On the night of 11 / 12 March 1941, Halifax bombers went into action for the first time when aircraft from 35 Squadron bombed the docks at Le Havre. The following night the squadron took part in a raid on Hamburg, with the Halifax becoming the first of the four- engine ‘heavies’ to bomb Germany, nearly a year before its illustrious counterpart, the Lancaster, entered the fray.
Equipping numerous units that subsequently included RAF, Canadian, Australian, Free French and Polish squadrons, from that night in March 1941 until the cessation of hostilities, this formidable, hard-working aircraft would become a core component of Bomber Command’s night bombing campaign against the Third Reich. Despite being eventually overshadowed by the Lancaster, Halifaxes would nevertheless deliver more than a quarter of all the bombs dropped on Germany by the Royal Air Force.
Yet, unlike the Lancaster which obtained its legendary status solely as a bomber, the Halifax could operate in numerous other front-line roles: it was a superb glider tug, seeing action during the invasions of Sicily and Normandy, at Arnhem and during the Rhine crossings. It shared with Short’s Stirling the unique ability of towing the huge heavy- lift, tank-carrying Hamilcar, the Allies’ largest assault glider of the war. It was also used for covert SOE operations – the only aircraft with a long enough range to carry agents, weapons and equipment to eastern Europe – as well as carrying out mine-laying sorties and long-range meteorological, anti-submarine and shipping patrols with Coastal Command, whose Halifaxes sunk no less than nine U-boats.
It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the Halifax taking centre stage in Robert Taylor’s masterwork drawing is one of the most famous Halifaxes ever built, an aircraft that successfully completed 128 operations with 158 Squadron, and survived. That Halifax, LV907, is better known as ‘Friday the 13th’. In tribute to the Halifax and the valiant airmen who flew them during World War II, only 25 copies of this high quality giclée fine art print are available worldwide through the Military Gallery, Robert’s exclusive publisher. Each copy has been signed, numbered and hand-titled by Robert, personally autographed by Second World War Halifax aircrew, and issued mounted to full conservation standards. A completely unique TWELVE signature collector’s piece to be cherished!Signatures:
Flight Lieutenant GEORGE DUNN DFC Ld’H – Pilot with 76 Squadron
Warrant Officer HARRY WINTER – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 427 Squadron
Warrant Officer HARRY IRONS DFC – Rear Gunner with 158 Squadron
Warrant Officer REX STATHAM – Flight Engineer with 158 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant FRED TUNSTALL DFC – Rear Gunner with 158 Squadron
Pilot Officer MAURICE SPIVEY DFM – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 158 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant JOHN PETRIE-ANDREWS DFC DFM – Pilot with 102 & 158 Squadrons
Warrant Officer LAURIE GODFREY – Wireless Operator/Air Gunner with 408 Squadron
Air Commodore WILF BURNETT DSO OBE DFC AFC – Pilot with 138 (Special Duties) Squadron
Squadron Leader PAT CARDEN DFC AE – Pilot with 35 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant ERIC BERNARD – Rear Gunner with 10 Squadron
Flight Lieutenant JAMES HAMPTON – Flight Engineer with 76 Squadron