Spitfires Over Darwin by Robert Taylor - The Guardian's Edition

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SPITFIRES OVER DARWIN - The Guardian's Edition.

The Bombing of Darwin by Japanese aircraft shortly before 10am on the morning of 19 February 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 engined 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 and, flying their P-40E fighters, were able to hold the line until 77 Squadron Kittyhawks arrived to defend the 'Top End' in the latter part of 1942. Recognising the Japanese threat, Churchill despatched three Spitfire squadrons to Darwin in the Summer of 1942 as, 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 Wing, known as 'Churchill Wing', became operational in January 1943, scoring their first victory on 6th February. On 2nd March the Wing's Spitfires led by the legendary Wing Commander Clive Caldwell came up against Zero fighters - the first time the two types had met in Australian skies. The Spitfire pilots immediately took the upper hand, bringing down two Zeros without loss.

These encounters were the start of what became a highly successful air defence campaign, and by the end of the year the seasoned fighter pilots of No1 Fighter Wing had gained total air superiority and claimed over 100 victories. The Japanese withdrew and the attacks on Darwin ceased.

Specially Commissioned to Support the Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship at the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, Robert taylor depicts the Spitfire Vc tropicalised fighters of No 1 Wing RAAF returning from a scramble over the City of Darwin in early 1943. Flying in loose formation the pilots are able to admire for a few glorious moments the spectacular sunset above the coastal waters of the South Pacific.


The Print is Signed by Artist Robert Taylor and EIGHT veterans of No 1 Wing RAAF:-

Wing Commander Bob FOSTER - Flight Commander 54 Squadron

Flight Lt. Ted HALL - Flight Commander 452 Squadron

Chief Test Pilot Alex HENSHAW - Test Flew most of the Spitfire V's sent to Australia

Flight Lt. Don MACLEAN - Flight Commander 457 Squadron

Flight Lt. John BISLEY - Flight Commander 452 Squadron

Flight Lt. Ron CUNDY - Flight Commander 452 Squadron

Air Commodore Ken JAMES - Commanding Officer 457 Squadron

Squadron Leader Ron MACDONALD - Commanding Officer 452 Squadron

The Print measures 25x19 Inches


This Edition also includes a Companion Pencil Print 'GUARDIAN'S OF THE TOP END' which is signed by:-

Rt. Hon. Sir John GORTON - Former Flight Lt 77 Squadron RAAF & Prime Minister of Australia 1968-1971

The Companion Print measures 18.5 x 14.5 Inches.

The Prints come with the CoA and the Sales Brochure

A RARE opportunity to acquire a long SOLD OUT Edition.