The painting depicts a De Havilland Sea Vixen of 899 squadron Fleet Air Arm during the 1960's whilst operating from HMS Eagle
899 Squadron was first formed on 15 December 1942 at RNAS Hatston in the Orkneys with Seafire aircraft, the Squadron first detached in HMS Indomitable in January 1943. After a short work up in the Clyde area it provided fighter cover for the Sicily landings in July 1943. The Squadron soon saw action again while providing close air support to the Allied landings at Salerno before disembarking to Ballyhalbert in Northern Ireland in October. In April 1944, whilst embarked in HMS Khedive, the Squadron flew 201 sorties in support of Allied landings in the South of France. The following few months were spent on recce and bombing missions against shipping and shore targets in the Aegean before again disembarking to Northern Ireland, this time to Long Kesh.
During the early stages of 1945 the Squadron deployed to Sydney, Australia where they were tasked to help establish and train the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm. 899 disbanded on the 27 September 1945 having flown over 500 operational sorties.
On 7 November 1955 the Squadron reformed flying Seahawks, and took part in the Operation Musketeer (part of the Suez Campaign) the following year, flying from HMS Eagle. 899 disbanded again on 5 Jan 57 having flown over 4000 hours and logging 2000 deck landings in under 14 months .
899 recommissioned on 1 Feb 61, equipped with the Sea Vixen Mk 1 fighter to become the Sea Vixen HQ Squadron based at RNAS Yeovilton. Assuming front-line status again in July 1964, initially as the Intensive Flying Training Unit for the Sea Vixen Mk 2, 899 was held on standby during the Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) crisis of November 1965, subsequently helping to enforce the Beira Blockade. In 1967, 899 were prominent in the British withdrawal from Aden. Indeed, a Sea Vixen was the last aircraft to leave ADEN and carried the Union Flag back to HMS Eagle. The Squadron disbanded again in 1972.
899 Squadron’s markings (and callsign) are derived from it’s flying gauntlet insignia
Recommissioned with the Sea Harrier FRS 1 on 31 March 1980 (from 700A Squadron), 899 NAS became the Royal Navy’s Sea Harrier training squadron. They embarked in HMS Hermes during Operation Corporate (the Falklands Campaign) in 1982 and, following the upgrade to the FA 2 in June 1993, detached to HMS Invincible in support of operations in the Adriatic and Bosnia-Herzegovina in October and November of the same year.