by Robert Taylor
Many WWII bomber stations shared Lancaster and Mosquito squadrons, and a healthy rivalry developed between the respective crews. Often Lancasters and Mosquitos would set off from the same airfield to attack the same target, the Mosquitos taking off an hour after the Lancasters and usually managing to get back to base an hour ahead of them. Much good natured ribbing between the crews took place in the local hostelries, which led to firm friendships between aviators flying the two different types.
Over the target they became 'blood brothers' and fought tooth and nail to protect each other in the event of attack by enemy fighters. On more than one occasion the bond between crews was such that a Mosquito crew would stay behind to escort home a damaged Lancaster.Usually the sight of a Mosquito 'riding shotgun' was enough to deter any further attack, and many Lancaster crews had their friendly Mosquito companions to thank for their safe return.
In 'Cloud Companions' Robert Taylor portrays just such an event. A Lancaster has been damaged and is left behind the main force to make its own perilous way home as best it can. Seeing the vulnerability of their friends, a Mosquito crew expose themselves to the same dangers, and throttle back to stay alongside the injured war bird. Perhaps tonight they will all drink and laugh together in the local pub.......perhaps.
Meantime the drama unfolds: Dawn has broken, the visibility is unlimited. They have yet to make the Channel crossing and enemy fighters are in the area. The crew of the Lancaster struggle to maintain flying speed and enough height to bring their large four engined aircraft home. In his painting Robert manages to convey the desperate urgency of the situation with masterful strokes of his brush, providing an image of war that is poignant, emotive, yet beautiful to behold.
Overall print size: 34 inches wide x 24 inches high
Each print is signed by a COMPLETE Lancaster crew:
in pencil by the artist Robert Taylor and a complete Lancaster crew of
distinguished aviators, having flown over 400 operational missions between
them. Pilot: Bill Reid VC; Navigator: John Costello; Bomb Aimer: Len Sumpter;
Flight Engineer: Lyndon Sims; Signaller/Gunner: Roly Hammersley; Mid Upper
Gunner: Fred Coney; Rear Gunner: Howie Wing;
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