JACK D. HUNTER – ORIGINAL PAINTING – FEATURING GOTHA G. V. BOMBER ATTACKED BY SE-5A
The late Jack D. Hunter was an amazing talent, and a good friend. One of my favorite “Jack” stories occurred when his first book (The Blue Max) was being prepared for publication. As was standard for first-time authors, Jack was informed that his dust jacket would be rendered in black and white (artwork AND color were too expensive for a writer without a proven sales record). Jack, however, told the publisher that HE would provide the artwork if the dust jacket was published in color. The publisher printed 5,000 (a first-time author’s standard run) hardback copies, in color, as The Blue Max’s first edition. It became a top-seller as soon as it was published, then quickly was snapped up and turned into a major motion picture starring George Peppard, James Mason, and Ursula Andress. Jack went on to write seventeen books before his 2009 death. In addition, he became a talented aviation artist whose work resides in museums’ and enthusiasts’ art collections all over the world.
Throughout his years as an artist, Jack produced paintings in two basic sizes. Today we are offering one of his paintings in the smaller, more compact size. Its simple, elegant, black, molded frame measures 19 ½” x 24 ½.” It sports a single-matte. The painting’s subject is a German Gotha G. V. Bomber flying over Southeast England. It has become separated from the rest of its squadron, and is heading for home.
The Gotha was one of Germany’s best-known WW I bombers. Considered a heavy bomber, it was produced in three variations: the G. V., the G. Va., and the G. Vb. A total of 205 G. V.’s was built between 1917 and 1918. According to Jack Hunter, they carried twelve bombs and flew at 92 mph. The bomber carried a crew of three and had multiple machine guns to protect itself. The Gotha had two engines to propel it. It was a “pusher” aircraft, meaning its propellers were located aft of the engines to “push” the airplane.
In the painting, the Gotha is being attacked by a SE-5a coming from above. Arguably, the SE-5 and Sopwith Camel were Britain’s best-known WW I fighter planes. Nearly 5,200 SE-5’s, SE-5a’s and SE-5b’s were built. The SE-5 was flown by many top British and American aces. (An original SE-5 can be seen at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio). The first SE-5’s reached the front in March 1917, and were flown by the RFC’s famous 56th Squadron. One of its unique features was a single machine gun mounted in front of the pilot on its cowl. A second was mounted on the top wing.
Jack’s signature appears in the painting’s lower right corner. The painting’s reverse displays a printed description of the action written and signed by him.