Tropical Duties by Richard Taylor features Mk III Sunderland from 230 Squadron in the Indian Ocean.
On Wednesday 22 June 1938 a new sound was heard over the humid streets of Singapore as four Bristol Pegasus radial engines heralded the arrival of the RAF’s newest flying-boat- the Short Sunderland. For the men of 230 Squadron gathering on the slipway at Seletar, the approaching aircraft looked formidable and even from a distance, they could spot the powerful array of .303 machine guns it possessed.
As the big aircraft landed and taxied in, it towered over the obsolete bi-planes moored alongside. The squadron had been flying Short Singapores ever since they arrived here two years earlier but now, with war looming and recognising the strategic importance of Singapore, the Squadron had been chosen as one of the first units to be re-equipped with the world’s most advanced flying boat - the Sunderland.
Tough and reliable, the Sunderland would prove that it could turn its hand to almost any role that was asked of it. With a range approaching 3,000 miles it was ideal for the long-range maritime reconnaissance patrols it would need to cover the vast expanse of the Indian Ocean, especially following Japan’s callous entry into the war and the fall of Singapore. Sunderlands would play a vital role in protecting the convoys to India and supplying isolated bases across the Indian Ocean.
As the war progressed, Sunderland flying-boats were increasingly used to attack enemy shipping between Burma and Malaya in the Bay of Bengal and over a 32 day period in the summer of 1944 two Sunderlands from 230 Squadron evacuated 537 critically wounded soldiers from the Chindit special forces by landing on a lake deep behind enemy lines in Burma. Following the Japanese surrender 230 Squadron found themselves once more in Singapore, this time to repatriate Allied POWs liberated from Japanese camps.
Each print in Richard Taylor's Limited Edition, Tropical Duties, is signed by three of the last surviving veterans who flew and fought against the Japanese in Sunderland's with 230 Squadron:
Flight Lieutenant WILLIAM HALLISEY
Flight Lieutenant GRAHAM STEVENS
Flight Lieutenant WILLIAM ‘EDDIE’ BARDGETT.
34 x 23 inches overall including borders.
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