CATALINA OF JOHN CRUICKSHANK VC by Nicolas Trudgian
Original Pencil Drawing
One of the most famous actions of any Coastal Command Pilot, John Cruickshank's attack on the U-361 on the 17th July 1944 is the stuff of legend. Flying a Catalina from 210 Squadron, Cruickshank was patrolling over the Norwegian sea when he spotted a Type VIIc U-Boat on the surface and decided to attack. U-boats, however, were bristling with anti-aircraft guns and the Catalina flew through a wall of heavy Flak - the depth charges failed to drop. Cruickshank knew the U-boat crew would be waiting for him to make a second run but he attacked again anyway - despite accurate Flak that killed and wounded many of his crew - he straddled the U-boat with his depth charges - U-361 sank with the loss of all hands. Cruickshank meanwhile was badly wounded but, to make the return trip would take over 5 hours flying. Hit no less than 72 times, Cruickshank let his co-pilot fly while he lapsed in and out of conciousness - he refused morphine as he intended to land the Catalina at base. This he managed to do before collapsing.
Nicolas Trudgian shows the moment when Cruickshank's depth charges straddle the U-boat as his Catalina pulls clear.
After he had heard his award of the Victoria Cross Cruickshank could hardly believe it "When they told me I was to get the VC it was unbelievable. Decorations didn't enter my head".
The Drawing is on A4 Paper and has been signed by Artist Nicolas Trudgian and
Flight Lieutenant John CRUICKSHANK VC - 210 Squadron
A very nice piece.