RAF pictures in new home

A COLLECTION of paintings of RAF aircraft by Lincolnshire artist Gerard Bauer has gone on display at a former air base.

The RAF Collection of 15 paintings depict the progression of aircraft and their design, from the Sopwith Pup through to the Harrier.

They have gone on display to the public for the first time in many years at Hemswell Court, a hotel located in what was the Officers Mess at the former Hemswell RAF base.

The paintings were privately commissioned many years ago and are now in the custody of 31 Squadron Royal Air Force Association.

Hemswell Court director Shaun Lees said: “We’re very pleased to have received them and they will be here permanently.”

“We have put them all along the main corridor and we’ve had some good comments from guests about them.”

“It’s nice to see them displayed together.”

“We still hold reunions for 170 Squadron, which was based at RAF Hemswell during the Second World War.”

The owners of Hemswell Court are active partners in the Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire (AHL) partnership, which is funded by a Heritage Lottery Fund award of £436,000.

Brothers Tim and William Downing are proud that the RAF Collection has come to Hemswell Court, particularly as one of the former Commanding Officers of RAF Hemswell was a Flight Commander on 31 Squadron, making a very real historical link.

Mr Bauer is a keen military historian and holds a private pilot’s licence.

The two largest paintings in his RAF Collection commemorate the three fighter types used in the Second World War.

These were the Spitfire, Hurricane and Defiant, all of which were based with various units in Lincolnshire, and the Pathfinder Mosquito, which led the numerous bombing raids over Germany.

An AHL spokesman said: “The RAF Collection is not seen as a glorification of war, but as a celebration of peace and the advancement of aviation that helped to maintain that peace in a very troubled world.”

“Many people have already enjoyed these excellent oil paintings in their new and very appropriate surroundings at Hemswell Court, and it is hoped that many more will do so in the coming months.”

Twelve of the 15 paintings were used for a calendar in 1981 to raise funds for the publication of 31 Squadron RAF history First in the Indian Skies.

The same calendar was repeated for the 90th anniversary of the RAF and donated to the Battle of Britain Memorial flight in 2008.

Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire has also received funding from West Lindsey District Council, East Lindsey and North Kesteven district councils, and Lincolnshire Tourism.

The AHL spokesman added: “It is a unique partnership promoting the extensive aviation experience that is to be found in the county.”

“The partnership has its roots in a steering group initiated in 2004 by North Kesteven District Council, which looked at how best to provide an integrated, cohesive marketing and branding approach to aviation heritage.”