In his painting Robert Taylor takes us to the heart of the action with breathtaking clarity as he portrays Bader leading his wing into the fray on that afternoon of 15 September 1940. As their Bf109 escorts begin to run out of fuel, the enemy bombers were left to fend for themselves. They were savaged. By late afternoon it was over and whilst the Daily Mail and the press made much of the RAF's initial optimistic claims – the Luftwaffe had actually lost nearly 60 aircraft and 150 aircrew. The RAF had lost less than half that number of aircraft and only 13 pilots. The tide of the Battle of Britain had turned in the RAF's favor, and German High Command knew it.THE GREATEST DAY FOR THE RAF – HALF RAIDERS BROUGHT DOWN: 375 CAME, ONLY 175 RETURNED
Hitler's air force returned to mass daylight raids yesterday and the RAF gave them the most shattering defeat they have ever known.
The Daily Mail 16 Sept 1940
Sunday 15 September 1940 and Luftwaffe supremo Hermann Goering believed victory over the RAF was at hand. Today, he decreed, would be the day that his 'glorious' Luftwaffe would finally break the back of Fighter Command's stubborn resistance. Or so he believed.
In response to a massed formation of enemy aircraft detected heading for London, Air Vice Marshal Keith Park commanding 11 Group scrambled his squadrons. He also requested that 12 Group bring Douglas Bader's 'Big Wing' down from Duxford. Every available pilot and machine was committed. Prime Minister Winston Churchill turned to Park and asked "What other reserves have we" "There are none", Park replied.
Bader now had five squadrons racing south, meeting what remained of the enemy on the outskirts of London.
With a successful morning behind them the RAF fighters raced back to re-fuel and re-arm. Just after 14.00 hrs another enemy battle group was observed and this time the formations were even larger. Bader's Wing was scrambled once more.
Limited Edition:Wing Commander TOM NEIL DFC* AFC - Hurricane Pilot with 249 Sqn / 14 victories
Wing Commander JOHN 'TIM' ELKINGTON - Hurricane Pilot with 1 Sqn / 1 victory
Collectors Editions include signatures above plus:
Generalleutnant GÜNTHER RALL Knight's Cross, Oak Leaves & Swords - Bf109 Pilot with JG52 / 275 victories, the third highest-scoring Ace of all time
Squadron LeaderTONY PICKERING AFC - Hurricane Pilot with 32 & 501 Sqns / 1 victory
Flying Officer KEN WILKINSON - Spitfire Pilot with 616 & 19 Sqns
Anniversary Editions include all above plus:
Generalleutnant ADOLF GALLAND Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves, Swords & Diamonds - Commanded JG26 on Bf109's / 104 victories - the legendary Luftwaffe Fighter General.
Flight Lieutenant ARCHIE McINNES - Hurricane Pilot with 601 & 238 Sqns
Flight Lieutenant TERRY CLARK DFM AE - WOp/AG on Blenheims with 219 Sqn / 6 victories
Flight Lieutenant WILLIAM 'BOB' HUGHES DFC AE - WOp/AG on Blenheims with 23 Sqn
Wing Commander RICHARD 'DICKIE' SUMMERS AFM OBE - Observer on Blenheims with 219 Sqn
Battle of Britain Tribute Edition includes all above plus the following PLUS a matted original pencil drawing:
Squadron Leader LAWRENCE THOROGOOD DFC AE - Hurricane Pilot with 87 Sqn / 1 victory
Squadron Leader JOCELYN MILLARD AE - Hurricane Pilot with 1 Sqn
Squadron Leader 'STAPME' STAPLETON DFC - Spitfire Pilot with 603 Sqn / 8 victories
Squadron Leader ARTHUR LEIGH DFC DFM - Spitfire Pilot with 64 & 72 Sqns / 7 victories
Wing Commander PADDY BARTHROPP DFC AFC - Spitfire Pilot with 602 Sqn / 5 victories
Group Captain BILLY DRAKE DSO DFC* - Hurricane Pilot with 1 Sqn / 22 victories
Wing Commander ERIC BARWELL DFC* AE - Defiant Pilot with 264 Sqn / 9 victories
Squadron Leader ROY MCGOWAN - Hurricane Pilot with 46 Sqn
Wing Commander KEN MacKENZIE DFC AFC AE - Hurricane Pilot with 501 Sqn / 12 victories
Warrant Officer DAVID DENCHFIELD - Spitfire Pilot with 610 Sqn
THE MATTED SIGNATURES:
Group Captain Sir DOUGLAS BADER CBE DSO* DFC* FRAeS DL - Hurricane Pilot with 242 Sqn / 23 victories
Group Captain DESMOND SHEEN DFC - Spitfire Pilot with 72 Sqn / 4 victories
Major JOACHIM MÜNCHEBERG Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves & Swords - Bf109 Pilot with JG26 / 102 victories
Hauptmann SIEGFRIED BETHKE Iron Cross 1st Class - Bf109 Pilot with JG2 / 14 victories
Oberstleutnant HANS-JOACHIM JABS Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves - Bf110 Pilot with ZG76 / 50 victories
Oberstleutnant ERICH WEISSFLOG Knight's Cross - Radio Operator in Bf110s with ZG76 / 48 victories
Feldwebel WILLI WUST Knight's Cross – Radio Operator in Bf110s with ZG26 / 8 victories
Ambassador FRANZ ELLES - Bf109 Pilot with JG27 / 5 victories
WING COMMANDER TOM NEIL HAS ALSO SIGNED EACH DRAWING