CLEARING SKIES - Thorpe Abbotts, Winter 1945
by Robert Taylor
THE WORLD’S PREMIER AVIATION ARTIST PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN BOMBER CREWS OF THE US 8th AIR FORCE
As for the American bomber crews, they were the bravest of the brave, and I know that I am speaking for my own bomber crews when I pay this tribute.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris
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.
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.
The Limited Edition
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:
- Captain Robert Shoens
- First Lieutenant JOHN CLARK
- First Lieutenant James Rasmussen
The Collector's Edition & Artist Proofs
Adding great historical credence, these memorable ten signature editions are additionally signed by a further seven B-17 aircrew who flew with the 100th BG:
- Lieutenant Colonel Henry 'Hank' Cervantes
- Major John 'Lucky' Luckadoo
- Staff Sergeant Lewis Payne
- Staff Sergeant Albert Arreola
- Staff Sergeant Albert Freitas
- Staff Sergeant Lewis Herron
- Staff Sergeant Joe Urice
The Remarque Editions
With ELEVEN signatures!
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:
- Master Sergeant Dewey Christopher
- 35.5 x 21.25 inches
- Release Date:
Editions that feature original and unique artwork, such as Remarque, Tribute and matted editions, are specifically hand-crafted to order. As a result, our normal delivery policies do not apply to these items but we’ll be sure to update you as soon as your drawing is complete. If you have any particular request for your remarque drawing – such as specific aircraft markings – please ask when placing your order and we will do our best to accommodate.
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