James Hollin is an artist working in the UK

painting-diary

Repatriating Lancaster's

This painting was incomplete at the time it was photographed and the relevant numerals were added at a later date.

Lancasters - Repatriating POWs

The Lancaster bombers shown in this painting are returning POWs to England in the repatriation program ‘Operation Exodus’ April 1945. Lancaster S-Sugar (foreground) was the 1st aircraft involved in this operation. Many had walked hundreds of miles through northern Europe in appalling conditions suffering from the cold, malnutrition and exhaustion, most without proper footwear or clothing and many died along the way.

It also flew 137 missions in campaigns across Europe, the most flown by any surviving Lancaster, now residing at RAF Hendon Aircraft museum. The other Lancaster is unidentified, but equally as important.

Crew member George Wing described the trip; ‘The memory will always be with me of those lads’ faces, even though at the time I was only 20 years old myself, to see them sat on the floor of the aircraft, and some of them trying to negotiate the main spar, and the cheers when we came over the white cliffs of England. One of my happiest flights’. Sugar was the first aircraft to undertake such a mercy flight.

S–Sugar now resides at RAF museum Hendon London. I donated the painting to the Bomber Command Memorial Fund.

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