Cover to mark the 60th Anniversary of the first 1,000 Bomber Raid and as an opportunity to include the Avro Manchester in this series we have produced yet another striking commemorative cover. The top half of the artwork shows Lancasters of No 83 Squadron setting course for the intended target of Cologne, while the lower half of the artwork shows Flying Officer Leslie Manser's Avro Manchester struggling home on just one engine, unfortunately the aircraft crashed in Belgium before he could cross the channel, however his bravery in saving the lives of his crew at the cost of his own resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross.
Only three 1,000 Bomber Raids were carried out, as the concept of getting 1,000 bombers into the air was quite a feat and all resources were used including the OTUs, the first raid resulted in 898 aircraft bombing Cologne with the loss of 41 aircraft.
The cover bears a definitive stamp cancelled with BPFS postmark dated the 30 May 2002, which shows Manser's Aircraft Manchester 'VN-D' and commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the 1,000 Bomber Raids.
Furthermore the covers have been flown in Lancaster PA474 of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight from RAF Coningsby on a local sortie over RAF Scampton, the former home of No 83 Squadron and Skellingthorpe where No 50 Squadron were based.
Hand signed by Squadron Leader Maurice Smith DFC* AE
300 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Maurice Smith took part in all three 1,000 Bomber Raids as the pilot of Lancaster R5619, 'OL-S' (shown on cover artwork). Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in July 1941 for completing his first tour with No 44 Squadron flying Hampdens, he was posted to No 83 Squadron, then equipped with Manchesters in December 1941. He was awarded an immediate Bar in April 1942 following his bravery during 'the Channel Dash' by the German Battleships in attempting to draw fire away from a Fleet Air Arm Fairey Swordfish making a torpedo run, by flying his Manchester alongside and above during the engagement.