Flt Lt Alan Pollock in 1959 while serving at RAF Sylt

Flt Lt Alan Pollock in 1959 while serving at RAF Sylt

Take one Royal Air Force pilot who flew through Tower Bridge in a Hawker Hunter fighter aircraft, and add:

153 Prints

153 Prints

306 Extraordinary People

306 Extraordinary People

Thousands of Incredible Stories

Thousands of Incredible Stories

30 Years

30 Years

30 Nationalities

30 Nationalities

80,000 Miles

80,000 Miles

Lots of Tea and Memories

Lots of Tea & Memories

and a Pencil

...and a pencil

And serve:

Battle of Britain VC by Robert Taylor

Battle of Britain VC - by Robert Taylor, 1940

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.

James Johnson Johnnie Johnson 9 March 1915 – 30 January 2001 Air Vice-Marshal James E ‘Johnnie’ JOHNSON CB CBE DSO** DFC* (c. 38+ e/a) Battle of Britain 'The real "Top Gun"
– the RAF’s top scoring fighter pilot'
Airforces Royal Air Force
Mike Calvert 6 March 1913 – 26 November 1998 Brigadier J M 'Mike’ CALVERT DSO*, Cdt Légion d’Honneur, CdeG avec Palme of France & Belgium, Ordre de Leopold II, King Haakon VII Medal of Liberty, USA Silver Star, MiD, MICE, MA
"Leading attacks from the front earned him the nickname ‘Mad Mike’ - a tremendous leader, quite careless of his own danger" British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Constance Babington Smith 15 October 1912 – 31 July 2000 Constance BABINGTON-SMITH 'some sort of tube out of which
a rocket could be squirted'
Airforces Royal Air Force
Micky Burn Michael C Burn 11 December 1912 – 3 September 2010 Mr. Michael Clive ‘Micky’ BURN, MC
“I saved her life in the war and later
she became Audrey Hepburn”
British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Lettice Curtis Lettice Curtis 1 February, 1915 - 21 July, 2014 Miss Lettice CURTIS ATA Battle of Britain 'the most remarkable woman pilot of the Second World War' Airforces Royal Air Force (Air Transport Auxiliary) Harold Balfour Harold Balfour 1 November, 1897 - 21 September, 1988 Harold Balfour, First Lord BALFOUR of Inchrye PC MC* (9 e/a)
'a leader of exceptional dash and ability' British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces World War 1 Battle of Britain British Army (Royal Flying Corps) & Royal Air Force
Jeannie Rousseau 1 April 1919 – 23 August 2017 Mme. Jeannie Rousseau (Vicomtesse de CLARENS) King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom, CIA Agency Seal Medal, Légion d’Honneur (& Grand Officer Medal), Croix de Guerre, Resistance Medal ''one of the most remarkable young women of her generation' Resistance David Lloyd-Owen 10 October 1917 – 5 April 2001 Major General David LLOYD-OWEN, CB, DSO, OBE, MC
"Danger has some kind of satanic appeal to me. I am drawn towards it in an octopus-like grip of fear." British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
John BRIDGE 5 February 1915 – 14 December 2006 Lieutenant Commander John BRIDGE GC GM* RNVR Defused hundreds of depth charges which had killed many: "I was the only one diving. My longest spell was 20 hours." Naval & Naval Air Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
Allan C Wilmot Allan C Wilmot RN 'They learned that you don't mess with West Indians' Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces Royal Navy & Royal Air Force Naval & Naval Air Peter TOWNSEND 5 February 1915 – 14 December 2006 Group Captain Peter W TOWNSEND CVO DSO DFC* Cdr of the Order of Orange Nassau, Légion d’Honneur (11+ e/a) ''he displayed unflagging zeal and leadership" Battle of Britain Royal Air Force Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces Ganju Lama VC 22 July 1924 – 1 July 2000 Ganju Lama VC MM
Gurkha VC: 'Not until he had killed or wounded them all...did he allow himself to be taken back to the Regimental Aid Post to have his wounds dressed." British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Indian Army & Indian Army
John Patrick KENNEALLY 15 March 1921 – 27 September 2000 Company Sergeant Major John Patrick KENNEALLY VC
'Soldier in the Irish Guards who twice scattered Afrika Korps attackers, firing his Bren gun from the hip as he charged.' British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Chrystable 'Jane' Leighton-Porter 11 April 1913 – 6 December 2000 Mrs Chrystabel ‘Jane’ LEIGHTON-PORTER Model for the morale-boosting ‘Jane’ cartoon: ‘worth at least two divisions’
“Britain’s Secret Weapon” (Churchill)"
Civilians and War Production Civilian
Jack KAGAN 1929 - 2016 Mr. Jack KAGAN BEM "one of the last to get out before the tunnel was discovered, he survived as one of 30,000 Jews who fought the Nazis in the forests" Resistance IAN FRASER VC 18 December 1920 – 1 September 2008 Lieutenant Commander Ian E FRASER VC DSC RD* JP ‘The last and most audacious underwater attack of the Second World War’ Naval & Naval Air Royal Navy
Winston 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.

As Group Captain Sir Douglas Bader said in a notable 1965 interview, this war involved “the lot of us”:

‘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.
RAF in Egypt 1942

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…

PLACES

Abyssinia | 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

ACTIONS

Aerial 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.”

Michael Rondot on “The Tower Bridge Hunter Incident”, ITV, RAF 100th Anniversary

‘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...

James Johnson Johnnie Johnson 9 March 1915 – 30 January 2001 Air Vice-Marshal James E ‘Johnnie’ JOHNSON CB CBE DSO** DFC* (c. 38+ e/a) Battle of Britain 'The real "Top Gun"
– the RAF’s top scoring fighter pilot'
Airforces Royal Air Force
Mike Calvert 6 March 1913 – 26 November 1998 Brigadier J M 'Mike’ CALVERT DSO*, Cdt Légion d’Honneur, CdeG avec Palme of France & Belgium, Ordre de Leopold II, King Haakon VII Medal of Liberty, USA Silver Star, MiD, MICE, MA
"Leading attacks from the front earned him the nickname ‘Mad Mike’ - a tremendous leader, quite careless of his own danger" British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Constance Babington Smith 15 October 1912 – 31 July 2000 Constance BABINGTON-SMITH 'some sort of tube out of which
a rocket could be squirted'
Airforces Royal Air Force
Micky Burn Michael C Burn 11 December 1912 – 3 September 2010 Mr. Michael Clive ‘Micky’ BURN, MC
“I saved her life in the war and later
she became Audrey Hepburn”
British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Lettice Curtis Lettice Curtis 1 February, 1915 - 21 July, 2014 Miss Lettice CURTIS ATA Battle of Britain 'the most remarkable woman pilot of the Second World War' Airforces Royal Air Force (Air Transport Auxiliary) Harold Balfour Harold Balfour 1 November, 1897 - 21 September, 1988 Harold Balfour, First Lord BALFOUR of Inchrye PC MC* (9 e/a)
'a leader of exceptional dash and ability' British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces World War 1 Battle of Britain British Army (Royal Flying Corps) & Royal Air Force
Jeannie Rousseau 1 April 1919 – 23 August 2017 Mme. Jeannie Rousseau (Vicomtesse de CLARENS) King's Medal for Service in the Cause of Freedom, CIA Agency Seal Medal, Légion d’Honneur (& Grand Officer Medal), Croix de Guerre, Resistance Medal ''one of the most remarkable young women of her generation' Resistance David Lloyd-Owen 10 October 1917 – 5 April 2001 Major General David LLOYD-OWEN, CB, DSO, OBE, MC
"Danger has some kind of satanic appeal to me. I am drawn towards it in an octopus-like grip of fear." British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
John BRIDGE 5 February 1915 – 14 December 2006 Lieutenant Commander John BRIDGE GC GM* RNVR Defused hundreds of depth charges which had killed many: "I was the only one diving. My longest spell was 20 hours." Naval & Naval Air Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve
Allan C Wilmot Allan C Wilmot RN 'They learned that you don't mess with West Indians' Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces Royal Navy & Royal Air Force Naval & Naval Air Peter TOWNSEND 5 February 1915 – 14 December 2006 Group Captain Peter W TOWNSEND CVO DSO DFC* Cdr of the Order of Orange Nassau, Légion d’Honneur (11+ e/a) ''he displayed unflagging zeal and leadership" Battle of Britain Royal Air Force Royal Air Force and Commonwealth & Allied Airforces Ganju Lama VC 22 July 1924 – 1 July 2000 Ganju Lama VC MM
Gurkha VC: 'Not until he had killed or wounded them all...did he allow himself to be taken back to the Regimental Aid Post to have his wounds dressed." British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Indian Army & Indian Army
John Patrick KENNEALLY 15 March 1921 – 27 September 2000 Company Sergeant Major John Patrick KENNEALLY VC
'Soldier in the Irish Guards who twice scattered Afrika Korps attackers, firing his Bren gun from the hip as he charged.' British Army and Commonwealth & Allied Armies British Army
Chrystable 'Jane' Leighton-Porter 11 April 1913 – 6 December 2000 Mrs Chrystabel ‘Jane’ LEIGHTON-PORTER Model for the morale-boosting ‘Jane’ cartoon: ‘worth at least two divisions’
“Britain’s Secret Weapon” (Churchill)"
Civilians and War Production Civilian
Jack KAGAN 1929 - 2016 Mr. Jack KAGAN BEM "one of the last to get out before the tunnel was discovered, he survived as one of 30,000 Jews who fought the Nazis in the forests" Resistance IAN FRASER VC 18 December 1920 – 1 September 2008 Lieutenant Commander Ian E FRASER VC DSC RD* JP ‘The last and most audacious underwater attack of the Second World War’ Naval & Naval Air Royal Navy

Relive these incredible stories through our Signatories archives

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