Robert Taylor is not only one of the most popular aviation artists in the World, but also one of those who continue to set the standards for historically correct military art.
This is the second picture in his new trilogy, The Hardest Days, created to commemorate the Battle of Britain. This evocative painting, entitled Hornchurch Scramble, portrays a moment in the history of No. 54 Squadron, late in the afternoon of Sunday, 18 August 1940.
That afternoon brought a moment of lull to exhausted young pilots of No. 54, who could rest for a few brief minutes and reflect on their own previous two encounters with the enemy that day. The Luftwaffe had thrown everything at them in the past few days, but that day had already been the toughest of them all.
Then, suddenly, the calm was shattered by the shrill tones of the alarm, the Luftwaffe had launched another huge raid of over 300 aircraft across the Channel, and it looked like Hornchurch was the target.
In Taylor’s painting, the unit’s commanding officer, Sqn/Ldr James Leathart, taxis out to prepare for take-off. Quickly following, the aircraft of New Zealander Colin Gray is guided out from dispersal by his ground crew. Gray would claim 3 Messerschmitts Bf 110 in the encounter and would eventually become the top scoring New Zealand ace of the war.
This painting is available as limited edition print, personally signed by artist Robert Taylor, and individually hand-numbered, copies can be ordered online via Aviation Art.
[Aviation Art, used by permission]