A Battle of Britain Spitfire from 610 Squadron takes on a Me109 from I./JG3 in a head-on attack high over the south coast port of Dover, in the late morning of 10 July 1940.
With the Battle of Britain in its early stages, on the morning of Wednesday July 10th, 1940, a convoy of slow-moving cargo ships heading along the south coast came under attack from a formidable force of Dornier Do17 bombers, escorted by five squadrons of fighters. RAF Fighter Command scrambled several squadrons to meet the oncoming force in an effort to protect the ships, and a massive dogfight involving more than a hundred planes developed in the region of Dover.
Ripping into the oncoming bombers, the RAF fighters attacked head-on – a hazardous tactic requiring great courage, but highly effective in unnerving bomber crews, causing them to swerve out of formation and abandon their target. Head-on collisions were not uncommon. The great battle raged well into the afternoon, and by evening the insurgents had been driven back to their bases in France to lick their wounds. Only one direct hit was scored by the enemy, when a 700 ton sloop was sunk. The Luftwaffe lost nineteen aircraft, and although the RAF had seven aircraft damaged, it only lost one pilot that day.
Robert Taylor’s painting captures a head-on attack between two seasoned pilots high over the port of Dover in the late morning of July 10th, 1940. A spitfire from 610 Squadron, flown by Squadron Leader Andrew Smith, has taken on a Me109 from I./JG3, the two aircraft having flashed past each other at a closing speed nearing 800mph. Smith was forced to crash-land his damaged aircraft at Hawkinge following this encounter, but the gallant squadron commander was to lose his life following combat with Me109s just two weeks later.
Below the dueling aces, other aircraft contest the air above the old port, while the coastline is seen stretching west into the distance. A superb limited edition recreating a typical scene from the first decisive battle ever fought exclusively in the air.
THE FIGHTER EDITION
Joining Robert Taylor, each print has been hand-signed by the following Battle of Britain pilots:
Wing Commander TERENCE KANE
Group Captain TOM DALTON MORGAN DSO OBE DFC*
Flight Lieutenant RICHARD JONES
Squadron Leader JOCELYN MILLARD AE
THE KNIGHTS CROSS EDITION & ARTIST PROOFS
The six signature Knight’s Cross Edition is additionally signed by the following two Luftwaffe Battle of Britain fighter Aces, both holders of the coveted Knight’s Cross:
Generalleutnant GÜNTHER RALL Knights Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords
Oberleutnant GÜNTHER SEEGER Knights Cross
THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN PROOF
Each copy in this exclusive edition has been signed by a total of FIFTEEN aircrew that flew and fought in the Battle of Britain.
Major HANS-EKKEHARD BOB Knights Cross
Oberleutnant ERWIN LEYKAUF
Wing Commander GEORGE “GRUMPY” UNWIN DSO DFM*
Wing Commander GEORGE SWANWICK
Group Captain GEORGE WESTLAKE DSO DFC
Wing Commander WILFRED M SIZER DFC*
Wing Commander PADDY BARTHROPP DFC AFC
Flight Lieutenant MICHAEL E CROSKELL
Squadron Leader DESMOND FOPP AFC
Of all the Robert Taylor Battle of Britain scenes, I think this one is the most under-rated. It’s a terrific combat scene, with lots of interesting detail in the scene below.