“In the ‘Last of the First,’ I depict the first time a jet-propelled aircraft was shot down by British forces. The action took place over Nijmegen, Holland, on October 5, 1944. A combined force of Spitfires from the RAF and the Royal Canadian Air Force did the job. In order to gain enough speed to compete with a jet aircraft, the attackers had to dive from great heights. Hedley Everard, who countersigned this print, dove from far above the ME 262. He had to retire his Spitfire after the encounter because the stress of such speed almost tore it apart.” – Artist Frank Wootton
Each print has been signed by the artist as well as the pilot depicted:
Group Captain HEDLEY EVERARD DFC CD
Hedley Joseph Everard was one of Canada’s most successful flying aces during the Second World War and credited as being the first Commonwealth airman to shoot down a jet aircraft. He was born 26 December 1919 in Timmins, Ontario and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force 24 September 1940. He participated in every theater of the Second World War and was at one point taken by the Germans as a prisoner and later liberated by the Russians. After the war he became a test pilot for Canadair in Montreal testing supersonic jets and later worked for the federal government. He passed away in March 1999.