JS(CC)79d 60th Anniversary of the Battle of France cover with artwork by Tony Theobald showing Fairey Battles of No 12 Squadron on 12 May 1940 over the Albert Canal, Belgium, while Hawker Hurricanes provide top cover to engage any enemy fighters. The RAF was ordered to destroy a vital bridge, which was being used by the enemy, and five Fairey Battle bombers were despatched with Flying Officer Garland leading the attack. They met an inferno of anti-aircraft fire, but the mission was accomplished, due to the expert leadership of Flying Officer Garland and the coolness and resource of his navigator Thomas Gray. Only one bomber managed to get back to base, the leading aircraft and three others did not return for which Garland and Gray were awarded posthumous Victoria Crosses. The medal featured on the cover is the French Croix de Guerre which was awarded to some of the RAF aircrew that took part.
The cover bears a Monserrat stamp showing a Hurricane cancelled on 22 May 2000, the First Day of Issue.
Hand signed by Squadron Leader Rex Wheeldon AFC
200 Signed, Numbered and Certified
Squadron Leader Rex Wheeldon AFC, who was a Fairey Battle pilot with No 12 Squadron Advanced Air Strike Force (AASF). Having survived ten operations he returned with the squadron to the UK in June 1940. He completed a further four bombing operations flying Battles before the squadron re-equipped with Wellingtons in November 1940. He left the squadron in July 1941 having completed his first tour of operations. He then became an instructor at the Beam Approach Flight until November 1943, when he was posted to the Signals Development Unit until the end of the war.