Aircraft of No. 32 Squadron climbing over their base at Biggin Hill,turn in S. Easterly direction, upon sighting, in the distance the high level attacking Do17 bombers of 1st and 3rd Gruppen of KG 76 and fighters of ME110s of ZG 26 (just visible in the painting).
Sq/L. Micheal Crossley led the Squadron in a head on attack, splitting the squadron to attack the bombers and fighters separately. Once they turned into this attack the closing speed with the enemy will have been over 400mph making the now distant specks only a minute or two away. The bomber formation was broken up by the attack and many thus failed to bomb Kenley Airfield. The foreground aircraft is that of F/Lt. Russell, who was injured by return fire from an ME110 during the subsequent melee. He was forced to bale out and attempted to tourniquet his own leg while descending by parachute. He landed near the railway line at Edenbridge where a railway worker (who had recently received first aid training!), was able to do the job properly for him before helping to get him to a local hospital, where his leg was saved. (Russell also records he was kept well supplied with sherry there!)
Russell served a distinguished career in the RAF, but was shot down leading a rocket attack in a Typhoon near Boulogne in 1944 and taken PoW. He survived the war.
Oil on Canvas Board, Size c. 20"x16". Price £723 (+p&p large)