Last of the Tide / Last of the Few

Portraits of military veterans by Royal Drawing School staff and alumni, commissioned by His Majesty King Charles III.

The King, then Prince of Wales and The Queen, then The Duchess of Cornwall meet Battle of Britain veterans (2017)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Last of the Few

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2010, HRH The Prince of Wales – patron of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association – commissioned a series of drawings by alumni and faculty of the Royal Drawing School. The portraits recognise and record the extraordinary lives of the airmen who fought so bravely during the pivotal events of the summer of 1940, known as the “The Few”. They also pay homage to the many young pilots who sacrificed their lives fighting for the freedom of Europe. All of the surviving Battle of Britain veterans were invited to sit for the portraits. The 16 who were well enough to do so were subsequently put in touch with the artists.

75th Anniversary of the Battle of BritainRoyal Collection Trust, UK

"When my grandmother died I succeeded her as patron of The Battle of Britain Fighter Association, and so I used to have them to receptions and an annual tea party, and so I knew them all, and it just seemed to me absolutely crucial to try and capture some of them before they disappeared," - The Prince told BBC documentary Art, Passion & Power: The Story of the Royal Collection.

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flight Lieutenant K A Lawrence DFC (2010) by Jessie MakinsonRoyal Drawing School

A distinguished group of artists were selected for their skill in drawing from observation.

They include four first prize winners of the BP Portrait Award: Catherine Goodman, Ishbel Myerscough, Stuart Pearson Wright and James Lloyd.

All artists had either graduated from the Royal Drawing School’s postgraduate programme, The Drawing Year, or were current or past teachers at the School. Catherine Goodman is the Artistic Director of the School.

Flight Lieutenant K A Lawrence DFC was drawn by Jessie Makinson (The Drawing Year 2012)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flight Lieutenant O V Burns Ae (2010) by Diarmuid KelleyRoyal Drawing School

Flight Lieutenant O V Burns AE was drawn by Diarmuid Kelley (The Drawing Year 2002)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Squadron Leader M T Wainwright AFC (2010) by Tara VerseyRoyal Drawing School

Squadron Leader M T Wainwright AFC was drawn by Tara Versey (The Drawing Year 2010)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Squadron Leader S N Rose AE (2010) by Clara DrummondRoyal Drawing School

Squadron Leader S N Rose AE was drawn by Clara Drummond (The Drawing Year 2005)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Squadron Leader T C Iveson Dfc AE (2010) by Leigh FoxRoyal Drawing School

Squadron Leader T C Iveson DFC AE was drawn by Leigh Fox (The Drawing Year 2011)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flight Lieutenant W J Green (2010) by Jennifer McRaeRoyal Drawing School

Flight Lieutenant W J Green was drawn by Jennifer McRae (The Drawing Year 2001)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Wing Commander P C Farnes DFM (2010) by Iris PalmerRoyal Drawing School

Wing Commander P C Farns DFM was drawn by Iris Palmer (The Drawing Year 2002)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flight Lieutenant W L B Walker AE (2010) by Stuart Pearson WrightRoyal Drawing School

Flight Lieutenant W L B Walker AE was drawn by Stuart Pearson Wright (The Drawing Year 2004).

"He was such a dear man, I can't tell you. He really was. The fascinating thing about art, I think, is the way artists capture the spirit of how they see you as a character," The Prince said of this drawing. "That's what he was like - he was always laughing."

Battle of Britain Portraits: Wing Commander T M Kane (2010) by Georgina SleapRoyal Drawing School

Wing Commander T M Kane was drawn by Georgina Sleap (The Drawing Year 2011)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Wing Commander R W Foster Dfc AE (2010) by Louise YatesRoyal Drawing School

Wing Commander R W Foster DFC AE was drawn by Louise Yates (The Drawing Year 2009)

Battle of Britain Portraits: Geoffrey Harris Augustus Wellum DFC (2010) by Catherine GoodmanRoyal Drawing School

Geoffrey Harris Augustus Wellum DFC was drawn by Catherine Goodman

Battle of Britain Portraits: Wing Commander T F Neil DFC* AFC AE (2010) by James LloydRoyal Drawing School

Wing Commander T F Neil DFC* AFC AE was drawn by James Lloyd

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flying Officer K A Wilkinson AE (2010) by Ishbel MyerscoughRoyal Drawing School

Flying Officer K A Wilkinson AE was drawn by Ishbel Myerscough

"When I saw this, having looked at those lines in magical Holbein drawings at Windsor for so many years, I thought it was in that sort of extraordinary tradition of economy of line, with just a little bit of colour," The Prince said of this drawing. "He was another marvellous character."

Battle of Britain Portraits: Squadron Leader T G Pickering AE (2010) by Susan WilsonRoyal Drawing School

Squadron Leader T G Pickering AE was drawn by Susan Wilson

Battle of Britain Portraits: Wing Commander J F D Elkington (2010) by Peter KuhfeldRoyal Drawing School

Wing Commander J F D Elkington was drawn by Peter Kuhfeld

Battle of Britain Portraits: Flight Lieutenant Terry Clark Dfm (2010) by Marcus CornishRoyal Drawing School

Flight Lieutenant Terry Clark DFM was drawn by Marcus Cornish

The King, then Prince of Wales and The Queen, then Duchess of Cornwall meet D-Day Veterans (2017) by Royal Collection TrustRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Last of the Tide

Twelve portraits of D-Day veterans went on display at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in 2015 to mark the 71st anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy. The exhibition, The Last of the Tide, was put together by The Royal Drawing School, in collaboration with Royal Collection Trust, and paid tribute to the extraordinary men who played a role in the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. It was commissioned by The Prince of Wales following his attendance of 2014's commemorations in France.

Geoffrey Pattinson (2015) by Jonathan Yeo (b.1970)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Artist Jonathan Yeo, who painted this portrait of veteran Geoffrey Pattinson, said, 'Painting someone who candidly describes the first time they set foot on foreign soil as the time they jumped out of a moving aircraft and parachuted down through flying bullets, to land in Normandy for D-Day, makes Geoffrey one of the more extraordinary sitters I've encountered in my time as a portrait artist.'

Mr Pattinson, Sergeant with 9th Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was to land within the perimeter of the Merville Battery, but, due to a faulty glider, he landed in Hampshire. By the evening of D-Day his platoon had managed to land in Normandy and he re-joined his unit.

Geoffrey Pattinson with his portrait (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Tom Renouf (1925-2016) by Clara Drummond (b. 1977)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Tom Renouf (1925-2016) was painted by Clara Drummond

Dr Tom Renouf, Private (later Lieutenant) with 5th Battalion Black Watch, landed on the third day of the invasion, taking part in the battle for high ground around Breville. He took part in the 51st Highland Division advance into the falaise pocket from Caen to Lisieux.

Dr Tom Renouf with his portrait (2016) by Royal Collection / David CheskinRoyal Collection Trust, UK

James 'Jack' Griffiths (2015) by Stuart Pearson Wright (b. 1975)Royal Collection Trust, UK

James 'Jack' Griffiths was painted by Stuart Pearson Wright.

Jack Griffiths was a Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment. He flew a glider containing Parachute Regiment soldiers successfully landing on the morning of D-Day. The soldiers went on to destroy bridges over the river Orne.

Brian Stewart (2015) by Paul Benney (b. 1959)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Brian Stewart was painted by Paul Benney

Stewart was the Anti-Tank Platoon Commander with the Tyneside Scottish, landing a couple of days after D-Day. He took part in the defence of Rauray, where he commanded his platoon against a Panzer counter-attack.

Raymond 'Tich' Rayner (1919-2015) by Ishbel Myerscough (b. 1968)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Raymond 'Tich' Rayner (1919-2015) was painted by Ishbel Myerscough.

Tich Rayner, Sergeant with Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, was in Glider Number 4 as part of the operation on Pegasus Bridge. His glider had navigational issues and landed seven miles away from the planned landing zone. He eventually fought his way back to his unit.

"It's astonishing, she's really captured him - and I wouldn't want to bump into him on a dark night!" The Prince said of this painting. "I love the way she's done it with the medals slightly twisted. He's really leaping out of the canvas."

Thomas 'David' Burke (2015) by James Lloyd (b. 1971)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Thomas 'David' Burke was painted by James Lloyd

Burke landed with Canadian forces as a signals sergeant and served through France and Germany until the Nazi surrender. He then worked with the Allied Joint Signals Unit at the Nuremberg trials. He became part of the Cheshire Yeomanry after the War.

David Burke in front of his portrait (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

James Lloyd with his portrait of David Burke (2015)Royal Collection Trust, UK

James Lloyd, a member of faculty at The Royal Drawing School, with his portrait of D-Day veteran David Burke.

James 'Jim' Glennie (2015) by Carl Randall (b. 1975)Royal Collection Trust, UK

James 'Jim' Glennie was painted by Carl Randall

Mr Glennie was attached to the 5th/7th Gordon Highlanders for the landings on D-Day, subsequently advancing inland and taking up defensive positions near Caen. During a German counter-attack he was wounded and taken prisoner, spending four months as a prisoner of war.

The King, then Prince of Wales talks to Jim Glennie (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Laurence 'Laurie' Weedon (2015) by Martin Yeoman (b. 1953)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Laurence 'Laurie' Weedon was painted by Martin Yeoman

Laurie Weeden was a Pilot with the Glider Pilot Regiment. He flew a glider during the mass airborne operation on D-Day. He safely landed in Normandy, where his cargo of jeeps, explosives and ammunition was used by 8th Battalion The Parachute Regiment to blow bridges over the River Dives.

The King, then Prince of Wales, Laurie Weedon and Martin Yeoman (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Eric Johnston (2015) by Catherine Goodman (b. 1951)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Eric Johnston was painted by Catherine Goodman

Johnston was a co-driver within the Reconnaisance Troop. He took part in the battle of Villiers-Bocage and the defence of Hill 103.

The Duchess of Cornwall talks to Eric Johnston (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Robert Anthony 'Tony' Leake (2015) by Eileen Hogan (b. 1946)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Robert Anthony 'Tony' Leake was painted by Eileen Hogan.

Dr Tony Leake, Corporal with the 8th Batallion The Parachute Regiment, took part in the mass parachute drop behind the German lines. He blew bridges over the River Dives and set up defensive positions. The Battalion was cut off for five days, eventually being relieved by the Highland Division.

Patrick 'Pat' Turner (2015) by Anthony Williams (b. 1964)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Patrick 'Pat' Turner was painted by Anthony Williams

Pat Turner was a Private with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry. He was part of the operation on Pegasus Bridge, landing in Glider Number 3 within fifty metres of the bridge. He was absolutely instrumental in the assault and the securing of the Benouville Bridge and a route over Caen canal.

The King, then Prince of Wales meets D-Day veterans at Buckingham Palace (2015) by Royal Collection TrustRoyal Collection Trust, UK

The Duchess of Cornwall talks to Pat Turner (2015) by Royal CollectionRoyal Collection Trust, UK

Cecil Newton (b. 1923) (2015) by Peter Kuhfield (b. 1952)Royal Collection Trust, UK

Cecil Newton was painted by Peter Kuhfield

Cecil Newton, Trooper with the 4th/7th Royal Dragoon Guards (predecessor of The Royal Dragoon Guards, of which HRH The Prince of Wales is Colonel-in-Chief). On D-Day Newton was a DD ‘Swimming’ Tank gunner, landing as part of the first wave on Gold Beach.

He remembers vividly the horrors of the day: ‘The crossing was extremely rough... Our tank became swamped and we made valiant attempts to get it out... but to no avail. We rescued our belongings from the tank including the cooker so that we could have a cup of tea... On the incoming tide the bodies of two young Royal Marines rolled about in the surf... Stretcher-bearers were methodically picking up the corpses and placing them in rows with feet towards the sea; one row for the British and a separate row for the Germans...’

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