Like an archangel of yore, the image of a lone Spitfire patrolling the heavens of England to defend against the onslaught of the German war machine inspired a handful of American volunteers to fly and fight for the RAF. During the darkest months of the war these American pilots joined Britain in the fight against Germany’s seemingly invincible Luftwaffe.
A Time of Eagles is a salute to the daring American pilots of the three “Eagle Squadrons” who earned the respect of their fellow RAF pilots and a special place in history. In all, 244 brave aviators flew the most maneuverable plane of the time – the Spitfire – with elite “Eagle Squadrons” of the RAF. Many became leading aces of the war, earning service honors from both England and America. When the United States entered the War on September 15, 1942, the men of “Eagle Squadrons” transferred into the American Air Force and became the 4th Fighter Group.
A Time of Eagles portrays fighter pilot Oscar Coen as he soars through the clouds at sunset in his Spitfire. As one of the original members of “Eagle Squadron,” Coen earned Britain’s Distinguished Flying Cross and a French Cross of War as well as a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Silver Star from the United States Air Force. He is an ace, credited with 5.5 “kills.” During his service, he was shot down once in France near the coastal town of Dunkirk.
Looking back on his war years, Coen said: “There were as many reasons why we went to England as pilots. A lot of us saw the political ramifications of the war. We wanted to stop Hitler. But some of us were just adventurers. A lot of guys went because the British Spitfire was the hottest thing in the air and they wanted to fly it.”
This rare, secondary market print has been signed by the artist, William Phillips as well as:
Colonel OSCAR HOFFMAN COEN – 71 “Eagle” Squadron