BY SEA & BY AIR - D-Day 6 June 1944

by Keith Burns

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A unique and exclusive Limited Edition print commemorating D-Day and the Battle for Normandy

6 June 1944 will always be remembered in the history books as the date that marked the beginning of the end of the war in north-west Europe. First came the airborne divisions, dropping from the night skies over Normandy in the early hours of 6 June. Their task was to secure the invasion flanks; the British 6th Airborne on the left, the American 82nd and 101st on the right. Then at dawn came the amphibious assault, the landing craft carrying lead elements of the American First Army hitting the beaches, first at Utah to the west, then Omaha. Almost an hour later and tracking the rising tide east, units from the British Second Army stormed ashore on Gold, Juno and Sword. Over the next 24 hours around 132,000 Allied troops, their equipment and supplies had landed on the five D-Day beaches supported by thousands of tanks, trucks, armoured bulldozers and a mass of other vehicles. The invasion to liberate France had begun.

To commemorate the events that took place on D-Day and during the subsequent battle for Normandy, award-winning illustrator Keith Burns has selected three moments from 6 June for his new triptych By Sea & By Air. They standas his tribute to honour all those who took part.

Representing the naval forces is the heavy cruiser HMS Belfast, just one of over 7,000 naval vessels of every conceivable size supporting the invasion. At 05.30 hrs on the morning of 6 June her six-inch guns opened fire on German artillery positions in support of the British and Canadian forces landing on Gold and Juno Beaches. Over the next five weeks, by which time the fighting had moved inland beyond the range of her guns, Belfast would fire 1,996 rounds.

Keith’s second image pays tribute to the land forces, represented here by troops from the British Second Army storming ashore as part of the 75,000 men who landed during the assaults on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. Another 57,500 men from the U.S. First Army would land on the two American beaches, but success on Omaha was tempered by the loss of some 2,000 men.

The D-Day triptych is completed with a reminder of the pivotal role played by the Allies’ airborne assault depicted by Keith’s rendition of C-47 Douglas Skytrain ‘Drag ‘em Oot’. As part of the 87th Troop Carrier Squadron based at Greenham Common she more than did her bit on 6 June by dropping 18 paratroopers of the U.S. 82nd Airborne Division near Sainte-Mère-Église and returned to the UK to undertake a second mission the same day before starting operations to resupply the troops in Normandy. In September, transferred to the RAF, she took part in Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne operation in history.

Only 50 prints are available worldwide!

To mark the anniversary of D-Day and to honour all those who took part, each print in this very special edition will be signed by the artist and WW2 veterans who took part in the battle for Normandy, before making a remarkable journey. In collaboration with our friends at Aero Legends, every print will recreate the journey made by thousands of Allied servicemen on 6 June 1944 by travelling across the English Channel and along the Normandy landing beaches aboard a C-47 Dakota.

22.25 x 8 inches
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