by Philip E. West.
Overall print size approx. 18½" x 27” (47cms x 68cms)
The Hawker Hurricane, long remembered as the 'other fighter' of the Battle of Britain. Available in large enough numbers prior to the battle, the aircraft proved to be the mainstay of the RAF and went on to record a formidable reputation as a robust machine offering its pilots a steady gun platform. In terms of victories over enemy aircraft it was the most successful of all British fighters.
This particular Hurricane was the aircraft of Wg. Cdr. Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE of 249 Squadron based at North Weald December 1940. After another long day of confronting enemy aircraft, the pilot has left his trusted aircraft in the safe hands of highly respected groundcrew.
Tom was one of the RAF's most successful fighter pilots, credited with 17 victories, the majority of which being claimed during the Battle of Britain.
The primary Edition is signed by former Hurricane pilot Wing. Cmdr. Peter Ayerst. Presentation Prints are signed by the artist and Wg. Cdr. Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE
Wing Commander Peter Ayerst DFC. Few RAF pilots flew operationally from the beginning to the end of the Second World War. Fewer still can claim to have experienced action from Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain, El Alamein and the D-Day landings, to bomber escort duty in the closing days of the war in Europe. Peter Ayerst is one such man. Peter joined the RAF in 1938 on a short service commission and was despatched to France when war broke out. After serving with legendary fighter ace Douglas Bader, Peter was posted to North Africa in 1942 where he was forced to crash-land his Hurricane in a minefield.
Peter flew Spitfires on intruder sorties over France before and during D-Day, on bomber escort duty against V-weapons sites and in support of mass daylight raids deep into Germany. Awarded the DFC in December 1944, he also flew as fighter escort to King George VI's Dakota. By the war's end, Peter had flown every mark of Spitfire and Hurricane in the RAF's inventory! This stood him in good stead after the war when he worked with famous test pilot Alex Henshaw: he was part of the flight-test crew when Henshaw rolled a Lancaster.
Wing Commander Tom Neil DFC* AFC AE was one of the RAF’s most successful fighter pilots, credited with the destruction of more than 17 enemy aircraft, the majority of which during the Battle of Britain. He went on to see further combat in Malta before returning to the UK to fly Spitfires over the Channel and elsewhere during 1943. Attached to the American 9th Air Force in 1944, he took part in the invasion of Normandy and remained with the USAAF until the border of Germany was reached. Later, he briefly saw action in Burma.