Ground crew assess the damage as the Hurricane of F/O. Westmacott, of No. 56 Squadron taxis to a halt at North Weald airfield in the early evening. In the combat preceding near Foulness, Westmacott found himself alone and surrounded by Me110s. He made for cover into a small cloud to escape their persistent attention, but finding them circling the cloud ,he was forced to flick his Hurricane over into a full power vertical dive. In doing so his speed probably went up to around 450mph, making the controls almost unmovable from the forces involved, and he nearly blacked himself out from the G forces as he pulled out. The ruse however worked, and he was able to return to North Weald.
As he eased his damaged plane down and shut off the engine, the ground crewman spotted a large cannon hole just outside the port undercarriage where a whole panel had been blown off the underside of the wing, leaving a hole large enough for him to get his head and shoulders inside. On further inspection, the Hurricane was found to have sustained 26 other hits from machine gun fire too. One armour piercing bullet was found lodged in the centre of the seat back armour, it had only not penetrated this as it had already passed clean through one of the metal structural parts of the fuselage on its way in. Westmacott was uninjured in this encounter despite all of this. His subsequent career in the RAF throughout the conflict was most impressive, and he survived the war.
Oil on Canvas Board, Size c. 20"x16". Price £723 (+p&p large)