A chance to own a unique piece of history
Take one Royal Air Force pilot who flew through Tower Bridge in a Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft, and add:
306 Extraordinary People
Thousands of Incredible Stories
Lots of Tea & Memories
...and a pencil
This print is from the rare 1984 Limited Edition of Battle of Britain VC, by renowned aviation artist Robert Taylor, and part of a set bought by Alan Pollock for his charitable projects, which include co-founding the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum and the War Widows' Pension Campaign.
Each of his prints - 153 in all - was individually hand-signed in pencil for service charities over a period of 30 years by 306 truly extraordinary people. (Yes, that is 46,818 autographs in all, give or take).
And at their age, that meant an afternoon's effort - fortified by quantities of tea & biscuits.
But these men and women weren't slackers.
They included at least 14 VCs, 3 GCs, 90 DSOs, 16 DSCs, 13 MCs, 99 DFCs (UK & US), a Medal of Honor, 8 Légions d’Honeur, 13 Croix de Guerre, one CIA Agency Seal Medal and much, much more. (To really get the picture, you'll have to read some stories).
The greatest generation, even in their senectitude.
To mark the 80th Anniversary of Battle of Britain Day, twelve of these historic prints are being released. A small number of other such Editions, commemorating Armies, Navies, Civilians and Resistance, alongside a number of special auctions to be held in Allied Nations, are also planned. (Alan Pollock has reserved the rest as personal donations).
At least half of all this project's income will go to military benevolent charities.
– the RAF’s top scoring fighter pilot'
a rocket could be squirted'
she became Audrey Hepburn”
“Britain’s Secret Weapon” (Churchill)"
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat"Winston Churchill on May 13th, 1940
From exceptional gallantry - the 306 signatories have thousands of awards between them - to those quietly contributing on the Home Front, including a remarkable Shadwell fireman, this was a victory for which all sacrificed.
‘The Battle of Britain was not won by the Royal Air Force, it was won by everyone in this country, by the people on the ground who took the bombing, the fire services, and all these auxiliary services who fought the flames, who didn’t give up…it’s much easier to go into the battle and fight than it is to sit on the ground and take it and watch you and me doing the fighting, you see what I mean? So, don’t make any mistake, this Battle of Britain is the lot of us, it’s not just the Royal Air Force.’
It’s a geographic mosaic of the war, too – an extraordinary roll call of time and place.
They made their wartime contributions in Armies and as airmen; in Navies and at night; in the War Cabinet, as Chindits, in Arctic Convoys, on gliders, as guerrillas and resistance fighters; in jungles and as Pathfinders, on the Kindertransport and in tanks; aboard Liberty ships and Midget Submarines, developing Radar, and running VIP flights… almost all the elements of this global war are represented.
From soldiers and civilians to sailors and scientists, the range and depth of the hundreds of signatories on each print is remarkable. There are WWII legends of air, sea, and land, as well as a handful who saw action in The Great War – including Lord Balfour and Freddie West, VC.
WW2 Female factory workers.
From Battles to Campaigns, Raids to Resistance, and Operations to Actions, the Signatories were part of the pathways to Allied Victory…
PLACESAbyssinia | Africa | El Alamein | Algeria | Amiens | Antwerp | Anzio | Arakan | Ardennes | Arnhem | Arras | Assam | Athens | The Atlantic | Augsburg | Australia | Austria | Balkans | Belgium | Belorussia | Bengal (Bay of) | Berlin | Biscay (Bay of) | Britain | Bruneval | Brussels | Burma | Caen | Calabria | Canada | Cape Engano | Cape Esperance | Cape Matapan | Cassino | Caucasus | Ceylon | China | Chindwin River | Cologne | Coral Sea | Crete | Cyrenaica | Czechoslovakia | Dieppe | Duisberg | Dunkirk | Eastern Front | Egypt | Elbe | Ethiopia & Eritrea | Far East | Falaise | Flensburg | Foggia | Formosa | France | Gilbert Islands | Germany | Greece | Hamburg | Hiroshima | Imphal & Kohima | India | Iraq | Irrawaddy | Italy | Japan | Java | Kasserine & Longstop Ridge | Keren | Kursk | Leningrad | Leyte | Libya | Luneberg Heath | Luzon | Malaya | Malta | Matapan | Midway | Murmansk | Narvik | Netherlands | New Guinea | New Zealand | Nigeria | Normandy | North Cape | North Solomons | Norway | Nuremburg | Okinawa | Pacific | Pearl Harbor | Peenemunde | Pegasus Bridge | Philippines | Poland | Rhine | Rhodes | River Plate | Ruhr | Russia | St. Nazaire | Saipan | Salerno | Sicily | Singapore | Somaliland | South Africa | Stalingrad | Syria | Taranto | Tobruk | United Kingdom | Ukraine | United States | Vågsøy | Walcheren | Warsaw | Western Approaches | Western Desert | Yugoslavia
ACTIONSAerial Reconnaissance | Agent Insertion | Airborne Interception | Aircraft Servicing Under Fire | Air Raids & Air Raid Precautions | Air Sea Rescue | Army/Air Operations (Joint) | Altmark (Boarding) | Amiens (Mosquito Operation) | Amphibious & Combined Operations | Amphibious Tanks | Anti-Aircraft Defence | Anti-Tank | Anzio (Battle of) | Arakan (Campaign) | Arctic (Convoys) | Ardennes (offensive) | Arnhem (Battle of) | Arras (Counterattack) | Asdic (Anti-Submarine Detection) | Atlantic (Battle of The) | Atomic Weapons (Development) | Augsburg (Raid) | Austria (Liberation) | Avalanche (Operation) | Balkans (Campaign, Liberation) | Battleaxe (Operation) | Bismarck | Blitzkrieg | Blitz | Bodenplatte (Operation) | Bombardment (Spotting) | Bomb Disposal | Booby Traps | Bougainville (Campaign) | Britain (Battle of) | Bruneval (Raid) | The Bulge (Battle of) | Burma (Campaign) | Caucasus (Battle of the) | Ceylon (Raid) | China (Resistance) | Chindwin (River Crossing) | Chindits | Civil Defence (See Special Entry) | Cologne (1000 Bomber Raid) | Combined Bomber offensive | Combined Operations | Compass (Operation) | Concentration Camp (Special Medical Teams) | Counter Kamikaze (Operations) | Coral Sea (Battle of) | D-Day | Dieppe (Raid) | Dunkirk | Eastern Front | Elbe (River Crossing) | Enigma | Experimental Establishments | Falaise Pocket (Battle of) | Foggia (Bombing) | Formosa (Air Battle) | France (Resistance) | Gilbert Islands (Campaign) | Gliders (Pilot Regiment, Towing, Operations) | Gothic Line | Grand Slam & Tallboy (Earthquake Bombs) | Greece (Resistance) | Groundcrew | Guerilla Operations | Hiroshima | The Hump (Airlift, China) | Imphal & Kohima (Battle of) | Irrawaddy River (Operations) | Java (Battle of) | Kasserine & Longstop Ridge | Keren (Battle of) | Kindertransport | Kursk (Battle of) | Leningrad (Siege of, Battle of) | Leyte (Battle of) | Luneberg Heath & Flensburg (Surrenders) | Luzon (Fall & Re-Conquest) | Manna (Operation) | Cape Matapan (Battle of) | Midget Submarines | Midway (Battle of) | Minelaying & Minesweeping | Monte Cassino (Battle of) | Murmansk (Run) | Narvik (Battles of) | Netherlands (Resistance) | Night Fighting | Night Intrusion | Normandy (Landings) | North Cape (Battle of) | Norway (Campaign, Resistance) | Nuremburg (Raid) | Okinawa (Battle of) | Pathfinding | Pearl Harbor | Peenemunde (Raid) | Pegasus Bridge (Capture) | Philippine Sea (Battle of) | Phoney War (Sitzkrieg) | Poland (Resistance) | Prisoners of War (Pows) | Piats Projector (Infantry, Anti-Tank Weapons) | Psychological Warfare | Radar | Rapido River (Battle of) | Rhine (Crossings) | Rhodes (Battle of) | River Plate (Battle of) | Ruhr (Air & Land Battles) | St. Nazaire (Raid) | Saipan (Battle of) | Salerno (Landings) | Search & Strike | ‘Shetland Bus’ Service | Sicily (Invasion) | Special Forces (Sas & Sbs) | Special Operations Executive (SOE) | Stalingrad (Siege of) | Strategic Bombing offensive | Taranto (Battle of) | Target Marking | Tirpitz | Tobruk (Siege of) | Torpedo (Operations) | Tunisia (Campaign) | U-Boats (Campaign) | V-Weapons | Vaagso (Raids) | VIP Flights (Royal, Churchill &c.;) | Walcheren (Assault) | War Cabinet | War office | Warsaw (Uprising) | Winter Line (Aka Gustav Line, Breaking of) | X-Craft Midget Submarines (Operations) | Yugoslavia (Operations, Partisans)
“Only Pollock could have done it, would have done it, did do it.”
‘And so he peeled off from his flight, pretended to have lost comms, and took his Hunter jet along the Thames where he tipped his wings to the War Memorials, buzzed the House of Commons with a mini-sonic boom – they were on their feet talking about aircraft noise at the time – because he felt that “they should be reminded that we had an Air Force”, and then, on sighting Tower Bridge, realized it made a deliciously attractive target to fly through, the act of which became legendary.’
This project is a work in progress.
Why not start with our Battle of Britain Formation (we'll add more to each service branch every week), browse the full list, or take a look at other completed biographies (they'll have pictures next to them)? Or, if you're being 'scrambled' for other important stuff, sign up to our Newsletter (bottom left) and we'll keep you in the loop...
Relive these incredible stories through our Signatories archives