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.
Want to know "who" signed which print edition? Click the EDITIONS tab above.
Shipping added in checkout // print size: 32" x 22.5" // ships rolled in a tube
ARTIST PROOF - Resale, in mint-condition!
Sold out nearly a decade ago, this ultra-rare Artist Proof is from an edition of 190 limited-edition prints, signed by artist Nicolas Trudgian and including the rare autographs of Franz Stigler & Charlie Brown, on separate cards. The print itself is autographed by sixteen veterans of the air war in Europe. Among the signers are B-17 pilot Sam Satariano, bombardier Harry Hurlburt, and gunners Dick Fuller & Hugh McGinty, all of whom flew in the 379th BG, the same group as Charlie! Joining them are B-17 pilots Joe Clarke (34th BG), Newt Moy (398th BG), Hank Heintz (388th BG) & Clayton Nattier (306th BG), B-24 pilot Don Carlson (466th BG), B-17 bombardier Don Nate (490th BG) and B-17 gunners Mitch Mischler (94th BG) & Bill Roche (452nd BG). Representing the Luftwaffe are Bf 109 pilots Kurt Schulze (JG 5), Jorg Czypionka (JG 300), Eberhard Woerz (NAGr 8), and Gernot Heinrichsdorff (Luftskriegsschule 3). Includes a photo of Franz & Charlie, metal relic from a Bf 109 lost in 1944, 8th AF & JG 27 patches, and a Certificate of Authenticity. A no-interest payment plan is available upon request.
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, 8th AF & JG 27 patches, and a COA with "History Behind the Art."
SIGNER PROOF - Low Supply!
100 limited-edition prints, signed by Nicolas Trudgian and 3 WWII veterans: B-17 pilot Clayton Nattier, Bf 109 pilot Gernot Heinrichsdorff, and B-17 gunner Mitch Mischler. Includes three photos related to Franz & Charlie, JG 27 & 8th AF patches, and a COA with "History Behind the Art."
Open edition print, signed by Nicholas Trudgian. Includes COA.
PUBLISHER PROOFS - Sold Out
180 limited-edition prints
A Valor Studios giclee edition will be released. 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
$420 USD $495 USD