by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 37⅞" x 23½"
Edition Size: 550
Duxford: A name synonymous with military aviation. Built during the First World War, that most famous of airfields later became home to some of the most distinguished fighter squadrons of World War Two. That expanse of rolling Cambridgeshire countryside has harkened to the sounds of piston-engined aircraft for over 80 years. Base to the legendary Douglas Bader Fighter Wing during the Battle of Britain, it became home to countless thousand Americans of the 8th Air Force in 1942. Today it appropriately houses the magnificent American Air Museum, and hosts the many summer air-shows where crowds thrill to the sight and sound of the glorious veteran warbirds that fought in the hostile skies above Europe in World War II.
The 78th Fighter Group, briefly stationed at Goxhill, flew their P-47 Thunderbolts into Duxford in April 1943, the Group remaining operational there until the end of the war. Initially flying high altitude sweeps over France and Holland, the aggressive pilots spoiling for a scrap constantly challenged the Luftwaffe to come up and fight. As the great daylight raids built up, the 78th took up escort duties and, now equipped with the P-51 Mustang fitted with auxiliary tanks, flew and fought all the way to the target and back.
By the end of the war the 78th Fighter Group was credited with 688 enemy aircraft destroyed, 474 in the air, and another 406 destroyed on the ground during low-level strafing missions. Charles London of the 78th became the 8th Air Force's first fighter Ace of the war and a 78th pilot, Quince Brown, was the first to down a Me262 jet in August 1944.
Nicolas Trudgian’s amazing "DUXFORD EAGLES" vividly captures the heady atmosphere of a take-off sequence from a busy wartime Duxford. It is March 1945. Led by Colonel John Landers flying "Big Beautiful Doll", one of the 8th Air Force's most flamboyant fighters, the 78th P-51D Mustangs roar off the field to begin an escort mission taking B-17 Fortresses ¬already airborne in the background - all the way to Hamburg. Most of the hangars seen in this painting are still there today, beautifully maintained, housing flying examples of the legendary aircraft that won the Second World War.
In addition to the artist this print was hand-signed by:
Lieutenant Colonel CLARK W. CLEMENS
(flew 19 combat missions in the Mustang with the 84th Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group at Duxford)
Captain WAYNE L. COLEMAN
(flew 75 combat missions in the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P-51 Mustang; shot down three FW190s in a single mission and later a ME262 jet)
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.