They were one of the great fighter units of World War II. Led by the audacious Douglas Bader – who had lost both his legs in a pre-war flying accident – the Spitfire Wing at Tangmere was in the thick of the action during the tumultuous aerial battles that took place over the Channel and Pas de Calais in 1941. Dueling on a daily basis with the cream of the Luftwaffe, especially the pilots of Galland’s JG26 based at Abbeville, many of Bader’s young Spitfire pilots were to become some of the RAF’s greatest fighter leaders: Names such as Hugh “Cocky” Dundas, Ken Holden and Johnnie Johnson who all signed these now extremely rare prints together, of course, the signature of Douglas Bader.
Robert Taylor is one of the few aviation artists who personally knew Douglas Bader and who benefited from the great fighter leader’s knowledge. The striking piece, which portrays Douglas Bader leading his Wing in ‘Finger Four’ formation across the Sussex coast towards France on a fighter sweep in early 1941, was composed with a great deal of technical and historical input from Douglas Bader and such is their scarcity that pristine examples of these highly-sought after pieces rarely, if ever, appear on the secondary market.
In addition to the artist, each print in this edition was hand signed by the following legendary RAF Fighter Aces who flew with Bader in the Tangmere Wing:
Group Captain SIR DOUGLAS BADER CBE DSO* DFC* – 24 victories
Group Captain HUGH ‘COCKY’ DUNDAS CBE DSO* DFC – 6 victories
Air Vice Marshal JOHNNIE JOHNSON CB CBE DSO** DFC* – 38 victories
Wing Commander KEN HOLDEN OBE DFC – 6 victories
This copy of Tangmere Wing has been framed and conservation matted to include museum quality replica RAF wings as well as the autographs of two additional distinguished RAF fighter pilots that flew with Douglas Bader.
Wing Commander GEORGE UNWIN DSO DFM* – 19 Sqn / 14 victories
Squadron Leader “BUCK” CASSON DFC AFC – 616 Sqn / 4 victories
Although the print edition was published and signed in 1981 it wasn’t actually released until 1997 and was completely oversubscribed, selling out immediately. Seldom available on the secondary market, it has become one of the most sought after prints in the world of aviation art.