, Reid was relieved to be released by the Russians.
Bill Reid left the RAF in 1946 and entered Glasgow University. He went later to the West of Scotland Agricultural College before travelling on a scholarship to India, North America and finding New Zealand very much to his liking. In 1950 he joined the MacRobert Trust Farms as an agricultural adviser. He was for 20 years the national cattle and sheep adviser for Spillers Farm Feeds. He retired in 1980 and moved to Crieff with his wife Violet. Theirs was a rich and happy relationship which underpinned the life of this most modest and courageous of men.
Bill Reid was a founder member of the Aircrew Association and an active member of the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association.
Medal entitlement of Sergeant Norman Jackson,
106 Squadron, RAFVR
Air Crew Europe Star
Defence Medal (1939-45 )
War Medal (1939-45 )
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953 )
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977 )
Anybody who still thinks that decorations came easily to members of bomber crews during the Second World War might change their mind if told the story of Sergeant Norman Jackson, a flight engineer of 106 Squadron. His exploit may have been the most amazing of the war and certainly it was the most unusual.
It happened on the night of 26 / 27 April 1944 when 215 Lancasters and 11 Mosquitoes raided Schweinfurt. The pathfinding aircraft inaccurately marked the target, strong headwinds upset the bombing schedule and enemy fighters incessantly attacked the bombers. Even the terse official language of Jackson's citation, gazetted on 26 October 1945, cannot mask the high drama of his exploit and half a century later it still has the power to horrify an 'ordinary' reader.
[ London Gazette, 26 October 1945 ], Raid on Schweinfurt, Germany, 26 April 1944, Sergeant Norman Jackson, 106 Squadron, RAFVR.
In recognition of most conspicuous bravery. This airman was the flight engineer in a Lancaster bomber detailed to attack Schweinfurt on the night of 26th April 1944. Bombs were dropped successfully and the aircraft was climbing out of the target area. Suddenly it was attacked by a fighter at about 20,000 feet. The captain took evading action at once but the enemy secured many hits. A fire started near a petrol tank on the upper surface of the starboard wing, between the fuselage and the inner engine. Sergeant Jackson was thrown to the floor during the engagement. Wounds which he received from shell splinters in the right leg and shoulder were probably sustained at that time. Recovering himself, he remarked that he could deal with the fire on the wing and obtained his captain's permission to try to put out the flames.
Pushing a hand fire-extinguisher into the top of his life-saving jacket and slipping on his parachute pack, Sergeant Jackson jettisoned the escape hatch above the pilot's head. He then started to climb out of the cockpit and back along the top of the fuselage to the starboard wing. Before he could leave the fuselage his parachute pack opened and the whole canopy and rigging lines spilled into the cockpit. Undeterred, Sergeant Jackson continued. The pilot, bomb aimer and navigator gathered the parachute together and held on to the rigging lines, paying them out as the airman crawled aft. Eventually he slipped and, falling from the fuselage to the starboard wing, grasped an air intake on the leading edge of the wing. He succeeded in clinging on but lost the extinguisher, which was blown away.
By this time, the fire had spread rapidly and Sergeant Jackson was involved. His face, hands and clothing were severly burnt. Unable to retain his hold, he was swept through the flames and over the trailing edge of the wing, dragging his parachute behind. When last seen it was only partly inflated and was burning in a number of places.
Realising that the fire could not be controlled, the captain gave the order to abandon aircraft. Four of the remaining members of the crew landed safely. The captain and rear gunner have not been accounted for. Sergeant Jackson was unable to control his descent and landed heavily. He sustained a broken ankle, his right eye was closed through burns and his hands were useless. These injuries, together with the wounds received earlier, reduced him to a pitiable state. At daybreak he crawled to the nearest village, where he was taken prisoner. He bore the intense pain and discomfort of the journey to Dulag Luft with magnificent fortitude. After 10 months in hospital he made a good recovery, though his hands required further treatment and are only of limited use.
This airman's attempt to extinguish the fire and save the aircraft and crew from falling into enemy hands was an act of outstanding gallantry. To venture outside, when travelling at 200 miles an hour, at a great height and in intense cold, was an almost incredible feat. Had he succeeded in subduing the flames, there was little or no prospect of his regaining the cockpit. The spilling of his parachute and the risk of grave damage to its canopy reduced his chances of survival to a minimum. By his ready willingness to face these dangers he set an example of self-sacrifice which will ever be remembered.
Norman Jackson was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George VI at Buckingham Palace on the 13th November 1945.
The Lancaster's captain, Flying Office F. Mifflin, and the rear gunner were killed in the crash, the others spent the rest of the war as prisoners. Sergeant Jackson's astonishing experience did not become known until after the war when the members of the Lancaster's crew were repatriated. Jackson had said nothing about his courage but the navigator, Flight Lieutenant F. Higgins, and the others unaninmously recommended him for a high decoration. Norman Jackson died in March 1994 and is buried in the Percy Road Cemetery, Twickenham, Middlesex.
Dambusters by Robert Taylor.
Signed limited edition of 100 prints.
Signed by Air Marshal Sir Harold (Mick) Martin KCB CB DSO* AFC RAAF
Born 27th February 1918, Australian Mick Martin joined the RAF in 1940 and had flown tours with 455 Squadron RAAF and 50 Squadron RAF before joining Guy Gibson at 617 Squadron. Pilot of AJ-P, Mick Martin was Deputy Leader of the Dams Raid and flew in Gibsons lead group. Third aircraft to attack the Mohne Dam, he was awarded the DSO for his part in the raid. Mick Martin later served with Leonard Cheshire, and went on to a distinguished career after the war. ADC to the Queen in 1963, he eventually retired from the RAF as an Air Marshal in 1974. Mick Martin died 3rd November 1988.
Distinguished Service Order Bar to the Distinguished Service Order
Wellington by Robert Taylor.
Signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Townsend CGM DFM
Signed limited edition of 1500 prints.
Pilot and Captain of Lancaster AJ-O, he attacked the Ennepe Dam. Transferring to the RAF from the Army in 1941, Bill Townsend served a tour as a pilot with 49 Squadron, before joining 617 Squadron, at the time a Flight Sergeant. As part of 617 Squadron Bill Townsend flew Lancaster ED-886 codenamed AJ – O for Orange in the famous dambuster raid of May 1944. Flight Sergeant Townsend flew his bomber and crew in the third wave of the famous raid. After the first two dams (Mohne and Eder) were breached, O for Orange was tasked to attack the Ennepe dam. With no anti-aircraft firing at them, they had time to do three trial runs before they released their bomb, but it failed to damage the dam. Forced to fly back at tree top level by enemy action, his Lancaster was the last to return. It limped home short of one engine. He was awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal for his courageous actions in the raid. Bill Townsend was later promoted to Flight Lieutenant. He had been a pupil at Monmouth and after the war studied at Lincoln College, Oxford. He became a business man and a civil servant after his studies. FLt/Lt Townsend passed away in April 1991 , there with a flypast by 617 Tornadoes at his cremation on the 15th April 1991