"A WELCOME AT THE INN"

BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN

Autographed by George P. Birdsong, Vernon L. Grim, James A. Myl and Robert Simpson.

L/E of 600. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 30 3/4" x 23 1/2"

Price: $150

— SOLD OUT —


The U.S.A.A.F. bomber bases of W.W.II were situated in the heart of rural England. Surrounded by countryside and pretty villages, it took the crews little time to become 'regulars' at the nearest village inn, where traditionally there was Open House to American servicemen.

A few convivial hours at the pub after a gruelling mission provided a welcome escape from the rigors of combat flying. Today, 50 years on, most of those local pubs are still there, serving up that unique brand of British hospitality which is so cherished in the memories of the U.S.A.A.F. aircrews.

Never was the welcome at the inn more warmly appreciated than on Christmas Eve, 1944. General von Rundstedt had launched a massive offensive in the Ardennes, and the situation was critical. The Eighth Air Force was called upon to mount its largest single operation of the war, and on that day over 2000 American bombers climbed into the cold air and headed for the battlefields.

After fighting their way through to the target, neutralizing enemy airfields, and pounding highways and railroad tracks, the elated crews headed home only to find the gathering mists swirling around their bases. After landing and debriefing, they were in the mood to party down at the village inn. And they did!

In his newly released Christmas print "A Welcome at the Inn", Nicolas Trudgian has painted a wonderfully nostalgic rendering of B-17s returning over a Suffolk village on that memorable Christmas Eve. His painting will bring back nostalgic memories to thousands of American servicemen who spent Christmas away from home, so long ago.


THE SIGNATURES

Each print in Nicolas Trudgian 's Christmas 1996 limited edition A WELCOME AT THE INN is individually signed by four distinguished U.S.A.A.F. bomber pilots who flew the mighty B-17 Flying Fortress in Europe during World War II. Each print is also signed by the artist and numbered.

Colonel GEORGE P. BIRDSONG
George Birdsong arrived in England in the Fall of 1942 assigned to 323rd Squadron of the 91st B.G. 'The Ragged Irregulars'. He flew his first combat mission on 14th November 1942, flying his B-17 out of Bassingbourne. On 4th March 1943, George took part in the famous raid on Hamm, the 91st being the first group to attack a target on the Ruhr. His aircraft Delta Rebel #2 made claim to being the first U.S. bomber in World War II to complete 25 combat sorties.

Captain VERNON L. GRIM
After joining the service in 1942, Vernon's operational squadron in England was the 407 Sqn., 92nd B.G., based at Poddington, the oldest group in the ETO. Flying the B-17 he participated in many of the major raids over Germany, including 4 missions to Berlin, and in the D-Day operations in occupied Europe. Later, losing an engine over Hamburg, he was glad of the help from two P-38s who escorted him all the way back to England.

Captain JAMES A. MYL
Jim Myl joined the U.S.A.A.F. in 1942. Assigned to the 511th B.S., 351st B.G., he flew his first B-17 combat mission in June 1944. On 4th August he brought his badly-mauled B-17 safely home from Berlin, but three days later, returning from Munich, he was hit again. With his aircraft in flames, he and his crew bailed out into the North Sea, six miles from England. He and six survivors were rescued by an R.A.F. Air Sea Search launch. He completed his tour in just 72 operational days, the fastest tour in the 8th Air Force.

Major ROBERT SIMPSON
Signing up in June 1941 Robert Simpson served both in Europe and the South Pacific. Initially with the 42nd Sqn., 11th B.G., 7th Air Force in the South Pacific, his first landing in a B-17 was on a steel strip in a coconut grove. After participating in the bitter battles of the Solomons and at Guadalcanal, he transferred to Europe joining the 8th Air Force in England for the battle against Germany. During World War II he flew both the B-17 and B-24.