Today’s Poster – variations.
This poster ‘The capture of U 570 by a Lockheed “Hudson” of British Coastal Command’ is one of the extensive ‘Back them Up’ series of the Second World War, but was intended for a much wider use than most of the normal propaganda posters of the period, with use as far from Britain as Australia and New Zealand, and countries outside the British Empire as well.
The details from this auction archive state it’s by ‘W Krogman’ and the poster was printed by Chromoworks circa 1940 – size 76 x 51 cm. As well as the plain ‘Back Them Up’ version, it was also produced in an Arabic version, and another ‘The Downfall of the Dictators is Assured’. More interesting, is that there were ‘overprint’ versions produced for the Australian and New Zealand audiences – as well, I’m sure other locations too. The Australian example tries to cram a wide range of recruitment options, literally ‘men women & children’ into one poster, while the New Zealand example is a fundraising effort, and interestingly has the red overprint with a map of New Zealand on the top right. In all cases, the aircraft has the Union Flag, or Union Jack painted on the nose, an addition to establish the poster’s ownership, wherever it might end up.
There was another Hudson poster. This was ‘A raid by “Hudsons” of the Coastal Command on German shipping at Aalseund, Norway, in which eleven ships were hit’. Here we see the same Arabic and Australian variations again, but I also include the first I saw at the Fundación Infante de Orleans aircraft collection, near Madrid, Spain, and this one was a Spanish language example calling ‘Great Britain’ the ‘Defender of Liberty!’ An interesting foreign language version to see in Spain, given that while neutral in World War Two, Spain was very definitely under Franco’s fascist dictatorship – clearly ‘The Downfall of the Dictators is Assured’ wouldn’t go well there! Of course it may have been for a different Spanish speaking nation.
The painting in this one can be seen here, and is by the artist Charles E. Turner (1893 – 1965) a classic oils style effort, and again with the Union Jack added on the nose of the aircraft. While some of the proportions of the Hudson have become distorted, it’s a powerful, dynamic and colourful picture – well worth closer examination, no doubt, while standing near an example awaiting the too infrequent busses or trains of the wartime period. Some more details again here.
Adding a caution to searching on these is that there was a poster with the same ‘Back Them Up’ exhortation, but from the previous world war, in 1915, a copy here from the IWM’s excellent archive.
It would be very easy, for someone not familiar with the graphics of the era to mix it into others of the same theme from World War Two, an aviation selection presented here.
The heavy bombers, Blenheim and Hurricane posters are depictions of real, notable events, like the two Hudson posters above, but the Leslie Oliphant painting of the then new Parachute Regiment’s ‘Red Berets’ is a fictional work, with made up and indeterminate aircraft types. This is a whole topic in itself.
James Kightly, Vintage Aero Writer.
Images from various online sources – and one from the author’s own photo.