D-Day Patrol

Mark Postlethwaite





D-Day Patrol Mark Postlethwaite

AVM 'Johnnie' Johnson piloting his Supermarine Spitfire over the D-Day beaches

For many years, Mark Postlethwaite had a successful publishing relationship with Skyscapes Aviation Art, Chairman of which was none other than 'Johnnie Johnson' himself. As 'Johnnie' had been Mark's childhood hero he made the most of this opportunity to listen and talk to one of the greatest ever Fighter Pilots. This painting is just one of many inspired by these conversations.

In August 1939 Johnnie Johnson was called up into the RAF, and after training posted to No. 19 Squadron in the following August, though he was soon transferred to 616 Squadron at Coltishall in September 1940.

Proving himself both a capable fighter pilot and excellent formation leader, Johnson opened his account by claiming a Messerschmitt Bf-109 fighter in May 1941. Flying extensively through the summer fighter offensives he was quickly promoted and by June 1942 Johnson was in command of 610 squadron. Johnnie Johnson led his squadron through Operation Jubilee the Allied amphibious assault on the port of Dieppe. After shooting down a FW 190, Johnson had what he considered his most difficult combat of the war, embroiled in an exhausting and hectic dogfight with a single FW-190, and only managing to escape by power-diving through the AA barrage over the Allied destroyer screen. Returning to base Johnson was rebuked by West Malling wing leader Wing Commander Pat Jameson for his swearing over the radio.

In March 1943, now a Wing Commander, he took over the Canadian Wing stationed at RAF Kenley. Despite initial resistance to a British Wing Leader from his tough, obstinate Canadian charges, he quickly won them over with his sheer force of personality, the unit, now flying the Supermarine Spitfire Mk. IX, became one of the highest scoring fighter wings of the time. Johnson chose his radio call-sign at this time as 'Greycap'. During offensive sweeps over Europe and as escorts to the USAAF heavy bomber streams, he personally claimed 14 kills during the summer of 1943. Johnson's tour ended in September 1943, being given a desk job at No.11 Group Headquarters until March 1944, when he was put in charge of 144 (RCAF) Wing. With his 28th claim on 5 May 1944 Johnson became the highest scoring ace still on operations.

After D-Day in June 1944 Johnson added further to his tally, claiming another 10 aircraft shot down from March- July 1944. The Wing was the first to be stationed on French soil following the invasion. With their radius of action now far extended compared to the squadrons still in the UK, the Wing scored heavily through the summer. After the Normandy break-out, 144 Wing was disbanded, Johnson being given command of 127 Wing. In August 1944, while outrunning a flight of Messerschmitt Bf 109's, Johnson's Supermarine Spitfire IX was hit by enemy aircraft fire for the first and only time, taking a cannon shell in the right wing root. His 38th and last claim of the war was on 27 September 1944 over Nijmegen.

His wartime record was 515 sorties flown, 34 aircraft claimed destroyed with a further 7 shared destroyed, 3 probable destroyed, 10 damaged, and one shared destroyed on the ground. All his kills were fighters.



The Signed and Numbered Edition

The Edition is signed by the Artist Mark Postlethwaite and countersigned by Signed by AVM J E 'Johnnie' Johnson CB CBE DSO** DFC* DL RAF


Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 17" x 12" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.

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Signed and Numbered Print
UK £50.00 Edition Size - 500


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