Depicting 184 Squadron Hawker Typhoons during a mission that took place on 25th April 1945 near Schwarzenbek, Germany. Eight Typhoons in total were attacking what was initially identified as a German Flak train. It wasn't until after the engagement and subsequent witness reports that this was revealed as a passenger train being defended by mobile Flak units. These misjudgements were a sad reality of war and referred to as the 'fog of war'. In situations where pilots are in rapid descent whilst under fire, it is understandable how target assessment can be clouded.
During the strike Red Leader F/O Gil Gilham from the first wave was hit by flak and crashed into a farm field. The paintings title is reference to the other pilots realisation that Gil had been hit.
The scene was commissioned by the son of F/O Sidney Russell-Smith (foreground Typhoon). Sidneys Squadron nick name was “Junior “ due to his age of only 20 when flying this particular mission. At the time of the paintings completion Sidney is alive at 95 years old and thought to be one of only two surviving pilots from 184 Squadron which he was assigned to at the time. Sidney previously flew with 174 Squadron until they disbanded at B100 Goch. He retired in 1974 as acting Squadron Leader.
Special acknowledgement to those who provided historical information ensuring the authenticity and accuracy of the scene: F/O Sidney Russell-Smith, Dave Russell-Smith, Historical Researchers; Allan Hillman (UK) Mark Senior (Germany) and Archivist Dr Lukas Schaefer from the Stadtarchiv Schwarzenbek, Germany.
Pilots - First wave: F/O William Henry Gilham (Red Leader), Sgt Machett (top left), F/O Cleece (top right), Sgt Morgan (top centre)
Pilots - Second wave: F/L Stevenson (Blue Leader - rockets away), F/O Osbourne (out of view), F/O Russell-Smith (foreground), F/O Vane (out of view)
In memory of F/O William Henry Gilham and pilots of 184 Squadron. Operational dates 1st December 1942 - 10th September 1945
"Per Ardua Ad Astra"
Also remembering two civilians who tragically lost their lives in the attack.
15% of each sale goes to the 'Hawker Typhoon Preservation Group'.
Title: Gil's Down
Print method: Giclee
Number of prints in the edition: 184 (all sizes combined make up a total of 184 prints)
Paper size: 20.125" x 15.125"
Image size: 18.125" x 11.625"
Paper size: 31.25" x 23.25"
Image size: 28.25" x 18"
Individually artist signed: Yes
Certificate of authenticity: Yes
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