A tribute to the American bomber crews of the US 8th Air Force
The winter of 1944 / 45 wasn’t the coldest ever recorded in England but it came close. The weather was bitter and, in what would turn out to be the last Christmas of the war, temperatures plunged across the country, bringing ice, freezing fog and deep banks of drifting snow.Capt ROBERT SHOENS (Pilot)
1st Lt JOHN CLARK (Co-Pilot)
1st Lt JAMES RASMUSSEN (Navigator) Collectors & Artist Proof Editions:
Airfields across East Anglia stood bleak and frost-bound, runways kept clear of snow when conditions allowed, whilst the heavy bombers of the US Eighth Air Force remained under wraps, engines oiled, warmed and ready for any break in the banks of murky fog that would allow them to fly. And when those breaks came, the bombers were back in action ready to play their part in the final destruction of Hitler’s Third Reich. The end game was rapidly approaching and both sides knew it.
Bearing all the hallmarks of a classic Robert Taylor masterwork, this outstanding piece portrays one such break in the weather when, with recent heavy snow beginning to thaw, the B-17 Fortresses of the famous 100th Bomb Group at Thorpe Abbotts in Norfolk are being prepared for a new mission to Germany in early 1945.
Earning the nickname ‘The Bloody Hundredth’ due to the heavy losses they suffered, Robert has fittingly chosen the 100th BG to represent all those who flew so heroically with the Eighth Air Force in England during World War II.
The Eighth flew its final bomber operations of the war on 25 April 1945, the last of 968 combat missions involving over 523,000 sorties; they had dropped some 700,000 tons of bombs, inflicting destruction on a scale from which the enemy could never recover. Yet the cost of the victory in which they had played such a major part made for sober reading; they had lost some 6,130 bombers and fighters along with some 47,000 casualties, including more than 26,000 dead – half of the entire US Army Air Force losses during the conflict.
To honor all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, each print has been personally signed and authenticated by veterans who served with the 100th BG as the Allies pushed for victory during WWII. By endorsing the edition, their autographs help to create a historically important collector’s piece to be cherished for future generations.
Joining artist Robert Taylor in signing every print are three distinguished aircrew who flew B-17s on operations with the 100th BG from Thorpe Abbotts during WWII:
These memorable TEN signature editions are also signed by a further seven B-17 aircrew who flew with the 100th BG:
Maj JOHN ‘LUCKY’ LUCKADOO (Co-Pilot)
SSgt LEWIS PAYNE (Waist Gunner)
SSgt AL ARREOLA (Ball Turret Gunner)
SSgt ALBERT FREITAS (Radio Operator)
SSgt LEWIS HERRON (Tail Gunner)
SSgt JOE URICE (Tail Gunner)
Lt Col HENRY ‘HANK’ CERVANTES (Co-Pilot of aircraft E-Z Goin’ featured in the print) Remarque Editions:
Regarded as the world’s finest aviation artist, Robert’s original work is extremely limited so a hand-drawn pencil Remarque is one of the best ways to own a unique ‘one of a kind’ piece of his artwork.
Each print in the Remarque Editions will be enhanced with a delicately crafted original pencil drawing, skilfully created by Robert in the lower margin. The DOUBLE REMARQUES, restricted to just 10 copies worldwide, are issued with an even more elaborate drawing crammed full of detail and content.
These desirable editions have been additionally signed by a member of the ground crew based at Thorpe Abbotts, creating a sought after ELEVEN signature collector’s piece:MSgt DEWEY CHRISTOPHER (Crew Chief)