Last Mission – Honouring F/O James Joseph Battle and

F/O Alfred Campbell Briant

Oil on Board

95 x 60cm


This portrait aims to capture and honour the spirit of F/O James Joseph Battle (‘aka’ Jimmy) (my father’s cousin) and pilot F/O Alfred Campbell Briant (‘aka’ Bill) who served in 151 Squadron RAAF, ATT RAF U.K.   They demonstrated enormous courage, loyalty, respect, and love of country flying many missions over occupied France during WWII.


On the morning of 23 June 1944, they took off in their Mosquito De Havilland MM447 (NFK.XIII) (Codenamed ‘Sweeney 39’) from RAF Predannack, UK. Their mission was to strategically attack the Railway Stations of Ploermel, Redon, Chateaubriant, Saumur and La Fleche, in order to block the advance of the German troops in Normandy.


Flying approximately 650 km per hour and very low, approximately 150 metres off the ground, they opened fire on their target at 1pm, shooting at the German locomotives and railway wagons. On the ground the German Anti-Aircraft machine gun fired. A few minutes later, ‘Sweeney 39’ crashed and immediately bursts into flames on the ground. Both pilots died, ‘Jimmy’ was only 29 years of age, and Bill 21.