The main force has safely returned to base. Back on the airfield the ground crews scan the horizon, and listen for the unmistakable sound of Merlin engines, knowing one of their aircraft is missing. There is almost as much tension and apprehension on the airfield as there is on the flight deck of the missing Lancaster as it limps back across the North Sea. Damaged by flak and enemy fighters, with parts of the flaps and elevators missing, and the port outer engine overheating, the pilot and his crew have pulled together to get their ship home. Down on power and handling badly she has slipped further and further behind the main formation on the long flight home, but she has made it!
Below are the green fields of England, and with just a few more miles to run, the straggler returns. Studying Robert Taylor's new painting, here reproduced as a magnificent Limited Edition print, one wonders whether the pilot is injured. Judging by the group clustered around him in the cockpit it seems a possibility - the Lancaster had no co-pilot and he has yet to get the great bird down safely on the airfield, yet somehow one gets the feeling from this evocative picture that all will be well. She will return to fly and fight another day. Robert Taylor has an uncommon ability to interpret and communicate the everyday drama that goes hand-in-hand with wartime aviation.