War painting gift for Worthing from ex-mayors

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FORMER Worthing mayors have presented the town with a special painting as a reminder of the town’s involvement in the Second World War.

Worthing Mayors’ Association clubbed together to fund the print, depicting a Westland Lysander zooming over Worthing Pier, which will take pride of place at the Town Hall.

W47374H13-unveilingTownhallpicture''Unveiling of painting in Worthing Town Hall  of a Westland Lysander by Mark Postlethwaite and donated by the  Worthing Mayors' Association. Pictured  unveiling  is the Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Bob Smytherman. Worthing Town Hall.

W47374H13-unveilingTownhallpicture''Unveiling of painting in Worthing Town Hall of a Westland Lysander by Mark Postlethwaite and donated by the Worthing Mayors' Association. Pictured unveiling is the Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Bob Smytherman. Worthing Town Hall.

A short unveiling ceremony was held on Tuesday in the presence of current mayor Bob Smytherman.

President of the association Peter Bennett, who held the mayoral chains between 1993 and 1994, said: “I think there is very little to remind people that Worthing didn’t have a very good time in the war.

“There were 1,000 air raids, and the town was on the front line.

“This painting makes you think about that.”

The artwork was painted by internationally-recognised Mark Postlethwaite, artist in residence at the RAF Museum in Hendon.

Although Lysanders saw active service in the Battle of France in 1940 their attributes as short landing and take off aircraft were not fully realised until during the four years of German occupation of France.

It was then, flying from Tangmere airfield, that these aircraft operated a regular service transporting British agents and French resistance fighters to and from isolated fields in northern France, until the successful allied landings took place in Normandy in 1944.

Mr Smytherman said the painting was a fitting gift for the town, and he thanked the association for presenting it.

He said: “It was a huge honour for me as current mayor to receive such a wonderful picture, which has taken a prominent position for everyone to see.

“I hope it will stand the test of time as a reminder of what the town went through in the war, and I thank the association for it.”

The painting is now on show on the ground floor of the town hall.