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The only prints we now have left are a few signed by Vic Hodgkinson DFC or Ted Shute. Please email us before purchasing and we will give you an update if they are still available

Sunderland Aircraft taking off in Plymouth harbour with RAF launch

'With Throttles Wide Open'

The Presentation Print
and the story of the picture

This print is one of a limited edition of 250. There are very few left, some of which have interesting signatures, please contact us if you want more detail. The print is a lithographic print and the normal size is approximately 24.5 x 17.5 inches. As it is a lithographic print it cannot be made to your specification, but

  • The print is signed personally by Michael once he is happy with the quality
  • It is a numbered Limited edition
  • The print comes with a Certificate of Authenticity
  • It is accompanied by the exceptional story behind it so you can entertain the friends to whom you show it - see below.
  • The print is flat packed to make it easier for framers. Unless you are outside the UK in which case it is sent in a roll for additional security. Michael normally completes your print and despatches it to you within two working days.

An email newsletter tells you which prints are rare. Typically it features one print and tells the story behind it. It tells collectors the latest painting Michael is working on and the latest print he is producing. It describes where Michael's paintings are being exhibited and selects a charity print supporting farmers, lifeboats, dartmoor ponies or hospice charities to show how that print is making a difference. The newsletter is free and you can unsubscribe at any time. Please click on the link to be kept in touch with Michael's work.

The Story of the Painting

The coxswain of the RAF pinnace has checked that the take off run across Plymouth Sound is clear. As he sweeps in off the wing tip of the Sunderland the signal is flashed and the pilot pushes his throttles wide open, the four Pegasus engines roar as the flying boat surges forward. The coxswain tucks his launch in just out of the billowing slipstream and thunders forward - two thoroughbreds in a welter of spray.

The painting depicts the scene in May 1943. The Sunderland Mk III of 10 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force was later in action, captained by Flight Lieutenant Rossiter. It attacked a submarine U465 with eight depth charges - leaving it circling and trailing oil until it slowly sank.

The 60ft GP Pinnace is operating in its role as a safety boat. The powerful Triple Perkins diesels drive it forward at upward of 15 knots in the wake of the Sunderland; if the heavily laden aircraft fails to lift off, or an engine fails, then the salty crew of the RAF marine branch are on hand to provide immediate assistance.

The ancient round tower of RAF Mountbatten was built to defend the entrance to the Cattewater and has been a familiar landmark to seafarers since 1660. Sea planes were first trialled in 1913 then based here in 1917, and were a familiar site to the inhabitants of Plymouth sweeping across the waters of the Sound. Following the end of the Second World War the flying boats departed but Mountbatten remained the base for Air Sea Rescue and for Marine Service Launches. They carried out target towing and trained aircrew in the skills of survival at sea.

It was a vital task to save aircrew downed in the sea and the Marine branch of the Royal Air Force provided crews and launches for Air Sea Rescue around our shores and abroad. Their craft were capable of high speeds, and were operated to their limits even in the worst of weathers, undertaking many an audacious rescue by plucking their charges from the waves under the very guns of the enemy. The Marine Section served an equally essential role in supporting the Flying Boat Squadrons throughout the World. They were the MT section, but on water, refueling, rearming the aircraft, ferrying ground crew and aircrew around the base, laying flare paths, towing gunnery targets and providing crash safety boats.

After WW1 the RAF inherited ex Royal Navy launches of rugged design suitable for harbour work amongst the armoured hulls of battleships but unsuited to work with delicate sea planes. The RAF therefore developed its own launches - including powerful high speed hard-chine boats with planing hulls designed to rescue downed aircrew from the open sea, General Purpose Pinnaces designed to undertake almost any Marine Service task and refueling tankers. They also developed the Seaplane Tender. It was trialled at RAF Mountbatten by Aircraftsman Shaw, better known as Lawrence of Arabia.


If you are not delighted with the print post it back to us and we will refund your complete outlay with no questions asked. If the print is damaged in transit then contact us and we will replace it.


Michael's Limited edition works of art tend to sell out and we regularly get people searching for sold out prints so ensure you order your print before it sells out.


The only prints we now have left are a few signed by Vic Hodgkinson DFC or Ted Shute. Please email us before purchasing and we will give you an update on what there is still available - the price is more expensive than the standard ones at £67 plus £6 post and packing. We will arrange secure payment by email when you contact us.



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