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HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor.- Military Art Company Com
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HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor.

HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor.

Royal Navy carrier Illustrious in Grand Harbour, Malta.

One available only - this was a companion print to a larger print.
AMAZING VALUE! - The value of the signatures on this item is in excess of the price of the print itself!
Item Code : RT0004HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor. - This Edition
PRINTSigned limited edition of 250 prints.

Drake, Billy
Crosley, Mike
Twiss, Peter
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : £140
All prices on our website are displayed in British Pounds Sterling

Other editions of this item : HMS Illustrious by Robert Taylor. RT0004
Only one artist proofs edition available.

Drake, Billy
Crosley, Mike
Twiss, Peter
+ Artist : Robert Taylor

Signature(s) value alone : £140
General descriptions of types of editions :

Signatures on this item
*The value given for each signature has been calculated by us based on the historical significance and rarity of the signature. Values of many pilot signatures have risen in recent years and will likely continue to rise as they become more and more rare.

The signature of Commander Mike Crosley DSC* Royal Navy (deceased)

Commander Mike Crosley DSC* Royal Navy (deceased)
*Signature Value : £35

Robert Michael Crosley was born on February 24 1920 , Mike Crosley was a Metropolitan Police constable (a reserved occupation) when war broke out, but volunteered on the day of the Fleet Air Arm strike on Taranto, November 11 1940. Fleet Air Arm Ace Mike Crosley joined the carrier HMS Eagle in late 1941, one of four FAA pilots flying Sea Hurricanes in defence of the Malta convoys, On June 12 he was on alert on the deck of HMS Eagle. After two hours strapped in his cockpit, he was expecting to stand down when he heard the klaxon sound. Within a few moments he was airborne, being directed by radar to an enemy aircraft; and when his flight leader turned back with engine trouble, Crosley decided to pursue the enemy alone. He closed until the wingspan of the three-engined Italian bomber filled his gunsight, then pressed the trigger. At that moment he noted sparks coming from the underside of the bomber – it was the enemy returning fire. Then smoke burst from the Italians engines and its wingtip came dangerously close as it dived towards the sea. Crosley followed, determined to finish it off; but as he emerged from the cloud he saw the bomber floating on the water with a yellow life raft beside it. The next day Crosley shot down a twin-engined German fighter-bomber. He wove in and out of the Germans slipstream, and when the target filled his gunsight he fired one long burst which hit the aircrafts wing, "sparking like firecrackers". In August 1942, during Operation Pedestal, he was lucky to escape with his life after the carrier was torpedoed and sunk by U73. She capsized within 7 minutes. He later joined HMS Biter flying Sea Hurricanes, in Operation Torch. and on November 8 he shot down two Vichy French fighters in a dogfight over the airfield of La Senia, near Oran. He was awarded his first DSC. Mike Crosley was then selected to pass on his experience to new fighter pilots at HMS Dipper, near Yeovilton, where he flew the Royal Navys version of the Spitfire, known as the Seafire. By D-Day Crosley had joined 886 Naval Air Squadron, flying Seafires from Lee-on-the-Solent. His role was to direct the fire of the heavy ships which were bombarding the German defences. On the second day of the Allied landings he shot down a German Bf109, which crashed 15 miles south-west of Caen, and two days later damaged an Fw190 which he chased in a dogfight through the skies over Normandy. After D-Day Mike Crossley was appointed to command 880 Naval Air Squadron; this was based in Orkney as part of 30 Naval Air Wing, which embarked in the fleet carrier Implacable and carried out a series of attacks on German shipping in the fjords of Norway. By the time the war ended 880 Squadron and Implacable were prosecuting the war in the Pacific, striking at the Japanese mainland. Crosley was mentioned in despatches, and in August 1945 received a Bar to his DSC. he finished the war in the Far East, with 5.5 victories. After the war Mike Crosley joined No 6 Empire Test Pilots Course, and left the Navy to test Shorts flying boats under development in Belfast. On the outbreak of the Korean War he rejoined the Navy, helping to train new pilots and flying 75 missions over Korea from the carrier Ocean. He wrote pilots notes for a range of aircraft, which he flew to their limits, and was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Services in the Air. In 1954-55 he was commanding officer of 813 Squadron, flying the Wyvern from the new HMS Eagle. In 1958 Crosley was promoted commander and returned to test flying at Boscombe Down, making the first deck landings of the Buccaneer low-level bomber. Mike Crosley logged 2,818 flying hours in 147 different types of aircraft and made 415 deck landings. Throughout the war he kept extensive diaries, on which he based two books: They Gave Me a Seafire (1986) and In Harms Way (1995). Sadly Mike Crosley died at the age of 90 on the 20th June 2010.

The signature of Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* (deceased)

Group Captain Billy Drake DSO DFC* (deceased)
*Signature Value : £50

Joined the R.A.F. in 1936. His first posting was to 1 squadron flying Furies then Hurricanes and first saw action over France in the Spring of 1940 and was awarded his first DFC by the end of the year. As a Squadron Leader he was sent to West Africa to command 128 Squadron. 1942 saw his commanding 112 squadron in North Africa, in July saw an immediate BAR to his DFC and in December an immediate DSO. Posted to Malta as Wing Commander he won a US DFC in 1943. Back in the UK he now was flying Typhoons in the lead up to D-Day. With Pete Brothers he was sent to the States to attend the US Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. After the war he continued in the R.A.F. serving in Japan, Malaya, Singapore, Switzerland and his final posting as Group Captain RAF Chivenor, Devon. Retired in July 1963. Going to Portugal where he ran a Bar and Restaurant and dealing in Real Estate. In his flying career he accounted for more than 24 enemy aircraft. Sadly, Billy Drake passed away on 28th August 2011.

The signature of Lieutenant Peter Twiss OBE DSC (deceased)

Lieutenant Peter Twiss OBE DSC (deceased)
*Signature Value : £55

Peter Twiss was born on the 23rd of July,1921 in Lindfield, West Sussex. Peter Twiss spent much of his early days on a farm near Salisbury. When war broke out later in 1939 he enlisted as a Naval Airman Second Class in the Fleet Air Arm, qualifying as a pilot after initial training at 14 Elementary and Reserve Flying Training School at Castle Bromwich on Tiger Moths and then went on to fly Hawker Harts and Fairey Battles. Operational training followed at RNAS Yeovilton flying Blackburn Rocs and Skuas and Fairey Swordfish followed by a period at the Army School of Co-operation at Andover on Bristol Blenheims on twin conversion before being posted to the Orkneys to 771 Squadron. By then he had amassed 292 hours on 12 types and attained the rank of Midshipman. Peter Twiss flew with 807 Squadron FAA from the carrier HMS Furious during the Malta convoys, and later took part in the invasion of North Africa. Best known as a post-war test pilot, particularly of the Fairey Delta FD2 with which he set a World Absolute Speed Record, Peter Twiss also saw distinguished service as a Fleet Air Arm pilot. Flying Fulmars, he was with HMS Ark Royal when she was sunk in November 1941 and then served with his squadron on both Argus and Furious for several of the vital Malta convoys with Force H. He formed the first Seafire Squadron for Operation Torch and was awarded a Bar to his DSC. Returning to the UK, he was sent to the Night Fighter Development Unit. During the war Peter began to get opportunities to fly new aircraft and he started his test flying in America late 1944 and had his first opportunity to fly a jet aircraft. By now he had attained the rank of Lieutenant-Commander. In 1945 he attended the Empire Test Pilots School at Cranfield and then went to the Naval Squadron at the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment based at Boscombe Down. In 1946 he joined Fairey Aviation as a test pilot. Lieutenant-Commander Peter Twiss test flew many of the Fairey aircraft including the Fairey Primer, Fairey Firefly, Fairey Gannet, the Fairey FD1, and the Fairey Rotadyne compound helicopter and in 1947 he entered the Lympne Air flying a Firefly IV winning the high speed race with 306 mph. His achievement in breaking the world air speed record in 1956 in the Fairey Delta 2 was recognised by receiving the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service and an OBE. By 1959 Peter was Chief Test for Fairey Aviation when the company was sold to Westland Aircraft and he decided to retire from test flying. He had then amassed 4,500 hours in 148 different types of aircraft. Sadly, Peter Twiss passed away on 31st August 2011.

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