From the Robert Taylor Graphite Collection
On the night of 16/17 May 1943 nineteen specially modified Lancasters of 617 Squadron departed from RAF Scampton on one of the most secret and daring bombing operations undertaken during World War II The ultra-secret operation to destroy the huge hydro-electric dams that powered a significant part of Germany’s industrial war machine in the Ruhr valley, codenamed Operation Chastise, had been planned in stealth for months. Using a revolutionary 10-ton ‘bouncing bomb’ designed by the brilliant designer Barnes Wallis, a special squadron comprised of the most talented crews that RAF Bomber Command could muster would be formed to attack primarily the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe Dams. Using highly modified Lancaster bombers to carry the secret bomb, Operation Chastise was to become one of the most dangerous precision bombing raids ever undertaken, and Robert Taylor astutely captures all the atmosphere in his new drawing Bomb Away!, the latest addition to his highly acclaimed Graphite Collection. At 00.38 hrs the attack on the Möhne Dam is already well underway. The commander of 617 Squadron and leader of the raid, Wing Commander Guy Gibson, had made the first successful attack, but the dam wall had held. And then tragedy had struck as Flight Lieutenant Hopgood’s Lancaster, hit by flak during his attack, had exploded in a ball of flame. Gibson called in Flight Lieutenant Mick Martin to make the third assault and Robert Taylor captures this moment with graphic precision. As enemy flak and tracer illuminate the night sky, Guy Gibson boldly attempts to draw the enemy’s fire as Martin holds Lancaster AJ-P steady at 60ft above the waters of the Möhne Dam to release the cylindrical, bouncing bomb and send it spinning towards the dam wall. In a few moments a huge explosion will erupt up in to the night sky as the hydrostatic bomb detonates against the mighty granite walls. Once again, though, the Möhne dam held, but not for long.
Robert Taylor's powerful new Master Drawing is a magnificent portrayal of 'Mick' Martin's successful attack on the Möhne Dam and is issued to commemorate the men of 617 Squadron who took part in Operation Chastise.
These increasingly rare signatures are becoming progressively more difficult to find, and this new addition to Robert's Graphite Collection may prove to be one of the few remaining occasions when so many veterans are gathered together on a single print release.SignaturesLimited Edition & Artist's Proofs (6 signatures):Sergeant RAY GRAYSTON, RAF - Flight Engineer on Lancaster AJ-N, which attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam.
Sqdn Leader GEORGE JOHNSON, DFM RAF - Bomb Aimer on Lancaster AJ-T which attacked and hit the Sorpe Dam.
Corporal KEN LUCAS, RAF - Ground crew with 617 Squadron.
Flight Sergeant GRANT McDONALD, RCAF - Canadian rear gunner on Lancaster AJ-F which attacked and hit the Sorpe Dam.
Sqdn Leader LES MUNRO, DSO DFC RNZAF - New Zealander pilot of Lancaster AJ-W.
Sergeant FRED SUTHERLAND, RCAF - Canadian front gunner on Lancaster AJ-N which attacked and breached the Eder Dam.
The Publisher Proof Edition (9 signatures) includes the signatures above plus three additional which have been beautifully conservation matted:
Flight Lieutenant EDWARD JOHNSON, DFC RAF - Bomb Aimer on Lancaster AJ-N which attacked and successfully breached the Eder Dam.
Flight Lieutenant GEORGE CHALMERS, DFC DFM RAF - Wireless Operator on Lancaster AJ-O which attacked and hit the Ennepe Dam.
NORMAN 'SPUD' BOORER - One of three specialist design engineers who developed UPKEEP, the code name for the famous bouncing bomb.
The Studio Proof (12 signatures) includes the signatures above plus three additional which have been beautifully conservation matted along with a pair of reproduction RAF Pilot's wings:
Air Marshall Sir HAROLD 'MICK' MARTIN, KCB CB DSO* DFC* AFC RAF - Australian pilot of Lancaster AJ-P which was the third aircraft to attack Möhne Dam.
Flight Lieutenant BILL TOWNSEND, CGM DFM, RAF - Pilot of Lancaster AJ-O who attacked and hit the Ennepe Dam.
Sqdn Leader DAVID SHANNON, DSO* DFC* RAAF - Australian pilot of Lancaster AJ-L which went first to the Möhne Dam and then attacked and hit the Eder Dam.