A RARE LIMITED EDITION BY ROBERT TAYLOR RECORDING AN INCIDENT NEAR ARRAS, FRANCE, ON 29 AUGUST, 1918.
Just before eight a.m. on the morning of 29 August, 1918, Flight Lieutenant Henry Botterell climbed his 208 Squadron Sop with Camel out of a forward airfield at Tramecourt, in northern France. Carrying four bombs, he headed west southwest towards his target at Vitry, just over 50 miles distant, and well into enemy occupied territory. Some 35 minutes into his mission, flying at around 100 mph at 12,000 feet he noticed a German observation balloon as he passed over Arras, and made a mental note to give it his attention on the return journey. Arriving over Vitry he dropped his bombs in the area of the railway station in an effort to disrupt communications, and headed back on the reciprocal course. As he passed to the north of Arras he could see the ground crew furiously winching the balloon down, and although aware of the danger of attacking normally heavily defended balloon installations, couldn't resist the opportunity to make an attack. Putting his Camel into a dive he swooped down pumping some 400 rounds into the target. With the balloon now hauled down around 1000 feet, the observer aboard had just seconds to make his escape, leaping from his basket and pulling at his parachute in the same motion.
Robert Taylor's fine painting captures the scene a few moments later: the balloon is aflame, the basket and a tangle of ropes and guys, binoculars, telescopes and maps plummeting towards the ground. The observer's parachute snaps open, as Henry Botterell banks his fighter clear of his victim - close enough to see the fear in his eyes that he too may fall victim to the Camel's guns. However, in the traditions of gallantry that prevailed among World War I fighter pilots, Henry merely waved a salute before heading back to base - no sense in waiting around to identify whether the other aircraft that had suddenly appeared were friend or foe. Below the drama, the rolling landscape of northern France unfolds, pockmarked with bomb craters yet tranquil in its natural rural beauty.
A very rare opportunity for aviation art enthusiasts and collectors to acquire a print by Robert Taylor individually hand-signed by a First World War fighter pilot: Henry Botterell, who at the time of signing was 100 years of age and believed to be the last living fighter pilot of all nations who fought in the First Great War.
This print is signed by distinguished World War One Fighter Pilot:
Flight Lieutenant Henry J L Botterell.
We are selling this print on behalf of one of our collectors. It was purchased from ourselves when released in 1998 and has been stored dark and flat since. It is in mint condition and is supplied with the original Certificate of Authenticity.
32 x 23 inches overall including borders.
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