Spitfires Over Darwin

by Robert Taylor

25" by 19"

Robert Taylor's beautiful painting, dedicated to the Spitfire Memorial Defense Fellowship, depicts the Mark Vc tropicalized Spitfires of No 1 wing RAAF returning from a Scramble over the city of Darwin in early 1943.

Specially commissioned edition commemorating the gallant Spitfire Wing that defended Australia against the onslaught of the Japanese. Commemorative prints from this specially published edition are signed by distinguished Australian fighter pilots who flew both in Europe and in the defense of Australia during WWII.

Flight Commander's Edition
Signed by 4 Australian WWII fighter pilots - $425
Wing Commander Bob Foster DFC
Flight Lieutenant Ted Hall
Chief Test Pilot Alex Henshaw
Flight Lieutenant Don MaClean DFC

The bombing of Darwin by Japanese aircraft shortly before 10:00 am on the morning of February 19, 1942, brought the northern region of Australia directly into the war in the South Pacific. The surprise attack caught the Royal Australian Air Force with only a handful of Wirraway trainers and a squadron of Hudson twin-engine bombers to defend the Northern Territories, and a Japanese invasion looked a possibility. Fortunately the USAAF 49th Group were transiting through Darwin at the time, en route to Java and, flying their P-40E fighters, they were able to hold the line until 77 Squadron Kittyhawks arrived to defend the 'Top End' in the latter part of 1942. At the time Australia's only Spitfire squadrons were operating successfully in Europe as part of RAP's 11 Group, but Churchill, recognizing the Japanese threat to Australia, dispatched three Spitfire squadrons to Darwin in the Northern summer of 1942. Simultaneously a group of talented young Australian pilots returned home from service in North Africa and Malta to join the newly formed Wing. Number One Fighter Wing, known as the "Churchill Wing", became operational in January 1943, scoring their first victory on February 6th. Shortly after on March 2nd, the Wing's Spitfires led by the legendary Wing Commander Clive Caldwell came up against Zeros - the first time the two types had met over Australian skies. The Spitfire pilots immediately took the upper hand, bringing down two Zeros without loss - a portend of what was to come. These early encounters were the start of what became a highly successful air defense campaign, and by the end of the year the seasoned fighter pilots of No 1 Fighter Wing had gained total air superiority, and had claimed over 100 victories. The Japanese withdrew and the attacks of Darwin ceased.

Commanding Officer's Edition - signed by 8 Australian WWII fighter pilots - SOLD OUT

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