On 14 June 1940, the first German jackboots were heard on the streets of Paris. Within days France signed an armistice and Hitler could now turn his avaricious eyes north and across the grey waters of the Channel. The island of Britain stood alone and, faced with the threat of imminent invasion, few gave her much chance of survival.
Before the all-conquering Panzers could invade, Germany needed to gain air superiority and Goering boasted that his Luftwaffe ‘would quickly sweep the RAF from the skies’ – how wrong he would be.
The Battle of Britain began on 10 July 1940 and for the next eight weeks most front-line squadrons were often flying four missions a day. Totally outnumbered by the Luftwaffe the RAF was close to breaking point by early September, with some units reduced to a handful of pilots and aircraft.
Then on 7 September, an over-confident Goering made a fatal error. Believing the RAF destroyed, he changed tactics and the Luftwaffe began bombing civilian targets in London. It was the respite that Fighter Command needed and the tide of battle was turned. Against overwhelming and seemingly impossible odds, a replenished RAF repelled the Luftwaffe and by the end of October it was over.
Richard Taylor’s stunning painting depicts Mk1 Spitfires from 92 Squadron undertaking a defensive sweep along the Kent coastline against a dramatic backdrop of the white cliffs of Dover, at the height of the battle in September 1940. The limited edition prints in this edition have been personally autographed by members of “The Few.”