Virtual Museum - Paintings and Posters

"Big Beautiful Doll" - Oil painting by Australian artist Spike Wademan. Measures 760mm x 1220mm.  Painted in 1998.

"Wairarapa Wildcat" - Oil painting by New Zealand artist Ron Fulstow.  Commissioned for cover of book Air-to-Air by Chris Rudge.  Painting depicts New Zealand ace Geoff Fisken shooting down a Japanese A6M near Guadalcanal in P-40 NZ3072.  Measures 400mm x 560mm.  Painted in 2003.

"Spitfire Supreme" - Print from an oil painting by John Young.  Print area (excluding white border) measures 705 mm by 550 mm.  This print features five pencil signatures from famous Spitfire pilots, these being:
Details of claims has been taken from Aces High by Christopher Shores and Clive Williams.

"Spitfire Mk I of 54 Squadron RAF 1940 (Colin Gray)" original drawing by Ron Fulstow and signed by Fulstow and Group Captain Colin Gray, DSO, DFC** .  This drawing was signed by Gray at the opening of the Wanaka-based New Zealand Fighter Pilot's Museum.  Drawing measures 380mm x 550mm.  Gray was:
Gray was born in Christchurch on 9 November 1914.  He joined 54 Squadron in November 1939. On 25 May 1940, after escorting Swordfish aircraft to dive-bomb Gravelines, the Squadron met a force of Bf 109's and 110's. In the action that followed, Gray destroyed a 109 before his Spitfire was badly hit. With the port aileron damaged, his aircraft  flipped over into a steep dive and it was only levelled with great difficulty. Gray headed home with no airspeed indicator, guns, flaps or brakes. He used  the emergency CO2 bottle to lower his undercarriage and landed safely on his second attempt.

On July 13 1940, Gray shot down a Bf 109 near Calais. Over the next seven weeks he claimed 14 enemy aircraft destroyed, shared another and probably destroyed or damaged a further fourteen and was awarded the DFC in mid-August.  In early September, 54 Squadron flew north for a period of rest. Gray went briefly to 43 Squadron but returned to 54 Squadron in January 1941 to replace Alan Deere (another New Zealand fighter ace) as a flight commander.  The unit returned south in late February and Gray remained until mid-June 1941 before he was posted to No.1 Squadron as a flight commander. On the 16 June, he shared in the destruction of an He 59 floatplane and on 22 August shot down a Bf 109. Gray was awarded a Bar to his DFC on September 20 1940, being by then credited with seventeen confirmed victories.

Gray took command of 616 Squadron in late August 1941. In February 1942, he was posted to staff duties. After several short flying appointments in late 1942, he was posted to North Africa in December to take command of 81 Squadron, the first unit to fly Spitfire IX's in the Middle East.  With this mark, he quickly claimed more victories. When the North African campaign ended on 13 May 1943, Gray was awarded the DSO, after destroying a further five enemy aircraft and probably destroyed or damaged four others.  After promotion to Wing Commander, Gray was appointed to lead 322 Wing moving to Malta to prepare for the invasion of Sicily.  On 14 June 1943, he shot down a Bf 109.  Then, on the 17th, he shot down a Macchi 202, followed by a Bf109 on 10 July, invasion day.   The Wing moved to Lentini East airfield on Sicily on the 19th and, six days later, Gray led the Wing on a sweep of the Milazzo area, on Sicily's north-east coast, where it was reported that German transports would be landing supplies on the beach at Cap Milazzo.  As the Spitfires arrived, the Ju 52's were circling to land. Five escorting enemy fighters were shot down in the action and, of the twenty-one transports destroyed, Gray claimed two. They were to be his final victories.  On return to Britain, he was awarded a second Bar to the DFC.

Gray retired from the RAF in March 1961 as a Group Captain and returned to live in New Zealand, where he died at Waikanae on 1 August 1995.

Ref. No. 1169. FRAMED ORIGINAL PENCIL DRAWING OF MOSQUITO BY RON FULTOW. Number two of five originals. Depicts Mosquito EG-J of No. 487 Squadron. Drawing is signed by PO D. R. “Bob” Fowler, who was a Pilot Officer flying EG-J on the famous Amiens Prison raid:

"In March 1944, a combined force of RAF, RAAF, RNZAF and RCAF aircrew flew one of the most hazardous daylight bombing raids of WWII.  In atrocious weather their Mosquitoes and Typhoons flew an ultra-low level mission to ‘spring’ French Resistance fighters from the Amiens prison, then under control of the Gestapo.

"With snow still falling, nineteen Mosquitoes – eighteen Mk VI fighter-bombers of 140 Wing and one Mk IV PRU took-off from RAF Hunsdon, Hertfordshire, at 1055 hours on 18 February 1944. Their job was the breach the walls of the Amiens Prison and free Resistance Leaders leading up to D-Day - the Allied invasion of Europe.

"The first wave, led by Wing Commander ‘Black’ Smith, were three minutes late into the attack. Sweeping up the straight Amiens-Albert road, they split into two sections of three aircraft, to attack the Eastern and Northern outer walls. Cutting their speed to prevent damage to the bombs on impact, the first section each flew in at ten feet above the ground, releasing their bombs exactly on the eastern perimeter wall followed by a frantic manoeuvre to get their aircraft over and around the prison building. The second section followed in immediately, P/O Merv Darrell and P/O Bob Fowler attacking the northern outer walls, breaching them twice.

"Following the initial attack were five Mosquitoes of 464 Squadron, and a sixth Mosquito from 487 piloted by G/C P C Pickard.  Led by W/C Bob Iredale, their task was to breach the main building and destroy the guard’s quarters at the east and west ends of the prison.  It was intended that the cell doors would be sprung open by concussion from the bomb blasts, allowing the prisoners to escape.

"One of the RAF’s most celebrated airmen was overall Commander of the raid, G/C P C Pick Pickard.  He was last over the prison – the exact moment captured in Gerald Coulson’s remarkable painting – just seconds before the delay fuse bombs exploded. 

"Resistance Leader Dominique Ponchardier sent this message to London in March 1944:

"I thank you in the name of our comrades for the bombardment of the prison.  We were not able to save all.  Thanks to the admirable precision of the attack the first bomb blew in nearly all doors and 150 prisoners escaped with the help of the civilian population.  Of theses, 12 were to be have been shot on February 19.  In addition, 37 prisoners were killed, some of them by German machine-guns, and 50 Germans were also killed."

Ref. No. 865.  BRASS STATUE OF PILOT.  Measures 210 mm high.  Figure is solid brass and is attached to a brass base which has the Royal Air Force “RAF’ emblem on it.  Detail includes goggles, flying helmet, life preserver, Irvin Suit, gloves, parachute and 1939 pattern flying boots. 

Framed print called "Independence Day" by Ron Fulstow depicting F/O Geoff Fisken shooting down a Mitsubishi Zero near the Russell Islands (Solomon Islands) on 4 July 1943 in a Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk "Wairarapa Wildcat".  Print signed by the artist and Geoff Fisken, who was the highest scoring Commonwealth pilot against the Japanese.

Ref. No. 1171. FRAMED POSTER (REPRODUCTION) OF BATTLE OF BRITAIN PILOTS. Poster reads: “Never was so much owed by so many to so few – Prime Minister.”

Ref. No.13. POPULAR FLYING POSTER, MARCH 1936. Poster produced to advertise April edition of "Popular Flying". Wording includes, "Free, this beautiful art plate inside. Popular Flying. April Number. The national aviation magazine. Out now 6d". On the bottom are the words, "On sale March 20th, Printed in England, C Arthur Pearson Ltd". Centre illustration shows an Armstrong-Whitworth "Atlanta" named "Amalthea" with the registration G-ABTG. The aircraft also has "Royal Mail" written on it and the print is signed by Howard Leigh. Above the illustration are the words "Southward Bound" and below "An Imperial Airways Air Liner Approaching Cape Town" plus "Supplement to Popular Flying, April 1936".  Mounted on hardboard with cardboard border and glass frame.  Poster measures 510mm x 750mm. 

Ref. No. 1170. FRAMED PRINT OF ZEROS BY RON FULSTOW. Description reads: “Mitsubishi A6M3 “Zero” Model 22. From carrier “Zuikaku”. Land based at Bougainville, South Pacific 1943. From an original pencil drawing by R Fulstow 1995.
Ref. No. 953. IDENTIFICATION POSTER FOR A6M ZERO.  July 1942. Original WWII poster manufactured in the United States. Wording at top reads: “Japanese Fighter Type Zero (“0”).”  Shows top view, side view, silhouettes, position of guns and unprotected fuel tanks, plus performance data.  At bottom of poster it reads: “Identification Poster .  . No. 3 7/42 D.I.T.-A.A.F.- Identification Unit. From Data currently available. Restricted. U.S. Government Printing Office; 1942-O-477937.”

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