"RETURN TO DUXFORD - WINTER OF '44"

BY ROBERT TAYLOR

Autographed by Urban L. Drew, Royce W. Priest, Duerr H. Schuh, Donald Cummings, Robert P. Winks and Wilbur R. Scheible.

L/E of 1000. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size:32 1/2" x 23 1/2"

Price: $295-$500

— SOLD OUT —
(except Artist's Proofs)


The winter of 1944-5 was colder than usual in southern England. The snows, usually confined to Scotland and the north, had drifted south, and by mid-winter the midlands and the southern counties had taken on a fairytale appearance. Even in this time of war it was difficult for all those servicemen stationed far from home, not to fall under the magical spell of this enchanted winter wonderland.

Even the roar of the Merlin engines seemed quieter, more melodious, absorbed by nature's snowy cloak. Skimming the church spires of the villages and towns as they headed for home from combat, peering from their frosty cockpits for familiar landmarks disguised now by winter's dusting, the returning crews of the Eighth Air Force could be excused for a few romantic thoughts of home and loved ones far away.

Recalling Christmas of that memorable year, Robert Taylor has painted a magnificent scene for his 1996 Christmas Edition: Flying low over the picturesque village of Thaxted, the P-51D Mustangs of the 78th Fighter Group return to Duxford after a tiring eight hour escort mission. With dusk approaching, low on fuel, the fighters have about 20 miles to run. Catching the festive mood, the pilots have dropped to tree-top height to take in the spectacular countryside as they scurry back to base and some well-earned celebrations.

Joining into the spirit of this joyous painting, six P-51 fighter pilots who flew the arduous combat missions in the European Theater, have each individually signed every print in Robert's Christmas edition. With just 1000 prints (950 L/E and 50 artist's proofs) available for worldwide release, this emotive issue will be in great demand by aviation art connoisseurs and collectors, and enthusiasts of that legendary fighter aircraft of World War II, the P-51 Mustang. The print is destined to become one of this great artist's most collectable.


THE SIGNATURES

Each print in Robert Taylor's new limited edition Return to Duxford - Winter of '44 is individually signed by six fighter Aces who flew the P-51 Mustang with the Eighth Air Force in Europe during the period depicted in Robert's specially painted 1996 Christmas print edition.

Major URBAN L. DREW
After joining the USAAF in 1942, Ben Drew became an instructor on P-51s before being assigned to the 361st Fighter Group, arriving in England in May, 1944. During his 75 missions tour, Ben had the distinction of shooting down two Me262 jets on October 7, 1944. In 1945 he was assigned to 414th Fighter Group flying P-47s at Iwo Jima.

Colonel ROYCE W. PRIEST
"Deacon" Priest arrived in England in May 1944, assigned to the 355th Fighter Group. Flying the P-51, combat missions comprised long-range escort, and intensive low-level ground attack. In August he landed behind the lines to pick up his C.O. downed by Ack-Ack fire. Within 6 months of his arrival in Europe he became an Ace, taking his fifth Luftwaffe fighter.

Colonel DUERR H. SCHUH
Duerr Schuh flew his first combat mission in July 1944. Flying 61 missions in the P-51 with the 352nd Fighter Group, he took part in the Battle of the Bulge. The day following Christmas, 1944, while covering a bombing run, he jumped a group of Me109s, shooting down three in a single action. He ended the war an Ace.

Colonel DONALD CUMMINGS
Joining the USAAF in 1941, Don saw action in England, Africa, Italy, taking part in the Battle of Angio, and served in occupied Germany after the war ended. First with the 12th, then the 8th Air Force he flew a total of 150 combat missions, and is one of only two fighter Aces to shoot down two Me262 jets on a single mission.

Captain ROBERT P. WINKS
Robert Winks joined the service in 1942 serving initially with the 364th, then the 357th Fighter Squadrons, 8th Air Force. His year long European tour took in the Battle of the Bulge, Arnhem, and Berlin during which time he flew 69 combat missions. He flew his P-51D "Trusty Rusty" and also the "C5-W".

Colonel WILBUR R. SCHEIBLE
After joining the USAAF in 1941, Wilbur completed flight training in 1942. Assigned to the 361st Fighter Squadron, 356th Fighter Group based at Martlesham Heath, England, he flew P47s and P-51s, primarily engaged in bomber escort work. During his combat career he had single, double, and triple air victories, ending his war an Ace with 6 air victories.


950 signed and numbered $295 (SOLD OUT)
50 Artist's Proofs $500