Aeronautical Miscellaneous
Stock No. 5135
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Limited Edition Print signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Read V.C - Click for the bigger picture

Limited Edition Print signed by Flight Lieutenant Bill Read V.C

We have been fortunate to purchase four limited edition prints which we are listing today, all published by ‘Legends’(UK) in 1989. Each is signed in pencil by the artist J.G.Keek and the subject, in this case Flight Lieutenant Bill Read V.C. William Reid was born on 21 December 1921 and died 28 November 2001 was a Scottish recipient of the award. Reid was a 21-year-old acting Flight Lieutenant serving in 61 Squadron when he took part in the raid on Düsseldorf which led to the award of his VC. On the night of 3 November 1943, on the way to Düsseldorf, the windscreen of Flight Lieutenant Reid's Lancaster serial LM360 was shattered by fire from a Messerschmitt Bf 110 and the gun turrets and cockpit badly damaged. Saying nothing of his multiple injuries, he continued on his operation and soon afterwards the bomber was attacked again by an FW 190. His navigator was killed and the wireless operator fatally wounded. He was wounded again, as was the flight engineer, while the Lancaster received more serious damage with the starboard part of the tail plane being shot off. He decided to press on to the target, rather than turn back. Reid subsequently claimed that his main reason for carrying on was that turning back would have involved flying through or across the following bomber stream, with a real danger of mid-air collision. He reached the target, released the bombs, and only then set course for home. On the way back to Syerston, he saw the searchlights of RAF Shipdham, a USAAF-operated base in Norfolk. Despite being wounded and suffering from loss of blood, Reid succeeded in landing his plane - though the undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft slid along the runway. The wireless operator subsequently died in Shipdham's medical centre. Reid was awarded the VC on 14 December 1943. A part of his citation reads: “Wounded in two attacks, without oxygen, suffering severely from cold, his navigator dead, his wireless operator fatally wounded, his aircraft crippled and defenceless, Flight Lieutenant Reid showed superb courage and leadership in penetrating a further 200 miles into enemy territory to attack one of the most strongly defended targets in Germany, every additional mile increasing the hazards of the long and perilous journey home. His tenacity and devotion to duty were beyond praise”. When the Victoria Cross awarded to Flight Lieutenant Bill Reid was put up for sale in 2009 it sold for £348, 000 setting a new world record for the highest price paid for a Victoria Cross awarded to a Briton-or I should say a Scot! Our print is signed by the artist and Bill Read and is numbered 38 of a limited edition of 1000. This print (and the others we have purchased) came sealed in acetate and we have left them as such to protect them. So the actual image quality is better than that shown in our listing. In addition to the pencil image of Reid the print also carries the 61 Squadron crest top right with the motto below ‘Per Puram Tonates.’ This print is a large size at 24” x 16” (60 cm x 40 cm) and would benefit from being framed and glazed. The print is not faded and the original Bill Read pencil signature is strong. The edge of the mount has a couple of tiny marks on it but these in no way detract from a fine print that clearly can never be repeated so grab it whilst you can!