|The Airco DH.2 was a single-seat biplane "pusher" aircraft which operated as a fighter during the First World War. It was the second pusher design by Geoffrey de Havilland for Airco, based on his earlier DH.1 two-seater. The DH.2 was the first effectively armed British single-seat fighter and enabled Royal Flying Corps (RFC) pilots to counter the "Fokker Scourge" that had given the Germans the advantage in the air in late 1915. Until the British developed a synchronization gear to match the German system, pushers such as the DH.2 and the F.E.2b carried the burden of fighting and escort duties. Because the engine was mounted behind the pilot, there was a large super-structure to hold the engine in place and this created "drag" and thus these "pusher" planes were considered slow, having a top speed of maybe 73 - 80 miles an hour. When the "synchronization gear" was developed, the "pusher" style became obsolete.
In this painting, the observer can be seen seated behind his .303 Lewis gun fitted with a 47 round ammunition "drum". On the other side, not seen here, they would often mount a camera which the observer could use to take recon photos of enemy positions. The famous British pilot, and winner of a Victoria Cross, Lanoe Hawker (7 "kills") was killed by Manfred von Richthofen while flying a DH2.