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Air Commodore Peter Brothers CBE, DSO, DFC* (deceased)
|Learnt to fly at the age of 16 and joined the RAF two years later in 1936. He first saw action in 1940 when as a Flight Commander in 32 Squadron, based at Biggin Hill, he flew his Hurricane against the fighters and bombers of the Luftwaffe. He recalls this as an intensely busy period, during which he shot down an Me109 - his first enemy aircraft; by the end of August that same year his tally of enemy aircraft shot down increased to eight. Awarded the DFC, he was transferred to 257 Squadron where he joined Bob-Stanford Tuck as a Flight Commander. Promoted in 1941 to Squadron Leader, Pete Brothers then took command of 457 Squadron RAAF, equipped with Spitfires. A year later when 457 Squadron returned to Australia, Pete took command of 602 Squadron. In the early autumn of 1942 he went on to become Wing Leader of the Tangmere Wing, succeeding his old friend, Douglas Bader. By the end of the war Pete Brothers had amassed 875 operational hours over a 44-month period. He was credited with having personally shot down 16 enemy aircraft and damaged many more. He later went on to command 57 Squadron during the Malaya campaign. Upon return to the UK Pete Brothers joined the V-Force, flying Valiant-4 jet bombers. He retired in 1973. Sadly, Pete Brothers died 18th December 2008.|
Group Captain Frank Carey (deceased)
|Born 7th May 1912. Frank Carey joined the Royal Air Force n 1927 as a 15 year old apprentice. Carey was first employed as a ground crew fitter and metal rigger but in 1935 Frank carey was selected in 1935 for a pilots course. He was then posted as a sergeant pilot to No 43 Squadron, the Fighting Cocks, whose aircraft he had been servicing. Demonstrating exceptional panache in the Hawker Fury biplane fighter, Carey was selected for the squadrons renowned aerobatics team which took part in many air displays. In early 1939, No 43 Squadron was re-equipped at Tangmere, Sussex, with the eight-gun Hurricane fighter. During World War Two, Frank Carey scored 25 enemy aircraft destroyed, one of the highest Allied fighter pilot totals. Carey opened his account at Acklington in Northumberland, when he shared in the destruction of several Heinkel shipping raiders during the cold winter of 1939-40. This was followed by a short spell at Wick defending the fleet at Scapa Flow before he was commissioned as a pilot officer and posted with No 3 Hurricane Squadron to Merville in France after the German invasion, adding to his total. After six days day of continuous combat, during which he bagged some 14 kills Carey was shot down. He had attacked a Dornier 17 bomber and was following it closely down in its last moments; the pilot was dead but the surviving rear gunner pressed his trigger to set Careys Hurricane alight, wounding him in a leg. The fire stopped, and Carey lwas forced to land between the Allied and enemy lines. Carey managed to get back by hitching a lift with a Belgium soldier on the back of his motorbike until he was picked up by a Passing Army truck which got him to a casualty station at Dieppe, he was put on a Hospital train but the train was attacked by the luftwaffe afer the attack the Engin eDriver had detache dthe train form the carriages and left the wounded. The wlaking wounded managed to push the carriages to the relative safety of La Baule on the coast. Frank Carey along with some other RAF personel managed to obtain a abandoned Bristol Bombay whihc they flew back to Hendon with Carey manning the rear gun. Carey found himself listed as missing believed killed and awarded a DFC and Bar to add to an earlier DFM. He returned to Tangmere just in time for the Battle of Britain. During the Battle of Britain, Carey was shot down during an attack on a large formation of German aircraft, when after several ships had been lost from a Channel convoy during the summer of 1940 Carey and five other Hurricane pilots of No 43 Squadron arrived on the scene to find enemy aircraft stretched out in great lumps all the way from the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg. Frank Carey said about the combat At the bottom were Ju87 dive-bombers; above these Me 109s in great oval sweeps, and above them Me 110s. Three of us got up into them. It was absolutely ludicrous - three of us to take on that mob. At one stage I found himself hooked on to the tail of the last of an echelon of 109s and started firing away quite merrily. Then I had an awful wallop. It was an Me 110 with four cannons sitting just behind me. There was a big bang and there, in the wing, was a hole a man could have crawled through. Carey was slightly wounded by an explosive bullet, then a second Me 110 attacked and caused damage to Carey's rudder; but he managed to return to Tangmere only to be fired at by its anti-aircraft guns. That he managed to land was, he said, a great tribute to the Hurricane. He had been in combat up to six times a day when on August 18, the squadron's losses enabled him to lead No 43 for the first time in an attack on a mixed bunch of fighters and Ju 87 dive-bombers. The fur was flying everywhere, he recalled. Suddenly I was bullet stitched right across the cockpit. Since Tangmere was under attack he turned away and found a likely field for a crash landing at Pulborough, Sussex, where his Hurricane turned violently upside down. he spent some time in hospital. In November 1941 he was posted to Burma with No.135 Sqn when war broke out in the Far East. No 135 was diverted to Rangoon in Burma , , On February 27 1942, Carey was promoted wing commander to lead No 267 Wing, though it could seldom muster more than six serviceable Hurricanes. After destroying several Japanese aircraft he was forced to move to Magwe. As Japanese air raids increased Carey turned the Red Road, the main thoroughfare across the city, into a fighter runway. One advantage, he recalled, was that it was quite possible to sit in Firpos, the citys fashionable restaurant, and take off within three to four minutes. I managed it on several occasions. Early in 1943, Carey formed an air fighting training unit at Orissa, south-west of Calcutta, for pilots who were unfamiliar with conditions and Japanese tactics. In November 1944 he was posted to command No 73 OTU at Fayid, Egypt, in the rank of group captain. Awarded the AFC, Carey returned to Britian as the war ended in 1945, where he was granted a permanent commission and went to teach tactics at the Central Fighter Establishment at Tangmere. After attending the Army Staff College he reverted to the rank of wing commander to lead No 135 Wing, 2nd Tactical Air Force in Germany, where he flew Tempests. Converting to jets, he moved to Gutersloh as wing commander, A succession of staff appointments followed until 1958 he was appointed air adviser to the British High Commission in Australia. Carey, who was awarded the US Silver Star and appointed CBE in 1960, retired from the Royal Air Force in 1962 and joined Rolls-Royce as its aero division representative in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, retiring in 1972 and moving back the the UK. . Frank Carey died 6th December 2004.|
Group Captain Peter Townsend CVO, DSO, DFC (deceased)
|Peter Townsend was one of the most inspirational fighter leaders of the Battle of Britain. In February 1940, flying a Hurricane, he had shot down the first German aircraft to fall on English soil in World War II, and this was the first of a string of successes for the popular commander of 85 Squadron. Shot down twice, wounded, and flying part of the Battle when he couldnt walk, Peter Townsend survived to lead the first night-fighter squadron. He later became Equerry to King George VI, a post he held for 8 years. He died 19th June 1995.|
Wing Commander Geoffrey Page DSO OBE DFC (deceased)
|Geoffrey Page was born in Boxmoor on 16th May 1920. Geoffrey Page developed an early interest in aviation, which is not surprising as he had an uncle who flew during the Great War and another uncle was Sir Frederick Handley Page, the great aircraft manufacturer. Page went to Dean Close School in Cheltenham, Glouscestershire, and later went to the Imperial College to study engineering. It was at college he joined the University Air Squadron at Northolt. Two weeks after the outbreak of the Second World War, Geoffrey Page received his call-up papers and joined the RAF with the rank of Acting Pilot Officer and went to Cranwell for advanced training. In May 1940 after a short period of instructing, Page was posted to 66 Squadron, flying Supermarine Spitfires but was almost immediately re-assigned to 56 Squadron where he was to fly the Hawker Hurricane. Whilst as a pilot officer with 56 squadron he took part in the Battles of France and Britain, and had accounted for three kills by the time he was shot down on the 12th August 1940 during the Battle of Britain. Flying behind his commanding officer, who was attacking a large formation of Dornier Do17 bombers, his Hurricane was hit and caught fire. Burning high-octane fuel sprayed into the cockpit, covering Page, resulting in very bad burns to his face and hands. Page parachuted out and his Hurricane crashed into the sea. After being picked up from the sea he was taken to the burns unit at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead, where he was treated by Sir Archibald MacIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon. He spent the next two years in hospital undergoing numerous plastic surgery operations. Both of his hands were burnt down to the bone, and his head had swollen to three times its normal size. Page had also received gunshot wounds to his legs. Page became a founding member of the Guinea Pig Club, where Sir Archibald MacIndoe was elected life time president and Geoffrey Page was its first chairman. In late 1942 he re-joined operations again as a Flight Lieutenant. He joined No.132 Squadron as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant, before volunteering for service in North Africa, but returned to the UK as the desert heat caused problems on his skin grafts. In July 1943 he won his first DFC. Later in the year he joined 122 Squadron as a Flight Commander, before re-joining No.132 Squadron in January 1944 as Commanding Officer. On 29th April 1944 Page led his squadron to strafe Deelen airfield in Holland, and attacked a Bf110 night fighter that was landing. Despite the odds, the Bf110 shot down two Spitfires, before Page forced the aircraft down and destroyed it. The pilot of the Bf110 was the famous Major Hans-Joachim Jabs, who survived. Page was later promoted Wing Leader of 125 wing, and after another DFC he won the DSO at the end of 1944. Page had achieved his goal of 15 victories (10 solo, 5 shared, and 3 damaged). After the war on a tour of the United States met his wife to be, the daughter of a British Hollywood actor. He left the R.A.F. in 1948 joining Vickers Armstrong. In retirement, Page remained the driving force of the Guinea Pig Club, and also founded the Battle of Britain Trust. This raised more than one million pounds, with which the Battle of Britain memorial was erected overlooking the Straits of Dover. In 1995 he was created an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. Sadly Alan Geoffrey Page DSO, OBE, DFC and Bar died 3rd August 2000.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Hurricane||Royal Air Force Fighter, the Hawker Hurricane had a top speed of 320mph, at 18,200 feet and 340mph at 17,500, ceiling of 34,200 and a range of 935 miles. The Hurricane was armed with eight fixed wing mounted .303 browning machine guns in the Mark I and twelve .303 browning's in the MKIIB in the Hurricane MKIIC it had four 20mm cannon. All time classic fighter the Hurricane was designed in 1933-1934, the first prototype flew in June 1936 and a contract for 600 for the Royal Air Force was placed. The first production model flew ion the 12th October 1937 and 111 squadron of the Royal Air Force received the first Hurricanes in January 1938. By the outbreak of World war two the Royal Air Force had 18 operational squadrons of Hurricanes. During the Battle of Britain a total of 1715 Hurricanes took part, (which was more than the rest of the aircraft of the Royal air force put together) and almost 75% of the Victories during the Battle of Britain went to hurricane pilots. The Hawker Hurricane was used in all theatres during World war two, and in many roles. in total 14,533 Hurricanes were built.|
|Artist Details : Robert Taylor|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Taylor|
The name Robert Taylor has been synonymous with aviation art over a quarter of a century. His paintings of aircraft, more than those of any other artist, have helped popularise a genre which at the start of this remarkable artist's career had little recognition in the world of fine art. When he burst upon the scene in the mid-1970s his vibrant, expansive approach to the subject was a revelation. His paintings immediately caught the imagination of enthusiasts and collectors alike . He became an instant success. As a boy, Robert seemed always to have a pencil in his hand. Aware of his natural gift from an early age, he never considered a career beyond art, and with unwavering focus, set out to achieve his goal. Leaving school at fifteen, he has never worked outside the world of art. After two years at the Bath School of Art he landed a job as an apprentice picture framer with an art gallery in Bath, the city where Robert has lived and worked all his life. Already competent with water-colours the young apprentice took every opportunity to study the works of other artists and, after trying his hand at oils, quickly determined he could paint to the same standard as much of the art it was his job to frame. Soon the gallery was selling his paintings, and the owner, recognising Roberts talent, promoted him to the busy picture-restoring department. Here, he repaired and restored all manner of paintings and drawings, the expertise he developed becoming the foundation of his career as a professional artist. Picture restoration is an exacting skill, requiring the ability to emulate the techniques of other painters so as to render the damaged area of the work undetectable. After a decade of diligent application, Robert became one of the most capable picture restorers outside London. Today he attributes his versatility to the years he spent painstakingly working on the paintings of others artists. After fifteen years at the gallery, by chance he was introduced to Pat Barnard, whose military publishing business happened also to be located in the city of Bath. When offered the chance to become a full-time painter, Robert leapt at the opportunity. Within a few months of becoming a professional artist, he saw his first works in print. Roberts early career was devoted to maritime paintings, and he achieved early success with his prints of naval subjects, one of his admirers being Lord Louis Mountbatten. He exhibited successfully at the Royal Society of Marine Artists in London and soon his popularity attracted the attention of the media. Following a major feature on his work in a leading national daily newspaper he was invited to appear in a BBC Television programme. This led to a string of commissions for the Fleet Air Arm Museum who, understandably, wanted aircraft in their maritime paintings. It was the start of Roberts career as an aviation artist. Fascinated since childhood by the big, powerful machines that man has invented, switching from one type of hardware to another has never troubled him. Being an artist of the old school, Robert tackled the subject of painting aircraft with the same gusto as with his large, action-packed maritime pictures - big compositions supported by powerful and dramatic skies, painted on large canvases. It was a formula new to the aviation art genre, at the time not used to such sweeping canvases, but one that came naturally to an artist whose approach appeared to have origins in an earlier classical period. Roberts aviation paintings are instantly recognisable. He somehow manages to convey all the technical detail of aviation in a traditional and painterly style, reminiscent of the Old Masters. With uncanny ability, he is able to recreate scenes from the past with a carefully rehearsed realism that few other artists ever manage to achieve. This is partly due to his prodigious research but also his attention to detail: Not for him shiny new factory-fresh aircraft looking like museum specimens. His trade mark, flying machines that are battle-scarred, worse for wear, with dings down the fuselage, chips and dents along the leading edges of wings, oil stains trailing from engine cowlings, paintwork faded with dust and grime; his planes are real! Roberts aviation works have drawn crowds in the international arena since the early 1980s. He has exhibited throughout the US and Canada, Australia, Japan and in Europe. His one-man exhibition at the Smithsonians National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC was hailed as the most popular art exhibition ever held there. His paintings hang in many of the worlds great aviation museums, adorn boardrooms, offices and homes, and his limited edition prints are avidly collected all around the world. A family man with strong Christian values, Robert devotes most of what little spare time he has to his home life. Married to Mary for thirty five years, they have five children, all now grown up. Neither fame nor fortune has turned his head. He is the same easy-going, gentle character he was when setting out on his painting career all those years ago, but now with a confidence that comes with the knowledge that he has mastered his profession.
More about Robert Taylor
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