Lt Richard Barrett Talbot Kelly (1896 - 1971):
A German Pilot taking Aerial Reconnaissance Photographs over theWestern Front, 1917
Framed (ref: 2582)
Pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 11 x 15 in. (28 x 38.7 cm.)
Provenance: The Artists Daughter; private collection
This remarkable image records a French Spad attacking a German Army Air
Service Albatros C.X. Artillery Cooperation and Reconnaissance machine.
The German pilot, who is taking reconnaissance photographs with a
camera fixed on to the side of the plane, appears unaware that he is about
to be attacked.
One of the many innovations of the FirstWorldWar was the use of aircraft
for reconnaissance purposes. As stalemate developed on the ground, with
both sides unable to advance even a few hundred yards without a major battle and thousands of casualties, aircraft became greatly valued for their role in gathering intelligence on enemy positions. Large reconnaissance planes were used to scout enemy positions and bomb their supply bases. Because these planes were large and slow, they made easy targets for enemy fighter aircraft.
Talbot Kelly’s account of the FirstWorldWar is recorded in A Subaltern’s
A series of watercolours by Kelly is in the National Army Museum and the
Royal Airforce Museum.