Search the Collection

Richard Hillary

(1919-1943), Spitfire pilot; author of 'The Last Enemy'

Sitter in 1 portrait
Born in Sydney, Australia, he was educated in Britain. He joined the University Air Squadron at Oxford in 1938, and was called up in October 1939 before completing his degree. In 1940 he was posted to Montrose to B Flight 603 Squadron flying Spitfires. Sent south to Hornchurch, Hillary took part in the Battle of Britain. Shot down uninjured, he returned to duty and in the space of a week destroyed five enemy planes. On 3 September he baled out of his burning Spitfire and underwent extensive plastic surgery under the care of Sir Archibald McIndoe at East Grinstead. He related his experiences in The Last Enemy (1942). He returned to active service but was killed in a night-flying exercise accident.


Tell us moreback to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.


How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your nameclose

If you tick permission to publish your name will appear above your contribution on our website.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.