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WW2 Air Combat - pastel and watercolour drawing
Signed J A Reiss and dated 1st October 1939. Depicting a squadron of RAF Armstrong Whitworth bombers being attacked by a squadron of Messerschmidt BF109 with some air crew parachuting from a stricken plane. Possibly representing the first day of WWll when British bomber planes were sent to drop propaganda leaflets over Germany.
Temporary Captain James Arthur Reiss (b1870 - d1942)
James Arthur Reiss was born into an extensive and highly successful and wealthy German immigrant family of Cotton Merchants originally from Frankfurt and who settled in Lancashire in the early part of the 19th century. A student of Marlborough College, he obtained his BA from New College, Oxford, in Law and Classics in 1892. He joined the family business, Reiss Bros Cotton Merchants and Cotton Brokers in the Cotton Exchange Buildings in Liverpool and, at the advent of the First World War, joined the 25th Division of the 17th Battalion Cheshires and served with this regiment until 1922. He was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre First Class and was mentioned in despatches from Field-Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, Commander in Chief to the British Armies in France on 15th May 1917 and 5th July 1919.
With his military background and close family connections to the RAF after its formation in 1918, his knowledge of and interest in the aircraft and their battles at the beginning of WW2 became a solid foundation for his paintings, accurately representing each aircraft and fully capturing the horrors of such combat.