Normandy Veterans' Signing Event + Print Launch w/ Simon Smith – 28th April

Join us at the Steventon Gallery in this 80th Anniversary Year when we'll be joined by the award-winning military artist Simon Smith for the launch of his latest release, PLUS highly-regarded WWII veterans who took part in D-Day and the Battle for Normandy! *More details to follow*

28 April 2024


Our special guests are looking forward to meeting enthusiasts and signing items for collectors – they include:

Artist SIMON SMITH - was born in 1960 into a military family and quickly developed an interest in history and the armed forces. Always a talented artist, he studied Fine Art and Illustration at Art School and, graduating with a First class degree, worked as a highly successful commercial illustrator. For relaxation he began painting military and aviation subjects and was elected to the Guild of Aviation Artists. Equally at home painting in traditional oils and using the technologies of digital creation, his pieces are often created using a combination of both processes. Simon has won numerous awards including the Fine Art Trade Guild’s ‘Nockold’s Trophy’, the Cross and Cockade WW1 ‘Aviation Art Award’, and Flypast magazine’s award for ‘Excellence in Aviation Art’.

Trooper BILL GLADDEN Ld'H - originally serving with 154 Royal Armoured Corps, he then joined the 79th Armoured Division Development Unit which helped in the improvement of Hobart’s ‘Funnies’, Bangalore torpedoes and flail tanks to name but a few. Moving to the 6th Airborne Armoured Recce Regiment on Tetrarch light tanks, they flew out on D-Day in Hamilcar gliders with their landing zone at Ranville, east of the River Orne. Here he was wounded in fighting with Germans and returned home on 21 June.

Leading Aircraftman BERT WESTGATE - having joined the RAF in 1943, Bert initially trained as a Lancaster rear gunner, then prior to D-Day was posted to Compton Bassett, a Radar and Radio training facility, to undertake tactical wireless operator training. He was then re-posted to Portland, Weymouth, in early June 1944 and crossed the channel to Omaha beach on D-Day +6 with American forces where he undertook radio van operator duties following the 21st Army Group through Normandy, France and into Belgium.

Able Seaman GEORGE CHANDLER MiD Ld’H - having joined the Royal Navy in 1943 aged 18, George served as a Gun Layer on MTB 710, 59th flotilla on coastal defence duties, with regular channel night-time enemy engagements. In the run up to D-Day they trained with US Rangers on the south coast, honing troop seaborne manoeuvres and on D-Day itself served as a defence escort to invasion forces in the American sector close to Omaha beach. George later served in the Mediterranean theatre, Adriatic Sea, in close operational support with the LRDG and SBS special duties sections.

Corporal NORMAN GRIFFITHS Ld’H - Norman landed on Juno Beach D-Day +4, originally planned for +2. He was an armourer with the Norwegian Fighter Squadrons 331 and 332 operating Mk.IX Spitfires. The squadron operated under difficult conditions from the front line, using constantly changing makeshift airfields, until the Normandy breakout, then through Europe to Germany by the end of the war.

Private MERVYN KERSH Ld’H - due to land on Gold Beach D-Day +5, Mervyn was serving with the RAOC with the 17th Advanced Vehicle company and were called to action earlier, landing on Gold Beach on D-Day +3. Charged with vehicle logistics and their transit storage post-invasion, Mervyn served through Holland and Belgium crossing the Rhine into Germany by the end of the War. Hearing that Bergen-Belsen concentration camp had been liberated in April 1945, Mervyn took the emotional trip to visit the site and meet survivors.

Warrant Officer 2 DAVID MORGAN - serving with the Royal Signals, David landed on Utah Beach on D-Day +5, tasked with establishing a wireless link back to the War Office in London. Once the US Forces had taken Cherbourg, David was re-assigned to a smaller unit and continued the advance into Germany. Following the War, David extended his service with deployments in Germany, Egypt, Libya and Kenya. David left the army having served 22 years.


Contact us HERE to book your place at what promises to be a memorable event!

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