HOLDING THE LINE
by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 33½" x 23½"
Edition Size: 600
They came across the English Channel at wave top height, their propeller slipstreams leaving wakes on the surface of the water. Nine Dornier Do17Z bombers of 9th Staffel, KG76, detailed to attack the RAF airfield at Kenley as part of Reichsmarshal Goring's prelude to Operation Sealion - the invasion of Britain. Hitler knew that RAF Fighter Command had to be destroyed in the air and on the ground if his plans were to succeed, but the German High Command failed to take into account the resilience of the young Hurricane and Spitfire pilots, and their determination to hold this last vital line of defense.
The Dorniers were spotted as they approached the English coast, and Hurricanes were scrambled to intercept. The German bombers cleared the North Downs with feet to spare and spread out into attack formation as they lined up on the hangars at Kenley. As they came in over the airfield Hurricanes of 111 Squadron came diving upon them. Suddenly all hell broke loose. Bombs rained down on the airfield and buildings went up in flames. One Dornier was brought down and two more, badly damaged by ground fire, were finished off by the Hurricane pilots. Now the chase was on to catch the others before they could escape back to their base in Northern France.
Nicolas Trudgian's action-packed "HOLDING THE LINE" depicts the scene as the surviving Dorniers reach the English coastline. The Dornier in the foreground, flown by F. W. Reichel, has been severely damaged by Treble One Squadron Hurricanes and will not return. Two more in the background will be forced down into the sea. Only one of the nine Dorniers that set out will return to base on that 18th day of August, 1940.
In addition to the artist’s signature this print is authenticated with the original signatures of THREE leading Hurricane pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain:
- Air Commodore JOHN ELLACOMBE (CB, DF)
- Group Captain ALEC INGLE (DFC, AFC)
- Group Captain JOHN PEEL (DSO, DFC)
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.