AN ARTIST has painted six of RAF Fighter Command’s last pilots of the Battle of Britain especially for this year’s Chalke Valley History Festival and to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain.

Anna Redwood, who made headlines with her work as an official war artist in Afghanistan, painting, drawing and sculpting, has painted Paul Farnes, Keith Lawrence, Tom Neil, Tony Pickering, Geoffrey Wellum, and Ken Wilkinson.

Around 3,000 pilots flew for RAF Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain, of which 537 were killed in action. The German air force, the Luftwaffe, lost 2,662 men.

She said: "I feel extremely honoured to have had the opportunity to paint these extraordinary men, get some sense of their war time experiences and immortalize them as best I could.

"Their attitude to life was a reminder to me of the self reliant, understated, but deeply patriotic generation they come from.

"The incredible bravery and stoicism I gleaned from their stories and faces, gallantry worn so lightly. To achieve such heroism so young, without a second thought to personal danger and sacrifice is something we must all be eternally grateful for.

"Without exception they all possess a steely strength behind gorgeous twinkly eyes and a wonderfully disarming sense of humour.

"Whilst capturing these faces with almost a century of experiences etched onto them, I could still see quiet moments of sadness and remembrance at the loss of friends, but also strong glimpses of that youth and innocence, as they talk enthusiastically about flying up through the clouds over hallowed English soil, so heavily outnumbered to face the enemy all those years ago."

The exhibition at the Chalke Valley History Festival will be held in an old military tent with a static Spitfire and Hurricane outside.

The festival runs from Monday, June 22 to Sunday, June 28.

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