Perhaps the most poignant moment in a very moving morning was when we showed Henry an original copy of a combat report from 29 September 1918, in which Henry was reported to have ‘dived on an enemy aircraft, firing 100 rounds into it at about 100 yards range. The enemy aircraft fell out of control and was last seen falling into a cloud.’ We were privileged to listen to Henry reading out loud this record of his actions in combat over 80 years ago.

Click on the Media Player below to hear Henry Botterell
reading his Combat Report from 29 September 1918

We then came to the thing that had started our quest in the first place: Robert Taylor’s painting ‘Balloon Buster’, which Henry had originally signed in 1998. We had brought with us one of the last available copies of this limited-edition run, No 580 of 600. Keeping it flat and undamaged in an airliner in 2001 was no mean feat! Henry very kindly signed the print again, and dedicated it to the Squadron of the day, along with a copy of Robert Taylor’s companion sketch ‘Camels on Patrol. On return to the Squadron after our visit, the matting to the frame was signed by all of the pilots at the time, and the framed print was hung in a prominent display in the foyer outside of the Squadron Commander’s office, along with the framed combat report that Henry had read aloud to us.

Balloon Buster 100 - 06

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…... Continued