S.E.5a Scouts of No. 85 Squadron prepare to leave their airfield at St. Omer, France, June 1918.
The S.E.5a was one of the finest of all World War One fighters, and was flown by most of the Great War’s top-scoring Allied pilots.
No. 85 Squadron was formed at Upavon on 1 August 1917 and in March 1918 command of the unit was taken by Canadian Fighter Ace William Avery ‘Billy’ Bishop, VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED, who prepared the unit to deploy to France.
In June 1918 there was a change of command following the arrival of the new CO another legendary Fighter Ace, Major Edward “Mick” Mannock VC, DSO & Two Bars, MC & Bar, who was killed whilst flying with the unit the following month.
‘Billy’ Bishop would become the highest scoring Canadian and British Empire ace of WWI, with 72 victories and ‘Mick’ Mannock was also one of the most successful and highly decorated Aces with 61 victories.
No. 85 Squadron boasted numerous other notable Aces such as Spencer Horn (13 victories), Walter Longton (11 victories), Malcolm McGregor (11 victories) & Arthur Randall (10 victories) and was extremely successful amassing 99 victories during its short involvement in the war.
The print is individually numbered and signed by the artist Robert Taylor.