A Higher Call art print
Print Size: 32" x 22.5"

All prints are sold unframed

The Guardian
- December 20, 1943 -

a fine art print by

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.

* screen colors may vary from print colors


390 prints, each numbered and signed by artist Nick
Trudgian. Includes 8 veteran signatures. Now issuing:

- "The Guardian" himself, Franz Stigler!
(separate signature, perfect for matting with the print)
- 379th BG veteran Hugh McGinty
Luftwaffe Bf 109 pilot Gernot Heinrichsdorff
- B-17 pilots Newt Moy & Clayton Nattier
- B-17 gunners "Lucky" McGinty,
Mitch Mischler & Mike Quering

- Photos of Franz & Charlie to frame with your print

- Color COA with "History Behind the Art" story

All prints are sold unframed

490 prints
, each numbered and signed by artist
Nick Trudgian and 3 veterans. Now issuing:

- B-17 pilot
Clayton Nattier
Luftwaffe Bf 109 pilot Gernot Heinrichsdorff
B-17 gunner Mitch Mischler


All prints are sold unframed

Open edition print. Includes a two-sided Certificate of Authenticity with "History Behind the Art" facts, hand autographed by artist Nicholas Trudgian!

All prints are sold unframed

Contact us for re-sale availability

Only 180 prints, each numbered and
signed by artist Nick Trudgian.
Comes with 18 veteran signatures including
Franz Stigler & Charlie Brown!

- A relic from a Bf 109 that flew combat over Germany
- A relic from a B-17 that flew combat over Germany
- Photo of Franz & Charlie to frame with your print

- Color COA with "History Behind the Art" story

All prints are sold unframed

Contact us for re-sale availability

Only 190 prints, each numbered and signed by artist Nick Trudgian. Comes with 14 signatures including that of Franz Stigler!

- A relic from a B-17 that flew combat over Germany
- Photo of Franz & Charlie to frame with your print

- Color COA with "History Behind the Art" story

All prints are sold unframed

An Artist Reserve edition of 30 prints, bearing two signatures, and 30 canvas giclees, will be for sale via Nick Trudgian.
A Signer Proof edition of 100 prints exists for print signers and helpers. A Valor Studios giclee edition may be released in the future.
Watch Franz and Charlie describe their famous encounter!
Film courtesy of Joe Jackson


The B-17G “Champagne Girl” was one of the first eleven natural metal finish B-17s assigned to the 323rd Squadron of the 91st Bomb Group at Bassingbourn, England.

During the July 19, 1944 mission to destroy the Luftwaffe Lechfeld airfield, near Augsburg, Germany, the B-17 “Champagne Girl” was heavily damaged in a mid-air collision. The plane entered a spin, revolving five times, before the pilot recovered control. He flew the damaged aircraft to nearby Switzerland, where the entire crew bailed out and were safely interned for the duration of the war.

Our metal relics, taken from the tail section, were recovered by a friend of Valor Studios who specializes in aircraft wrecks throughout the Swiss Alps.

FROM Bf-109 #441059

Manufactured in April 1944, Bf-109G-6 Wnr. 441059 was assigned to a Luftwaffe fighter group flying Reich Defense missions.

In May or June of 1944, the aircraft was shot down while attacking 8th Air Force bombers. It crashed near Lake Attersee in Austria, where the aircraft remained until recovery in the 1990s.

The aircraft remains underwent a complete restoration, though the pieces we received were not in a condition to be used.

Our relics come from the cowling and fuselage sections of the aircraft, and in some cases, still carry the original paint and markings from 1944!

A brilliant collection of rare signatures from . . .
Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown, depicted in the scene!
The boys of the Mighty Eighth Air Force!
Pilots of the German Air Force, now US citizens!
Don Carlson
466th BG, 786th Sqn
20-year-old B-24 Pilot

Joe Clarke
34th BG, 18th Sqn
20-year-old B-17 pilot
"Ramblin Rebel"
Ditched in Channel
Bailed out over UK
31 Combat Missions

Jorg Czypionka
Bf 109 & Me 262 pilot
2 victories
Charles L. Brown
379th BG, 527th Sq.
21-year-old B-17 pilot
"Ye Olde Pub"
& "Carol Dawn"
32 Combat Missions
extracted signature
Henry Heintz
388th BG, 563rd Sqn
B-17 pilot

Harry Hurlburt
379th BG, 525th Sq.
B-17 bombardier
"Four of a Kind"
Wounded in Action
Ditched in Channel, rescued by P. Guinness of Guinness beer!

Gernot Heinrichsdorff
Luftskriegsschule 3
(Air War Officer School)
19-year-old Bf-109 pilot
Later served as infantry due to lack of fuel
Richard Fuller
379th BG, 525th Sqn
B-17 Waist Gunner
"Petrol Packing Mama"
Hugh McGinty
379th BG, 524th Sqn
B-17 Tail Gunner
"The Blue Blazing Blizzard"
Flew in the same formation
as Lt. Charlie Brown!
Elmer "Lucky" McGinty
95th BG, 339th Sqn
B-17 Gunner
"I Dood It"
29 Combat Missions
Brother of Hugh McGinty
E. E. Mischler
94th BG, 333rd Sqn
19-year-old B-17 Gunner
"Pride of the Yanks"
Newt Moy
398th BG, 603rd Sqn
23-year-old B-17 Pilot
26 Combat Missions
Don Nate
490th BG, 851st Sqn
20-year-old B-17 bombardier
"£5 With Breakfast"
32 Combat Missions
Clayton Nattier
306th BG, 369th Sqn
21-year-old B-17 pilot
"Heavenly Body"
Shot down over Merseburg, Germany
Mike Quering
487th BG, 838th Sqn
18-year-old B-17 Gunner
34 Combat Missions
Wounded in Action
Original cadre of the 487th Bomb Group!
Bill Roche
452nd BG, 731st Sqn
20-year-old B-17 gunner
"Lucky Lady III"
Shot down twice
Interred with Soviet Army
Sam Satariano
379th BG, 527th Sq.
B-17 pilot "Piccadilly Willie" and "Lakanukie"
28 Combat Missions
Original cadre of the 379th Bomb Group!

Kurt Schulze
JG 5 & JG 51
Bf 109 pilot
103 Combat Missions
3 victories

Franz Stigler
JG 27 & JV 44
Bf 109 & Me 262 pilot
487 Combat Missions
28 victories
extracted signature
Eberhard Woerz
Nahaufklärungsgruppe 8
(Close Recon Group 8)
Bf-109 pilot
Artist Nick Trudgian

Nicolas Trudgian was born and raised in Plymouth, England. His father and uncle both served in the RAF during World War II and so his childhood was filled with stories about the air war in Britain, North Africa and the far east.

Nick began showing a real talent for art at an early age and his surroundings gave him the perfect inspiration to fill sketchbooks with drawings of aircraft, ships and also trains. His family encouraged him but were concerned about Nick's growing desire of turning this hobby into a full time career, a notoriously risky occupation. But Nick was determined and occupied every spare hour with painting and drawing.

Five years at art college further equipped him with the skills necessary to paint technical subjects with authority. Soon the commissions came flooding in, mostly illustrations for companies such as Rolls Royce, Ford, General Motors and British Aerospace, air lines and oil companies.

His agents tended to find him work that involved transport, mechanical and military subjects especially where landscapes and lighting could be used to create spectacular backdrops, something that has become a virtual trademark of his art.

It was this aspect that no doubt attracted his first aviation art publisher who asked Nick to paint aircraft pictures for him in oils. It was an instant success and so Nick gave up the commercial illustration work to paint instead pictures for aviation art prints. In the past 20 years Nick has had published more than 150 full size color prints and countless pencil and smaller prints.

Nick as he signs "The Guardian."

His work is collected worldwide and especially in the United States where he has attended numerous art shows and gained many friends. His work has been exhibited, amonst other places, in the Smithsonian, the Pentagon and Britain's Imperial War Museum.

He lives with his wife Ruth in the Cotswold hills in Gloucestershire, England, very fittingly in the corner of what was once a Battle of Britain airfield. The site has long since returned to agriculture. Open fields provide a far-reaching view from his studio window but Nick says that if you know where to look the tell tail evidence of the war is still all around and it's easy to imagine Spitfires roaring overhead. ''It's a perfect place to recreate scenes from the past as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our parents generation.''

Valor Studios wishes to thank the following for their assistance with this project: The Brown family, Helga Stigler, Mike Hart, The Wings Over the Rockies museum, and the distinguished veterans who made this print possible.