Squadron Leader Ian Willoughby Bazalgette VC DFC over Senantes, France
August 4, 1944
Signed by Don Currie, Doug Curtis and Harold MacLeod
Commissioned by the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum
During the summer of 1944, Nazi V-1 flying bombs were striking England. While visiting his parents' home near London during his last leave, Ian Bazalgette had, together with his sister, huddled for hours under a metal table with a mattress on top of it as the V-1's came down around them.
Just weeks later, S/L Bazalgette, a Canadian flying with No. 635 Squadron RAF, was one of several “Pathfinders” tasked with marking the target for a Bomber Command attack on the V-1 storage facilities at Trossy St. Maximin, north of Paris. After the Master Bomber was put out of action and the Deputy Master Bomber was shot down, it was left to “Baz” to mark the target for the main force following behind. Despite the fact that his bomb-aimer was badly wounded, both starboard engines were knocked out, and the starboard wing had been set on fire, S/L Bazalgette pressed on to the target, marking and bombing it accurately.
The aircraft then went into a spin from which Baz was able to recover. Then the fuselage began to fill with fuel. Ten minutes later the port-inner engine seized and Baz ordered those crewmembers who were able, to abandon the aircraft. As they approached the French Village of Senantes, four of the airmen jumped and Baz prepared to attempt to land the flaming Lancaster on a single engine with the hope of saving the two injured crewmen still on board. Following a successful landing, the aircraft exploded killing S/L Bazalgette as well as F/L Ivan A. Hibbert and F/S Vernon V. Leeder.
The French Villagers hid Baz's remains from the Nazi's and later buried him in their churchyard. S/L Ian Willoughby Bazalgette was the only Albertan to be awarded the Victoria Cross during World War II, the citation concluding with, “His courage and devotion to duty were beyond praise.”
Each print is accompanied by a biography of Ian Bazalgette published by the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum.
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20x30 Canvas Giclee - Limited Edition of 85: $480.00
20x30 Canvas Artist Proof - Limited Edition of 10: $540.00
30x45 Canvas Giclee - Limited Edition of 25: $880.00
30x45 Canvas Artist Proof - Limited Edition of 5: $1100.00
32"x48" Original is in the collection of the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum
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Download Brochure of "Beyond Praise"
Letter from the Nanton Museum:
On behalf of the Nanton Lancaster Air Museum, I would like to express our appreciation for your splendid depiction of S/L Bazalgette's aircraft as he approached the end of the Victoria Cross Flight on August 4, 1944. It was most important to us that the archival information that we have obtained regarding the event, as well as the information we received recently from an eye-witness, was accurately incorporated in the depiction. It was a pleasure to work with you over the number of months that we cooperated on this project. We thank you for your patience as we discussed the innumerable details that ensured a result that we can both be very proud of. The painting will hang in the entrance lobby of our museum. It will attract the attention of tens of thousands each year and inspire them to honour and learn more about the only Albertan to be awarded the Victoria Cross during the Second World War.
Dave Dave Birrell, Director Nanton Lancaster Air Museum
P/O Roderick Harold MacLeod DFC
Harold joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in March 1942. He trained at No. 5 Bombing and Gunnery School at Dafoe, Saskatchewan and after further training in the U.K. served with No. 103 and No. 576 Squadrons. His first three operations were to Berlin during late 1943. While with No. 576, he was grounded for medical reasons and during this time his crew was shot down, the only survivor being the bomb aimer that had taken his place.
He was then posted to No. 101 Squadron where he made ten very dangerous trips with various crews prior to taking Pathfinder training. Upon completing the course, Harold was assigned to No. 635 Squadron where he joined W/C LeGood’s crew and completed 36 operations including eighteen aboard the Lancaster that was given the “F2-T” designation after Bazalgette’s “F2-T Tommy” (ND-811) failed to return on August 4th, 1944. P/O Macleod completed a total of 49 operations and was awarded the DFC, the citation referring to, “many successful operations against the enemy in which he has displayed high skill, fortitude and devotion to duty.”
F/O Donald MacKay Currie:
Following training as a navigator at No. 2 AOS in Edmonton, Alberta, Don volunteered to join the Pathfinder Force following his Advanced Flying Unit Training. He was accepted and upon completing PFF training at RAF Warboys, was posted to No. 635 Squadron. His first operation was to Hamburg on 31 March, 1945 and he completed five more before the war ended.
F/O Robert Douglas Curtis DFC:
After joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in February 1941, Doug trained at No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald, Manitoba. He then served with No. 6 Squadron RCAF based on the Queen Charlotte Islands where he flew Stranraers looking for Japanese submarines.
Doug was then posted overseas and began serving as an air gunner with No. 9 Squadron RAF in June 1943 and later served with No. 97 Squadron. In March 44 his Flight, together with a Flight from No. 35 Squadron, was posted to RAF Downham Market to form No. 635 Squadron. On May 19, 1944 Doug’s crew flew Lancaster ND-811, “F2-T Tommy,” to what was referred to only as a “Special Target.” This was the same aircraft that Baz flew on the Victoria Cross Flight ten weeks later.
Doug’s crew completed their second tour in May 1944, after flying a total of 47 operations. A letter on file with the RAF states that F/O Curtis, “is the rear gunner of a crew which have many very successful sorties to their credit, and who have been attacked several times by enemy aircraft but have always successfully pressed home their attacks, frequently in the face of the heaviest opposition. There is no doubt that Warrant Officer Curtis’s vigilance and coolness under fire have, on more than one occasion, been the means of enabling his crew to reach the peak of efficiency which they have now attained.”