Query: James Edgar "Johnnie" Johnson Signed Spitfire Print

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Tremaine, Jun 1, 2009.

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  1. This might be one of the places to put this question. and we'd be grateful for any help. The question is, would a print purportedly signed by Johnnie Johnson (the highest scoring Western Allied pilot against Luftwaffe aircraft, thus becoming the British, and Western Allied flying ace, with the greatest number of victories in the European Theatre of World War II) be really worth £50.00 and how would we know it's genuine?

    In a local antiques emporium, there's print titled "RAF Sealand" and showing what it says is a Spitfire LF.16E TF-248 "DW-A"
    610 (County of Chester Squadron) Royal Auxiliary Air Force.

    The Print has at the bottom of it: (C) Dugald Cameron 1987 No.248
    Also on the print are the words "June 1956 Squadron prints Ltd. Glasgow."

    The emporium is selling the print as "Spitfire Print, signed by four pilots, including Johnnie Johnson, and there are four signatures including what appears to be Johnson's signature.

    The Print "is a bargain" they say, at £50.00. If this is a genuine piece and the signtures are genuine, our little group would buy it and donate it to a charity yet to be decided.
  2. Two oddities to start with. First, if it says 'Dougal' on the actual print, that's a surprise, since the artist who produces these items is called Dugald Cameron. Second, the Squadron Prints website suggests that the company was established in 1977, so a 1956 date is a bit strange too...


    However - Dugald Cameron and Squadron Prints certainly do special edition signed prints - http://www.squadronprints.com/signed.htm

    As you can see from the prices, a print signed by a VC (Bill Reid) goes for £50, and print 246 (not 248) fits the bill. It is there for £8, but that's in unsigned condition, of course. I think, but can't be sure, that Squadron Prints used to have signing sessions where they'd have some WW2 chaps autographing the various posters, and they may have done this with Johnson. Equally, someone may have obtained the signatures of Johnson and others at a dining-in night at Sealand (say for Battle of Britain day), or elsewhere.

    Johnson was CO of 610 during the Dieppe raid, so there is a tie-in there rather than a random signature applied to a mark of Spitfire he didn't actually fly with the squadron to the best of my knowledge.

    You can just about make out his signature on this print:


    And on this photo (from later in the war)


    The prices on the direct art site are indicative of the sort of prints that firm sells - Squadron Prints (with the very greatest respect to them - I have a couple hanging up in my office...) aren't quite in the same price league.
  3. This gets interesting, looking at Wikipedia: "with 616 Squadron forming part of the Tangmere Wing Johnson often found himself flying alongside the legendary Wing Commander Douglas Bader. Johnson was to fly various marks of the Supermarine Spitfire throughout the war and was undoubtedly one of that fighter's greatest exponents. Proving himself both a capable fighter pilot and excellent formation leader, Johnson opened his account by claiming a Bf 109 fighter in May 1941. Johnson took part in the 9 August 1941 mission in which Douglas Bader was lost over France. During the mission he destroyed a solitary Messerschmitt Bf 109."

    "by June 1942 Johnson was in command of 610 Squadron. Johnson led his squadron through Operation Jubilee the Allied amphibious assault on the port of Dieppe." So that would fit with the lettering on the Print.

    "In August 1939, Johnson was called up. His initial training took place at 22 EFTS, Cambridge, then moving to 5 FTS at Sealand before completing training at 7 OTU - RAF Hawarden in Wales." Another match there.
    Distinguished Service Order & Two Bars
    Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar
    Commander of the Order of the British Empire (1960 New Year Honours
    Companion in The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (1965 Queen's Birthday Honours)
    Légion d'honneur (France)
    Croix de Guerre (1940) with Palms (Belgium)
    Order of Léopold with Palms (Belgium)
    Distinguished Flying Cross (USA)
    Air Medal (USA)
    Legion of Merit (USA)

    Johnnie Johnson died in 2001, but was reputedly born in Leicestershire, and about three miles away from where I grew up. We are beginning to think that this print is genuine. If anyone has further info would they kindly let us know.


  4. Many thanks Archimedes. And a check of the print confirms the name "Dugald" Cameron and not Dougal. Our mistake for which we apologise. It looks like this is genuine :D and at £50.00 it could be a bargain indeed.
  5. Would suggest first step is to as Squadron Prints?

    Second, from thier current pricing of signed prints it appears £50 is top dollar for what they/is considered special. For JJ someone may pay more of course??? I know of some pr*tts who spent over 900 sobs on a green beret with a black hackle in it??????? Not "as worn by", just common or garden???????????

  6. A friend in Loughborough. a Mr Pitts, confirms on the phone that Johnson
    (appointed a Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Leicestershire and established the Johnnie Johnson Housing Trust in 1969) was born in Barrow Upon Soar, near Quorn. Mr Pitts met Johnson and is very interested in this Print.
  7. Many thanks, No.9
  8. "RAF Sealand Spitfire History"

    "TD248 is one of a batch of aircraft that formed the Air Ministry’s seventeenth order for Spitfires placed with Vickers Armstrong (Castle Bromwich) Ltd on 19 April 1944. It was released to service on 11 May 1945 and delivered to No 6 MU at Brize Norton on 16 May where it was prepared for service with 695 Squadron based at Bircham Newton in Norfolk with the codes 8Q-T. The Squadron relocated to Horsham St Faith (Norwich) in August 1945. The aircraft was withdrawn from service on 31 December 1947 when an inspection was carried out by 54MU based at Cambridge following unrecorded and substantial damage, it was eventually returned to service on 13 May 1948 with the codes 4M-E.

    In August 1951 TD248 was transferred to No 2 Civilian Anti Aircraft Co-operation Unit at Little Snoring, Norfolk. No 2 CAACU was operated by Marshalls of Cambridge and included calibration flights and target towing. In March 1953 the unit moved to Langham, Norfolk and in May 1954 TD248 was withdrawn from service and stored at 9MU RAF Cosford pending disposal. In October 1955 it was issued to No 610 Sqn RauxAF for static display at Hooton Park, Cheshire with the codes DW-A. It was subsequently allocated to the Air Training Corps at RAF Sealand where it remained until acquired by Historic Flying in 1988. The propeller was totally rebuilt with new blades and bearings and the Packard Merlin 266 engine zero timed. All the original systems parts are retained after being overhauled. The aircraft is fitted with wing tanks, a modern radio and a GPS.

    TD248 flew again in November 1992 in the striking silver and red livery of 41 Squadron Spitfire F21 that participated in the Blackpool Air races of 1948/49.

    The aircraft was sold in 2005 and the new owners had it re-sprayed in it's new colour scheme of 74 Squadron 2nd Tactical Air Force May 1945. It is operated by Spitfires Ltd. and maintained by the Aircraft Restoration Company."
    Source: http://bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=324087