Robert Taylor Catalogue

LEGEND OF COLIN KELLY

by Robert Taylor

LEGEND-OF-COLIN-KELLY-ROBERT-TAYLOR, B-17, Zero


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 Cross.
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.

750 signed and numbered prints


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