The painting depicts the front 7 aircraft of 152 Squadron as they break from line astern into the diving attack at the beginning of the combat, on the 18th August 1940.
(The Isle of Wight is in the lower half of the picture with Bembridge just visible behind the left wing of the nearest Spitfire.)
152 Squadron, led by F/ Lt. Derek Boitel-Gill were scrambled with 11 aircraft in response to the afternoon raid. Coming eastwards across the Isle of Wight at a height of around 4000 ft, at around 2.40 pm, they spotted about 30 Stukas of 1-DBG77, nearly at sea level, retreating down the Solent after their attack on Thorney Island, already fleeing from the interceptions made by 43 and 601 Squadrons.
Gill led an attack in line astern on the formation and 152 Squadron inflicted significant further damage on the retreating dive bombers. As a result of all three RAF squadrons’ attacks, and despite the efforts of the escorting Me109s, 10 Stukas were shot down, one damaged beyond repair and 4 more suffered lesser damage, out of 28 aircraft that had taken off on the raid. Two 152 Squadron aircraft suffered damage in the combat.
The result of this combat marked a turning point in forcing the Luftwaffe to withdraw more or less completely the Stuka dive bomber from the combat over England, due to the demonstrable vulnerability of the aircraft to fighter defences.
Boitel-Gill was awarded the DFC, but was tragically killed when his Hurricane hit the ground while assisting with gunnery training on 18th September 1941.