The Guardian by Nicolas Trudgian
December 20, 1943: The German fighter pilot was taking a great risk. He had seen the faces of the wounded crewmen and decided to spare the damaged B-17 and more—to escort the plane out of Germany. If a civilian or soldier on the ground reported him, the fighter pilot would face a firing squad. In the eyes of his country during war, he was a traitor. But to the defenseless American crew, he was their guardian.
Now, they had hopes of reaching England again, thanks to the mysterious German ace who held his fire. One day, the crew would know his name—Franz Stigler. In 1990, they’d invite Franz to their bomb group reunion where they’d introduce their families to the man who gave them the greatest of gifts—the chance to live.
Shipping added in checkout // print size: 32" x 22.5" // ships rolled in a tube
MAIN EDITION - Low Supply!
490 limited-edition prints, signed by Nicolas Trudgian. Includes 5 veteran signatures: Franz Stigler (separate signature, perfect for matting with your print), 379th BG B-17 pilot Roland Martin, Bf 109 pilot Gernot Heinrichsdorff, B-17 pilot Clayton Nattier, and B-17 pilot Fred Wiese. Includes two photos related to Franz & Charlie and a COA with "History Behind the Art."
VICTORY EDITION - Low Supply!
390 limited-edition prints, signed by Nicolas Trudgian. Includes 8 veteran signatures: Franz Stigler (separate signature, perfect for matting with your print), 379th BG B-17 pilot Roland Martin and B-17 gunner Hugh McGinty, Bf 109 pilot Gernot Heinrichsdorff, B-17 pilot Clayton Nattier, B-17 gunners "Lucky" McGinty, Mitch Mischler & Bill Roche. Includes metal relics from a B-17 & Bf 109 downed during WWII, COA with "History Behind the Art" and two photos. A no-interest payment plan is available upon request, email us to learn more.
Open edition print, signed by Nicholas Trudgian. Includes COA.
ARTIST PROOF - Sold Out
190 limited-edition prints
PUBLISHER PROOFS - Sold Out
180 limited-edition prints
A Valor Studios giclee edition will be released. A Signer Proof edition of 100 prints exists, not-for-sale. An Artist Reserve edition of 30 prints & 30 canvases exists.
"The Guardian" includes a brilliant collection of signatures from WWII heroes! Signers vary print by print. Please click "editions" to see which veterans' autographs accompany which prints.
CHARLIE BROWN (extracted signature w/Publisher Proofs)
379th BG, 527th Sq., 21-year-old B-17 pilot "Ye Olde Pub" & "Carol Dawn," 32 combat missions. Enjoy the video below of Charlie describing his encounter with Franz Stigler:
466th BG, 786th Sqn, 20-year-old B-24 Pilot
34th BG, 18th Sqn., 20-year-old B-17 pilot "Ramblin Rebel." Ditched in Channel. Bailed out over UK. 31 Combat Missions.
JG-300/NJG-11, Bf 109 & Me 262 pilot with 2 victories
379th BG, 525th Sqn., B-17 Waist Gunner on "Petrol Packing Mama"
Luftskriegsschule 3 (Air War Officer School), 19-year-old Bf-109 pilot. Later served as infantry due to lack of fuel.
388th BG, 563rd Sqn., B-17 pilot
379th BG, 525th Sq., B-17 bombardier on "Four of a Kind." Wounded in action, ditched in Channel, rescued by P. Guinness of Guinness beer!
379th BG, 524th Sqn., B-17 Tail Gunner on "The Blue Blazing Blizzard." Flew in the same formation as Lt. Charlie Brown!
ELMER "LUCKY" MCGINTY
95th BG, 339th Sqn., B-17 Gunner on "I Dood It." 29 combat missions. Brother of Hugh McGinty.
E. E. MISCHLER
94th BG, 333rd Sqn., 19-year-old B-17 gunner on "Pride of the Yanks." Appears in the famous war-time film, "Target for Today."
398th BG, 603rd Sqn., 23-year-old B-17 pilot who flew 26 combat missions.
490th BG, 851st Sqn., 20-year-old B-17 bombardier on "£5 With Breakfast." 32 Combat Missions.
306th BG, 369th Sqn., 21-year-old B-17 pilot of "Heavenly Body." Shot down over Merseburg, Germany.
487th BG, 838th Sqn., 18-year-old B-17 gunner with 34 combat missions. Wounded in action. Original cadre of the 487th Bomb Group.
452nd BG, 731st Sqn., 20-year-old B-17 gunner on "Lucky Lady III." Shot down twice, interred with the Red Army.
379th BG, 527th Sq., B-17 pilot of "Piccadilly Willie" and "Lakanukie." Flew 28 combat missions. Original cadre of the 379th Bomb Group!
JG 5 & JG 51 Bf 109 pilot with 103 combat missions and 3 victories.
FRANZ STIGLER (extracted signature)
JG 27 & JV 44 Bf 109 & Me 262 pilot with 487 combat missions and 28 victories.
351st BG, 508th Sqn., B-17 pilot of "The Little One," "Merrie Christie," "Lucky Jewell," and "Annie Marie." 36 combat missions.
Nahaufklärungsgruppe 8 (Close Recon Group 8) Bf-109 pilot