Limted edition un-mounted Giclee print 600mm x 420mm
During the Battle of Kohima, the pilots of 34 Squadron, including Jimmy Whalen, continually attacked the Japanese units that were pressing so hard against Kohima and which were blocking the road to prevent the Allied relief forces from breaking through. One Japanese bunker was proving particularly obstinate. The Squadron had attacked it repeatedly, but their best efforts had been repulsed by murderous anti-aircraft fire. Jimmy thought he had a plan for knocking it out and asked to be allowed to have another go at it. With considerable reluctance, the CO consented, but with the caution, “OK, just one more shot and that’s the last, but you only do it once, and then you go through and out.” On the morning of 18th April 1944, Jimmy took off from Dergeon and led six of the Squadron’s Hurri-bombers down the Kohima-Imphal Road to a point 18 miles south of Kohima. He then went right down ‘on the deck’ for the run in to the target, and led the attack, aiming to deliver his two 250-pound bombs, fitted with 11-second delay fuses, directly onto the bunker. Heavy ground fire crashed all around him as he and his wingman, Flt Sgt Jack Morton, dropped their bombs from 50 feet. As they came off the target, Jack Morton was slightly behind Jimmy and he was shocked to see Jimmy’s Hurricane roll over on its back, in a sort of barrel roll, and crashed, inverted, into the dense jungle. Jimmy must have been hit and either killed outright or incapacitated, such that his aircraft went out of control from very low altitude and crashed. He was killed just five days before his 24th birthday.