Desert Vulture by Robert Bailey

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A limited edition depicting an intense battle on May 31, 1942, near El Adem in North Africa. Wing Commander H. A. 'Jimmy Fenton, leading 274 Squadron RAF, attacks a Ju-87B Stuka of 1./StG-3. Meanwhile, top cover Spitfires descend to help in the attack on German armor. Allied tanks suddenly appear from the northwest to attack the German base!

There is a belt of approximately 20 km which parallels the coast of North Africa that is steeped in history. Along its corridor, legions of opposing forces have battled for supremacy since before the Romans and Carthaginians. In the early 1940's it was the Italians and the Germans against the Allies of the British Empire, composed of the Free French, Australians, New Zealanders and later the Americans. These battles raged on the ground and in the air.

This is one of the most inhospitable environments the world has ever known. Day time temperatures can soar to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and freezing nights and sand storms scour human flesh if left exposed. Fuel, equipment and supplies were secondary to survival in this barren moonscape. Out of this cauldron of hell on earth emerged names that are forever etched in the annals of modern military history: Rommel, the Afika Korps, Tobruk, Halayfa Pass are some. In the end, it al rested on who possessed the most reliable supply lines for war material and fresh troops.

In Robert Bailey's release, 274 Hurricane Squadron encountered a force of 15 Stukas of 1./StG 3 escorted by 15 fighters near Al Adem on 31 May 1942. Calling for top cover (Spitfires) to engage the enemy fighters, Wing Commander 'Jimmy' Fenton made several close attacks on the Stukas, but was then himself attacked by a Bf109 when his Hurricane was damaged. But he managed to land safely at El Adem. Jimmy Fenton was awarded an immediate DFC for this action.

The signatures:

Flying Officer Douglas Gaudin enlisted in the R.C.A.F. in 1940 and received operational training on Hurricanes at Sutton Bridge in Lincolnshire, England. He was posted to 122 Squadron, R.A.F., on Spitfires at Scorton, Yorkshire, in February 1942. Douglas was later transferred to the Middle East via West Africa. He then joined 417 Squadron R.C.A.F. in October 1942 at a base near Alexandria, flying Hurricanes. Later, he was on Spitfires. The main task of the interception of German photo-reconnaissance aircraft. Douglas is credited with nearly a hundred operational sorties. He retired with the rank of F/Lt.

Flight Sergeant Douglas R. Matheson was with 411 Squadron, R.C.A.F. on Spitfires. He was involved in the action over Dieppe, where he is shown in Defiance at Dieppe attacking a Dornier 217. He later became a Flight Lieutenant and Commander of B Flight. Bases from which he flew include Hornchurch, Duxford, Digby, Kenley and Biggin Hill. He flew a total of 153 operational sorties. His tally is 2 enemy aircraft destroyed, with one claimed and one other damaged. On December 1st, 1943, he was shot down and became a POW at Stalag Luft III.

Flying Officer Don Murchie joined the R.C.A.F. in 1941, training on Tiger Moths and Cessna Cranes. Posted to Bournemouth, England, he was selected for day fighters and had further training on Miles Masters and Hurricanes. Selected for Spitfires, he eventually ended up in 412 Squadron. He was involved in dive bombing and armed reconnaissance flights in the Ruhr areas, as well as fighter sweeps throughout the air space east of the Rhine River. Don flew over 80 operational sorties and is credited with numerous ground vehicles, locomotives and motorcycles destroyed.

Flight Sergeant Harold Heacock was born in Athabaska, Alberta. He was with 167 Squadron, RAF, flying the Spitfire Mk IX. He joined 412 Squadron RCAF in April 1942, with first operational flights in December of the same year. He flew a total of 112 sorties and was later promoted to Flying Officer and decorated with various campaign ribbons. He eventually instructed at an Operational Training Unit.

Sheet size: 32" wide x 19" high.

Image size: 25" wide x 13" high.