To fly a small aircraft at the dead of night, without radio communication or navigational assistance, deep into enemy occupied territory, was an extremely perilous task. Most suited aircraft to these World War II clandestine operations of the RAF’s Special Duties Squadrons, was the rugged Westland Lysander.
Weather permitting, operations were carried out during the moon’s fullest phase. With only torch light to guide him, the pilot made a hazardous night landing into an isolated field at a pre-arranged time, trusting that agents on the ground had checked the field for cart tracts and loitering Gestapo. Every mission required ice cool bravery and nerves of steel.
Robert Taylor captures to perfection the secret world of the Special Operations pilot with his atmospheric painting. Packed with tension, he recreates the high drama of a typical rendezvous as a pilot from No.161 Squadron based at Tangmere, readies his aircraft for take-off in a remote field deep inside occupied France. Clutching a Luger in one hand, he completes pre-takeoff checks as three passengers are spirited away by an armed member of the French Resistance. It is July 1943.
Each print has been personally signed by the artist Robert Taylor and four highly decorated Special Duties pilots and one of the most famous secret agents of WWII:
Captain MURRAY ANDERSON
Lieutenant Colonel CAMMAERTS FRANCIS
Air Chief Marshal SIR LEWIS HODGES KCB CBE DSO DFC
Wing Commander LEN RATCLIFF
Group Captain HUGH VERITY