Robert Taylor records one of the 3 air victories scored by Bob Stanford-Tuck
on his first day in combat
Few fighter pilots scored a victory on their first day in combat. Bob
Stanford-Tuck managed to destroy no fewer than three enemy aircraft on
his first engagement with the enemy. Adding credit to this feat, the combat
took place during the early part of WWII when most of the time the RAF
pilots were heavily outnumbered.
Regarded by many to have been one of the most naturally talented fighter
pilots, Bob Stanford-Tuck demonstrated exceptional skill immediately he
started flying. He had complete mastery of his machine, be it Spitfire
or Hurricane, and an uncanny skill in the art of tactics and deflection
shooting in the heat of battle.
Fearless and effective in battle, no matter what the odds, Stanford-Tuck
achieved a significant 29 aerial victories as early as 1942 when he was
shot down by groundfire over Northern France.
Robert Taylor’s painting depicts Bob Stanford-Tuck destroying his
third enemy of the day – a Me110 – over Dunkirk, and Bob’s
own words when he saw the painting were :”The painting is so realistic.
That is just how I remember the action.”
High over the French port of Dunkirk tuck’s 92 squadron spitfire
is seen in vertical banking turn with the Me110 streaming smoke way below.
Certainly one of the most dramatic aviation paintings depicting the action
of the era, collectors will recognise the added value of this fighter
The late Bob Stanford-Tuck was an exuberant character. He joined the
RAF in 1935 and, after training at Grantham on Tutors, Harts, Furies and
Bulldogs, he gained his wings with the rating ‘exceptional’
. In 1936 he joined No 65 Squadron, first flying Demons, followed by Gauntlets,
Gladiators and then ,in 1938, Spitfires.
When war broke out he had already flown several hundred hours on Spitfires.
Bob flew his first combat mission on May 23 1940, during the Battle of
Dunkirk. Flying a Spitfire with No 92 Squadron, he destroyed an ME109
in the morning and two Me110s later in the same day. He fought an all
the great air battles over Dunkirk and the Channel during the build up
to the Battle of Britain. During the Battle he was posted to command No
257 Hurricane Squadron, which had suffered heavy casualties - a post he
held until mid 1941, when he took command of the Duxford Fighter Wing.
After a brief period in the USA h assumed command of the Biggin Hill Wing
consisting of four Spitfire Squadrons. In January 1942 he was shot down
by ground fire during a low-level attack over Northern France by which
time he had scored 29 air victories.
Overall Print Size 24" x 20"
Each print signed by Robert Taylor and countersigned by Wing
Commander Bob Stanford-Tuck.
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