David Rowlands: Military Artist
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Blenheim bombers attack enemy vessel, just east of Le Touquet   Blenheim bombers attack enemy vessel, just east of Le Touquet

On 19th June 1941, three Blenheim Bombers from 59 Squadron, RAF Thorney Island, were ordered to attack a German vessel hugging the French coast. With fighters above for protection, they found the vessel of 4,000 tons just off Le Touquet, with two escort ships close by and a destroyer not far away. They attacked at very low level, not much more than mast height.

The second aircraft, flown by Flying Officer Boyce, released its bombs and then, having scored a direct hit, took avoiding action under fire from the enemy ships. The aircraft, which was by now only feet above the water, struck the waves. The violent impact instantly tore off the port propeller and slightly damaged the starboard prop. "I pulled the stick back hard and somehow we staggered out of the water," was how the pilot described the feat. The aircraft flew back across the Channel on one engine with a propeller slightly bent, passing over Beachy Head just above the cliff-top, and finally the pilot made a successful belly-landing.

This painting was commissioned by Flying Officer Dudley Boyce’s daughter, Patricia A Webb.

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Printed image size(s): B2 only (58 x 38 cm)

Price(s): £65