Decorations & Awards
Many of our Signatories have Titles, Campaign and Service Medals, and Civilian Awards – in addition to their awards for gallantry. As our Signature Print Ensembles (see later) relate to military service we do not provide details of these awards, other than Knighthoods.
The only exception is Lord Leonard Cheshire who we refer to as ‘Group Captain’ as that is how he preferred to be addressed. Leonard Cheshire VC was created Baron Cheshire of Woodhall in 1991. In addition to his Victoria Cross, three DSO’s and DFC, he held a number of other WWII Service and Civilian awards.
Another example is Air Vice Marshal Johnnie Johnson who, in addition to his three DSO’s and two DFC’s was awarded the Legion d’Honneur (France), Croix du Guerre, and three US awards: Legion of Merit, DFC, and Air Medal. He was also made CB (Companion of the Order of the Bath), CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), and DL (Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Liecestershire). As with all other British signature contributors, we only show Johnnie Johnson’s British wartime decorations for gallantry – being his DSO** and DFC* awards.
Like Johnnie Johnson, every single contributor to this unique collection of rare and historic signatures was decorated for gallantry, however, many hold other prestigious decorations and awards which are not listed in this website for the reason mentioned above.
Unlike RAF awards for gallantry, American Pilots do not abbreviate their decorations after their name however for the purpose of our American Combat Pilot Ensembles we have abbreviated their decorations as follows:
NC – Navy Cross
DSC – Distinguished Service Order
DSM – Distinguished Service Medal
AFC – Air Force Cross
SS – Silver Star
DFC – Distinguished Flying Cross
Every one of the Biographies featured in this website was written first-hand by the Pilot or Aircrew contributing their signature for this historic assignment. In a few cases such as Air Vice Marshal Don Bennett and Group Captain ‘Willie’ Tait, their biographies are written in the ‘third person’ (probably due to modesty), however be assured they were indeed contributed by the men themselves.
None of the biographies were written by me, or some ghostwriter, journalist or copywriter seeking to make up a good story, so what you read is a truthful account of what these intrepid aviators personally experienced.
Here is what Captain John Purdy, Chairman of the American Fighter Aces Museum Foundation had to say:
“What makes this series of memoirs (biographies) so fascinating is that each has been individually written by the man himself. Thus each personal biography gives a glimpse into the character of the man in a way that reflects his personality and individualism”
The biography of each WWII pilot, Navigator, air-gunner and other contributing aircrew is here for you to read at the click of a button. Take a few minutes to look at these fascinating and unique biographies – and so long as you are an Autograph Collectors Club Member, check out the often-hair-raising Combat Reports – they will give you a flavor of what it was like to go to war in the air in WWII.
Note: We have many more highly decorated pilots and aircrew whose Ensembles are yet to be announced and we will be adding new editions to the collection on a regular basis. So keep visiting our website to be right up to date with all new announcements.
What are Ensembles?
The Oxford Dictionary’s definition is: “A group of items viewed as a whole rather than individually”.
To make collecting more meaningful and exciting, we have created a series of ‘ensembles’ that bring together a number of items relevant to each signatory that you will be proud to display in your home or place of work. Our presentations are elegantly designed to compliment the historical nature and value of the famous signatures they incorporate.
Ensembles Limited Editions
All our Ensembles are sold as Limited Editions. Edition sizes (quantities) are as follows:
Maximum in Edition
BRONZE EDITIONS (Single signatures) 95
SILVER EDITIONS (Double signatures) 75
GOLD EDITIONS (Double signatures with medal) 50
PLATINUM EDITIONS – (Rae or double signatures with medal) 50
Platinum Editions usually have fewer Ensembles available and the quantity in each edition is quoted together with the price on the individual product page. For example, there are only six signatures available in the Tommy Sopwith autograph Ensemble.
To preserve its ‘limited’ nature, when an Edition is sold out no more ensembles having the same combination of art and signature will be made available again.
In some cases, where appropriate, the signature of a pilot or aircrew may be issued separately as a Bronze Edition and again with a second pilot or aircrew in the form of a Silver, Gold or even Platinum Edition. But at no time will any edition, or combination of autographs be repeated in the same format with the same artwork. Thus each edition will be kept small.
Even though most of the autographs of distinguished WWII pilots and aircrew available from the Military Signature Archive are no longer generally available – at least, anywhere near our special Autograph Collector prices – due to the unique circumstances surrounding the acquisition and sale of these unique Ensembles (see About Us), we are able to price signed Ensembles well below the usual market price for such valuable collector pieces.
There are four product categories – all offering value well in excess of anything else available elsewhere in the WWII aviation collector market. Here are the approximate conversions at the time of writing:
BRONZE EDITIONS – from £29.00 US$41.00 € 36.00
SILVER EDITIONS – from £49.00 US$70.00 € 62.00
GOLD EDITIONS – from £59.00 US$85.00 € 75.00
PLATINUM EDITIONS – from £89.00 US$128 € 113.00
International Customers please note:
Our INTERNATIONAL CURRENCY CONVERTER (found in the ORDERING menu) converts UK Pounds Sterling to US Dollars or Euros for those living outside the UK. Because our computers are directly linked to the foreign exchange market, the resulting conversion from £ Sterling always shows the exact exchange amount, and this usually includes the Cents. We apologise for this rather fussy system, but it’s the way our International Currency Converter works!
Denys Gillam (a Bronze Ensemble in the Battle of Britain category) converts like this (at the exchange rate prevailing at the time of writing):
£39.00 US$56.29 € 49.58
If you live overseas and are using the International Currency Convertor, the exact conversion at today’s rate will appear in your Shopping Basket. If the amount looks a little over-precise (eg: $56 dollars and 29 Cents) please bear with us – that’s how the Currency Converter works!
Platinum Editions usually have fewer Ensembles and this reflected in the price. For example, an Edition with just six rare signatures, such as Sir Tommy Sopwith, is deemed by collectors to be more valuable than a larger Edition – even if it has a greater number of signatures.
Mounts (called ‘MATTS’ in the USA)
All BRONZE and SILVER Editions, as well as Signed Original Drawings and Signed Pencil Prints are carefully constructed as Ensembles with double-mounts using high quality archival mount board. All have faithful replica WWII metal pilots badges affixed, a third mount-quality backing-board (not the usual cardboard sheet), and are supplied ready to frame.
GOLD and PLATINUM EDITIONS have the same high quality double-mounts, faithful replica WWII metal pilots badges affixed, an authentic design miniature medal set into the mounts, a third high quality backing-board, and are delivered ready to frame.
Ensembles are issued in only two sizes:
BRONZE and SILVER – 12” x 12”
GOLD and PLATINUM – 12” x 16”
Both overall dimensions are a standard size that fit into most ready-made frames available at your local frame shop or gallery – although store prices will likely be higher than those of our specially selected frames (see below).
Each composite Ensemble is delivered wrapped in high-grade cellophane for protection and presentation. Where Autograph Print Ensembles are acquired for investment and storage (ie not for display) these are easier stored unframed.
All Autograph Print Ensembles described above may be purchased framed and ready to hang, and details of prices are shown with each product. To see a larger version framed example of any Ensemble, click on one the two smaller images showing the frame of your choice.
There are two styles of frame:
Style A – Metallic Brushed Silver
Style B – Metallic Brushed Gun-Metal
Choose your Style. Both Style A and B are the same price:
Bronze and Silver Frames (overall size 13½” x 13½”) £19.95
Gold and Platinum Frames (overall size 13½” x 17½” £29.95
Framed Ensembles are delivered complete with hanging materials leaving you nothing to do except hang your new Autograph Print Ensemble in your living room, study, office or place of work.
For information on ordering click HERE…