The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter was a multi role aircraft flown by the RAF during World War II, coming into service in 1940 as a night fighter during the Battle of Britain. The Beaufighter saw extensive use with the RAF, The Fleet Air Arm and Coastal Command as well as The Royal Canadian Air Force, The South African Air Force, The Royal New Zealand Air Force, The Free Polish Air Force (Polskie Sily Powietrzne) and the Royal Australian Air Force (who also made widespread use of the aircraft in the anti-shipping role). The Beaufighter could boastfully carry rockets, bombs or torpedoes and with four 20mm cannons in the nose and machine guns in the wings, the aircraft packed a heavy punch. The aircraft was used in what was described as the most “impudent raid of the war” when it flew on June 12th 1942 at very low altitude to drop a Tricolore (French flag) on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and then strafed the Gestapo Headquarters at the Place de la Concorde. This scene depicts two Beaufighters of 144 Sqn heading back over the North Sea to Dallachy, North Scotland, after an anti-shipping raid on Norway in November 1943; 144 Squadron was based at RAF Wick during this period. In May 1944 the squadron was relocated from its anti-shipping duties in the North Sea to RAF Davidstow Moor in Cornwall to prepare for D-Day (operation Overlord), where it would be tasked with protecting the invasion fleet from German E-Boats.
Keith Burns is an award winning aviation artist and commercial illustrator. He has illustrated comics for the past decade with Johnny Red being the most recent. In 2012 he joined the Guild of Aviation Artists. In 2015 he won the Messier Dowty award for best acrylic painting in show, in 2016 he was made a full member of the Guild, had his first solo exhibition at the RAF Club in London and won Aviation Painting of the Year. He is currently illustrating the Ladybird WW2 series written by James Holland.
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