Aircraft – B-17, Zero
December 7th, 1941, while the
Pacific Fleet took a hammering in Hawaii, Japanese aircraft from Formosa
were attacking refuelling B-17s on the ground at Clark Field on the island
of Luzon in the Philippines. The only surviving B-17s being those dispersed
to a small strip at Mindanao.
On December 10th 1941, the surviving19th Bomb Group B-17s returned to
the damaged Clark Field to load bombs. Captain Colin Kelly had managed
to only get three 600lb bombs aboard when the air raid alarm was sounded.
Kelly took off immediately, heading for enemy ships off the coast of Luzon.
Having located a landing force approaching the coast off Appari, Kelly
selected the largest ship in the flotilla, the heavy cruiser Ashigara,
scoring a direct hit bombing from 22,000 feet. Heading towards Clark Air
Field, Kelly descended through broken cloud to 11,000 feet where his B-17
was jumped by a flight of 10 Japanese Zero fighters, attacking one by
one in line astern. One burst of enemy fire went right through the middle
of the aircraft taking the life of Kelly’s flight engineer and setting
the aircraft on fire. With the aircraft mortally damaged and still under
attack, Kelly ordered his crew to bail out while he held the aircraft
steady. The aircraft exploded throwing the co-pilot Donald Robins clear.
The B-17 came down in pieces with the gallant skipper still at the controls.
He had no chance of survival.
Captain Colin Kelly was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service
Robert Taylor depicts Kelly’s B-17 under heavy attack from Zero
fighters led by Japanese Ace, Saburo Sakai. Sakai later said “Out
of ammunition, I flew alongside the B-17 and saw the pilot trying to save
the burning aircraft after allowing his crew to escape. I have tremendous
respect for him.”
Overall print size: 33¼
inches wide x 25¼ inches high
Signed in pencil by the artist
Robert Taylor and the two surviving members of Captain Colin P Kelly’s
B-17C crew to authenticate the most realistic portrayal of the events
of that fateful day, December 10th 1941: Master Sergeant James E Halkyard,
Staff Sergeant Robert E Altman.
Including a matching numbered print ‘Rising Sun’ (18 inches
x 13½ inches) – a study of the Mitsubishi A6M2 Zero fighter
of Japanese 64 victory fighter Ace, Saburo Sakai. Signed by Saburo Sakai
and initialled by the artist.
signed and numbered prints
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