Sunderland flying boat and an RAF Pinnace off RAF Mountbatten. 'With Throttles Wide Open.'

Sunderland flying boat and an RAF Pinnace off RAF Mountbatten. 'With Throttles Wide Open.'

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The coxswain of the RAF pinnace has checked that the take off run across Plymouth Sound is clear. As he sweeps in off the wing tip of the Sunderland the signal is flashed and the pilot pushes his throttles wide open, the four Pegasus engines roar as the flying boat surges forward. The coxswain tucks his launch in just out of the billowing slipstream and thunders forward - two thoroughbreds in a welter of spray.

The painting depicts the scene in May 1943 off RAF Mountbatten. The Sunderland Mk III of 10 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force was later in action, captained by Flight Lieutenant Rossiter. It attacked a submarine U465 with eight depth charges - leaving it circling and trailing oil until it slowly sank.

The 60ft GP Pinnace is operating in its role as a safety boat. The powerful Triple Perkins diesels drive it forward at upward of 15 knots in the wake of the Sunderland; if the heavily laden aircraft fails to lift off, or an engine fails, then the crew of the RAF marine branch are on hand to provide immediate assistance.

Part of my training as a pilot in the RAF was to practice parachuting into the sea, releasing the parachute, inflating a survival dinghy and climbing aboard. We simulated this from RAF Mountbatten by being towed at full speed in a parachute harness behind an RAF pinnace, similar to the one in my painting - it was most exhilarating!!