Size: 24" x 18" Edition: 100 Subject: Lancaster over the Norfolk coast.
By April 1945 everyone, except a few die-hard fanatical Nazis, knew the war in Europe was over; the end was only a matter of time. So when Bomber Command dispatched a force of over 300 Lancaster bombers to destroy Hitler’s infamous Obersalzberg retreat at Berchtesgaden on 25 April, it would prove to be their last major raid of the war – just a few days later Hitler committed suicide as Berlin crumpled around him. In the early hours of 7 May General Alfred Jodl, Chief-of-Staff of German High Command, unconditionally surrendered all German armed forces and for the RAF the war in mainland Europe was finally over.
The fight had lasted for nearly six years during which time its airmen had faced unmitigated dangers and often appalling flying conditions, with moments of exhilaration balanced by those of terror because victory had come at a terrible price; of the 125,000 aircrew to have served in RAF Bomber Command 55,573 had been killed whilst in Fighter Command 3,690 airmen had paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Undoubtedly the aircrew who flew and fought with the RAF as it played its part in removing the tyranny of Nazi power and occupation from Europe were among the bravest of the brave and two aircraft above all others came to symbolise their heroic fight: the elegant Spitfire, magnificent in defence during the dark days of 1940, lethal in attack thereafter; and the awe-inspiring Avro Lancaster, the four-engined heavy bomber that from 1942 onwards formed the backbone of Bomber Command and allowed the RAF to take the war into the very heart of Hitler’s Germany.
In recognition of the role played by these two legendary aircraft and the men who flew them, Robert’s striking piece Home Again England depicts a scene during those final few weeks of the war. A battle-weary Lancaster limps home along the Norfolk coast with its outer starboard engine feathered and out of action following one of Bomber Command’s last daylight operations. Luckily a group of Mk.XIV Spitfires is on hand to provide close escort and will see the bomber safely back to base.
Each print in Robert Taylor’s Limited Edition, Home Again England, is signed by one of the most famous Lancaster pilots who is one of the elite group of Victoria Cross holders: Flight Lieutenant BILL REID VC