To mark the 60th Anniversary of the start of the Battle of the Hamburg we have produced a commemorative cover to mark these raids and also to mark the first operational use of 'window' which saved many of the Allied aircraft and aircrew by confusing the German radar sets used by the Luftwaffe Nightfighters and radar controlled flak guns.
The artwork shows Lancasters of No 12 Squadron dropping their bombs over the targets whilst also dropping 'window' from both the flare chute and the bomb bay. Bomber Command went on to carry out four raids on Hamburg within 10 days and the first two were followed by daylight raids by the USAAF in a effort to disrupt one of German's largest cities and vital navy dockyard. The second raid was to be the night that a fierce firestorm broke out caused by high temperatures and low humidity in a very built up area, added to which 'window' had completely confused the German radar and the bombing was accurate and concentrated by a Bomber force of nearly 800 aircraft, the result being an important Allied victory.
Each cover bears a British Forces Post Office special handstamp, dated the 25 July 2003, which shows a Lancaster and commemorates the 60th Anniversary of the Battle of Hamburg. The covers have been double flown firstly in VC 10 XR807 of No 10 Squadron, which is named after Garland VC and Gray VC who won their Victoria Crosses with No 12 Squadron in May 1940 flying Fairey Battles in France. The covers were then reflown in Lancaster PA 474 over Wickenby airfield the wartime base of No 12 Squadron.
This is a pair of covers one signed by Snell DFC (Pilot) and the other by Les Heath (Flt Eng)
Hand signed by Squadron Leader Walter Snell DFC & Flight Lieutenant Les Heath
150 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Snell joined No 12 Squadron on the 22 June 1943 and took part in the raid on Hamburg on the 24/25 July 1943 flying Lancaster 'PH-V'. He took part in the second and third Hamburg raids flying Lancaster 'PH-S' on the 27/28 July and 29/30 July 1943. He completed his tour in January 1944 and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. This variant is sold as a pair with a fifth variant signed by Flight Lieutenant Les Heath, who was Snell's Flight Engineer for 29 operations including the three Hamburg raids listed above.