Captain Cuthbert Orde and his portraits

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Back in the days of the Battle of Britain, war artist Cuthbert Orde was commisioned by the Air Ministry (specifically by Harald Peake, the coloured oil painting here) to draw the heroes of Fighter Command. He actually visited 609 more than once - as can be seen by some of the later pilots. Here are the majority of known sketches of sometime 609 members made by him, including an oil of Roland Beamont (that should be in colour) and an additional picture of 'Pip' Barran drawn by Dougie Andrews, a Squadron Auxiliary, postwar. It also includes 3 groundcrew.

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In order, they should be:

Harald Peake
Noel ‘Aggy’ Le Chevalier Agazarian
Michael Appleby
John ‘Joe’ Atkinson DFC
Phillip ‘Pip’ Barran
Roland ‘Bee’ Beamont DSO* DFC*
John ‘Bishop’ Bisdee DFC
David Crook DFC
Horace ‘George’ Darley DSO
Idwal Davies DFC
Charles Detal DFC
John ‘Scruffy / Dogs’ Dundas DFC*
George ‘Moose’ Evans
Lodewijck-Emmanuel ‘Manu’ Geerts DFC
Frank Howell DFC*
Raymond ‘Cheval’ Lallemand DFC*
Peter Raw DFC
Paul Richey DFC*
S/Ldr Michael ‘Robbie’ Robinson DSO DFC
Lawrence ‘Pinkie’ Stark DFC* AFC
Jonathan 'Johnny' Wells DFC
Frank ‘Ziggy’ Ziegler (the IO)
John Dundas (again)
(2 erks, who I can't ID right now)
Alan Rabbidge (F/Sgt)
Alfred 'Keith/Skeets' Ogilvie.

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Last 4. I gather Geoff Stevens was drawn too. He was with 609 for a while in early 1943, having flown Hurri's in the Battle of Britain.

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Not in order then. Oh well.

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Something really powerful about those portraits. Thanks for posting them

Dan

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There are a couple of books with Orde's in - I have one and have seen one - but I would love to see someone produce one with them all in. I think they have a real timeless quality about them.

Missed these three.

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Most definately. It makes them bigger then life in some way. Thanks for posting the additional images.

I know I've seen some he did of some RAAF pilots in the Far East too but I can't for the life of me remember where I saw them.

Dan

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A few years ago the RAF Museum had an exhibition of his drawings in their gallery. Four spellbinding walls and I was walking round on my own.
mmitch.

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Squadron Leader A V ("GUS") GOWERS - ORDE portait

As his nephew, I have the original portrait of "Gus" Gowers - and as with all the others on this site it is a powerful image. If anyone does want to reproduce it for a collection they'd be most welcome!

:)

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It's a quiet Sunday morning and gazing at those images elicits a powerful feeling of heroes all. What a way to wake up, much better than a cup of coffee! Thanks for those.

And that ebay item has been withdrawn, and I was going to bid as I want one of those just as a reminder of the men who fought for our freedom so bravely.

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This post really stopped me in my tracks this Sunday morning. Those serene and steady young faces gaze quite calmly out at you. Thanks for this nice post Snapper ;)

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Very nice posting. I have a small book: 'Some Of The Few', John P.M. Reid, 25 portraits in there. Cost me all of five bob back in 1964.

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Orde Drawings

Alan Rabbidge was my Father. Does anyone know how I can get a copy of the original

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Keith "Skeets" Ogilivie

With the Battle of Britian ceremonies coming up this weekend I apologize for bringing up this old thread but the image of "Skeet's" made me think of my father.
My father flew aircrew with "Skeets" after the war so have heard some amazing stories "tall or not" of their flying escapades. Including lining up to land a Dak on the aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent and flying the rail lines of the North Shore and Labrador Railroad low enough to give the engineer of a steam engine quite a start.
Interestingly enough Skeet's son also Keith was a friend of Mike Potter of Vintage Wings Canada when he was flying gliders in the early 70's. Check out the story Gliders, Spitfires, and Golf on the VWoC site: http://www.vintagewings.ca/page?s=63&lang=en-CA

From Pat McAdam's book Unbelievable Canadian War Stories

"Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Spitfire pilot Keith 'Skeets' Ogilvie waited shivering in the cold and dark of a March night in 1944 to make his bid for freedom from Stalag Luft 111 in Sagan, 6 kilometres southeast of Berlin.

Snow still crusted the ground, and the temperature was below freezing. The pilot's nerves were on edge as he watched the prisoners ahead of him shuffle through the tunnel, code-named "Harry", one of three escape tunnels designed by Canadian Flight Lieutenant Wally Floody. The prisoners passed in front of Skeets... 71, 72, 73... He remembered that Floody had been unexpectedly transferred to another camp the previous night, and his thoughts drifted for a moment...74, 75...

Number 75! It was his turn! He crouched down and inched his way slowly through the dark, dank tunnel, trying desperately to control his breathing. Empty jam tins had been telescoped together and periodically positioned along the tunnel to make ventilation pipes. As he emerged from the tunnel, a shout stopped him cold. The German guards had seen the steam rising from the escape hole outside the wire. Gunfire shattered the night. In a sudden moment, Skeets's hopes and dreams were dashed.

The flying ace was recaptured almost immediately, as were 71 of the 75 escapees. Soon after, 50 of the would-be escapees were executed by firing squad in nearby woods. Skeets Ogilvie's name was not on that list of 50, and he went through life wondering why he had been spared.

Keith 'Skeets" Ogilvie was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). After the war, he stayed in the RCAF and served as a squadron leader in Trenton, Centralia, Rockcliffe, and Downsview. He retired in April 1996 and passed away May 6, 1998."

My dad passed away Sept. 11, 2005 sure wish I had the chance to hear some more stories.

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Interested to see this old thread. A book is being produced. I will bring this thread to the authors attention. Andy Saunders

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this thread ought to be a sticky... :)

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Dan,
I would be interested to know why Orde was in the Far East why/how he sketched a portrait of my father, S/Ldr (G) J H Chrystall, who was in India (5 squadron) and later in Ceylon as A S O Force 136 (SOE) Kandy. The portrait is dated 14 January 1944 (he was promoted to the rank of W/Cdr in November of that year). I have attached the portrait.

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