"Spitfires - Malta Bound"
by Philip E. West
Limited Edition of 400
Overall print size approx. 28inx20in / 71 cms x 51 cms
All the prints are signed and numbered in pencil by the artist.
A magnificent Limited Edition Print signed by those involved in the Battle for Malta, including the pilot of the main Spitfire depicted and four Royal Navy HMS Eagle crew members who survived the torpedo attack and subsequent sinking of their ship in just six and a half minutes.
On the 11th August 1942, Flight Lieutenant Geoffrey Wellum DFC, having just taken off from the deck of HMS Furious, leads his section of gathering Spitfires on the long journey to Malta. They are much-needed reinforcements for the beleaguered island, now in the twenty-sixth month of its siege. To enable each of the 38 Spitfires dispatched from Furious to reach Malta, over three hours flying time away, they carry maximum fuel together with a centre-line over-load tank. Even their ammunition is removed to save weight.
Escorting Furious to her aft is the Cruiser HMS Manchester together with Destroyers Brave and Lithe. To their port side is the Ohio tanker laden with fuel during what became an epic voyage. In the distance HMS Eagle succumbs to an Axis torpedo attack. The success of Operation Pedestal was absolutely critical for the survival of Malta, bringing desperately needed fuel, food and ammunition to the Island. Losses were heavy but the courage and determination by all involved prevailed: five of the fourteen merchant ships, including the Ohio, made it through and the island was saved.