The distinction of being the first RAF unit to operate from French mainland soil since the fall of France in 1940 went to Johnnie Johnson's 144 Canadian Wing on June 10th, 1944. It was a milestone in the hard fought air war against the Luftwaffe which had commenced with the air battles over France a long four years before.
Constructed in three days by RAF servicing Commandos, the first temporary airstrip in Normandy received its Mark IX Spitfires on D-Day-plus-four marking the beginning of Fighter Command's aggressive thrust through France and across the Rhine to final victory.
Converted from virgin farmland into a serviceable airstrip using Summerfield Tracking, the RAF's first airfield across the Channel nestled into the idyllic Normandy countryside just outside the village of St. Croix-Sur-Mer. Displaying their invasion stripes the Spitfires roared into St. Croix to the cheers of local country folk following a sweep well south of the beach-head.
Within twenty minutes they were re-fuelled, re-armed and ready for take-off, a tribute to the ingenuity of the highly trained ground personnel who so ably supported the men who flew.
Robert Taylor's specially commissioned painting captures the historic take-off from St. Croix, as Johnnie Johnson leads his Canadians off the hastily constructed strip for the first combat sweep emanating from French soil since the RAF's abrupt departure from France almost exactly four years earlier.
Robert Taylor's rare print is signed by the legendary top-scoring Ace Johnnie Johnson and two of the distinguished Canadian Spitfire pilots whose aircraft are seen in the painting, Danny Browne and Larry Robillard.
Overall Print Size: 34" x 24"
Edition Size: 1250 Signed and Numbered Prints