The image of a Lancaster bomber that could soon become a feature at Lincoln City FC was created by a world-renowned Lincolnshire aviation artist.
The bomber is part of a Dambusters-themed mosaic which the club plans to install at Sincil Bank as a lasting tribute to the brave men who flew from Lincolnshire during the Second World War.
The story of the plane was revealed by Lincolnshire-based artist Simon Atack, who has helped the club create the design.
Simon has work displayed in galleries across the world and has sold six of his paintings to Peter Jackson, famous for directing and producing The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
The image of the Lancaster is taken from Simon’s painting Hopgood’s Courageous Run, regarded by experts as the most authentic portrayal of a 617 Squadron Lancaster in action.
The full painting portrays the attack on the Mohne Dam in Germany by 21-year-old Flight Lieutenant John Vere “Hoppy” Hopgood in his plane nicknamed Mother.
Hopgood was severely wounded in the head and most of his crew suffered terrible wounds when the aircraft was hit by flak over Holland, an hour before they even reached the dam.
Despite their injuries, and with the plane on fire, they pressed on with the attack. Hopgood and five of his crew were killed. Two bailed out successfully to survive as prisoners of war for the rest of the war.
“The story of John Hopgood is a graphic example of outstanding courage and selflessness so often displayed by that generation of young people during World War Two,” said Simon, who lives near RAF Coningsby, and has donated his work to the Imps free of charge.
“If there is one act of valour that deserves to be recognised, celebrated and preserved it is that of Hoppy and his crew.
“The idea of my portrayal of this amazing bravery being brought to life on such a huge scale is incredibly exciting and I hope it becomes a reality.”
The Dambusters mosaic is being funded through a crowdfunding project, with the Imps hoping it will go a long way towards raising the £380,000 needed to solve its current financial crisis.
Acting Imps managing director Kevin Cooke said: “We are delighted Simon has given his time to help the project and hope the story of John Hopgood will inspire more people to support our campaign.”