Winter Ops

Gerald Coulson





Winter Ops Gerald Coulson

Up to 1942 Bomber Command operations were beset by many problems. The means they had to accurately pinpoint the target and assault it were totally lacking. in fact their Commander - in - Chief. Air Marshal Arthur Harris later wrote 'It was glaringly obvious that the average crew in average weather could not find their way to the target'. Between February and August 1942 an effort was made to rectify this through the development of a specialized target finding and target marking force, which became known as the Pathfinders. Activated on August 15th this new group was formed under the leadership of their AOC Air Commodore Don Bennett, himself a very experienced pre war pilot with exceptional navigational skills.

The aircrews of No, 8 (PFF) Group were tasked with marking out the designated targets but the formation of this group was initially opposed by Harris. He felt that the ranks of his 'Main Force! could be weakened if a high number of experienced and highly skilled crews were taken by this specialist unit, leading to a lessening of skills within the other bomber groups. He agreed however for an alternative scheme whereby complete units were assigned to the 'Pathfinder Force' and the stage was then set for what was to become the 'Main Offensive' of Bomber Command.

The first four Squadrons - Nos. 7 (Stirlings), 35 (Halifax), 83 (Lancaster) and 156 (Welllngtons) - were based at a clutch of airfields between Cambridge and Huntingdon. In the absence of any specialist 'Target Markers' the crews were initially forced to operate using standard flares and the early raids produced variable results, with cloud cover often proving the main obstacle in accurate marking. However during the winter of 1942 the introduction of the ground guided marking system, OBOE, marked a quantum leap in accurate target marking and by mid 1943 Pathfinder techniques had been developed for all forms of weather conditions, including nights when complete overcast existed. Pathfinder crews used a combination of personal skill and technical equipment, such as H2S to locate their targets. Often flying against overwhelming odds and in. appalling conditions they transformed the performance of a bomber force that in 1941 was dropping almost half its bombs on open countryside.

This painting in Gerald Coulson's Tribute to Bomber Command depicts Lancaster Bombers of No.8 (PFF) Group returning late after a gruelling operation over Berlin. It is Christmas 1943 and the winter landscape reflects the early morning sunrise as the weary crews approach the safety of their Cambridgeshire base. Produced in support of the RAF Benevolent Fund this outstanding painting is dedicated to all those who flew with the Pathfinder Force and each print is personally countersigned by prominent aircrew.

Gerald Coulson is one of the worlds most highly regarded Aviation Artists and has truly excelled himself with this exceptional painting, once again proving that he is a master in his field, His ability to combine the mood and feeling of the cold winter landscape with the technical accuracy and movement of the mighty bomber is second to none. Add to this original signatures of genuine Pathfinders, and this truly historic print will be in great demand as a highly sought after and collectable edition - a perfect companion to the previous two releases - 'A Lincolnshire Sunset 1944' and 'Alone At Dawn',




500 prints with FIVE signatures

Squadron Leader Scrivener, Norman DSO DFC AE
Flight Lieutenant Petrie-Andrews, John DFC DFM
Wing Commander Wright, Jim DFC
Flight Lieutenant Woolley, Dennis DFC DFM
Wing Commander Rodley, Ernest DSO DFC AFC AE


50 prints with NINE signatures. All of the above plus -

Warrant Officer Brennan, M 'Ben' DFM AFM
Flight Lieutenant Balcombe, Derek DFC
Group Captain South, Gerry DSO DFC
WO Wilcox, Bill DFM


40 prints with FOURTEEN signatures. Issued with pencil drawing "Mosquito"

Squadron Leader Scrivener, Norman DSO DFC AE
Flight Lieutenant Petrie-Andrews, John DFC DFM
Wing Commander Wright, Jim DFC
Flight Lieutenant Woolley, Dennis DFC DFM
Wing Commander Rodley, Ernest DSO DFC AFC AE
Warrant Officer Brennan, M 'Ben' DFM AFM
Flight Lieutenant Balcombe, Derek DFC
Group Captain South, Gerry DSO DFC
WO Wilcox, Bill DFM. Air Commodore Sismore Ted DSO DFC AFC AE

Companion Print Additionally signed by -

Squadron Leader Bob Wadsworth DSO DFC
Squadron Leader Ron Curtiss DFC DSO
Group Captain Geoffrey Wormersley DSO DFC
Flight Lieutenant Bertie Boulter DFC

Companion print "Mosquito" Gerald Coulson
Companion print "Mosquito"

Matching numbered certificate of authenticity included.

Overall Print Size 29 3/4"x 24 1/4" (inches) Printed in lightfast inks on acid free archival paper.


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Signed and Numbered Print
UK £180.00
Edition Size - 500



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An edition of identical prints, numbered sequentially and individually signed by the artist, having a stated limit to the quantity in the edition. Following publication the printing plates are destroyed. Almost all the aviation art and aircraft prints featured on this website are authenticated with the original signatures of distinguished military personnel.

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