by Nicolas Trudgian


Aircraft – Spitfire

Like the Messerschmitt 109, its great adversary throughout almost six years of aerial combat, the Spitfire was a fighter par excellence. Good as many other types may have been, these two aircraft became the symbols of the two opposing air forces they represented. Their confrontation, which began in 1940 during the Battle of Britain, continued without interruption until the last days of World War II.

From an air force teetering on the edge of extinction in the dark days of 1940, by the summer of 1944 the pilots of RAF Fighter Command had fought their way back to become top dog. When the invasion of northern France came, they swept over the beaches in force, cutting deep into enemy territory, hammering the enemy in the air and on the ground. Key to this air superiority was the supreme performance of the Spitfire, its ability to out-fly the Luftwaffe’s best, and the wily leadership of the pilots who had survived the early air battles of the war.
Among the best was 26 year old Pete Brothers, by 1944 a highly successful and experienced fighter pilot commanding his own Wing. Having fought through the battles of France and Britain and with a clutch of air victories to his credit, he took command of the Exeter Wing in 1944, and then the Culmhead Wing, ideally placed to support the coming invasion of Normandy.

Nicolas Trudgian’s striking painting recreates a typical scene as Mk IX Spitfires of 126 Squadron, led by Wing Commander Pete Brothers flying his Mk VII Spitfire wearing high altitude paint scheme, race back to base at RAF Culmhead after a low level attack on enemy transport in Normandy. The Culmhead Spitfire Wing flew constant armed ‘Rhubarb’ attacks in support of the invasion from D-Day (June 6th 1944) until the first improvised strips were established in France a few weeks later.

This beautiful aviation print, contrasting the frenetic pace of war with a restful English coastal landscape, evokes the memory of a legendary fighter aircraft that, flown by gallant pilots helped to change the course of history.

Overall print size: 30½ inches wide x 23½ inches high.

Signed in pencil by the artist Nicolas Trudgian and three highly distinguished World War II Spitfire pilots: Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE DSO DFC*, Lieutenant General Baron Mike Donnet CVO DFC, Squadron Leader Arthur ‘Joe’ Leigh DFC DFM.

500 signed and numbered prints -

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