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Malta Spitfire: The Diary of an Ace Fighter Pilot Paperback – 19 May 2011


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Malta Spitfire: The Diary of an Ace Fighter Pilot + Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) + The Malta Story [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grub Street; Reprint edition (19 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906502986
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906502980
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 171,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'a wartime classic' --Britain at War Magazine

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ofb33 on 31 Dec 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After watching and enjoying a programme about George Beurling I looked on the internet to see what other information there was about him and discovered this book. I'm always interested in people who are a bit different and Beurling came across as being quite an extraordinary (Screwball!) man who would have an interesting story to tell. I didn't buy the book straight away as there was only one other review which didn't say much, other than a really good read and some pages missing, and because of having so many other books to read. Curiosity got the better of me though and it wasn't long before the book arrived through the post. I've always found Amazon's delivery service to be very good.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and am usually a slow reader but I read it in about 5 evenings which is fast for me. Beurling was clearly obsessed about flying from an early age, and you immediately get the feeling that it's all he wants to do. He doesn't have the education/background to get into the Canadian Royal Air Force and after attempts to get into other air forces he joins the British Royal Air Force. He feels he's an outsider and isn't happy until he's posted to Malta where he finally sees some action. It's in Malta that Beurling shows his talents as a pilot and a marksman and his tally of enemy aircraft shot down quickly grows.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in war stories. Leslie Roberts who co-writes the book does an excellent job and at times I almost felt that I was there with Beurling! Most of the narrative is written as Beurling tells his story from his childhood until he was shot down in Malta. There weren't any missing pages as mentioned in the other review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gaarghoile on 3 April 2013
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He was no shop egg was George Beurling once he set his mind on achieving something he kept on trying till he succeeded in doing it to an incredible degree of perfection. He wanted to fly so much he crossed the Atlantic as a deckhand four times while German U-Boats were sinking ships by the hundreds. He had it all and maybe that fantastic degree of talent made his service life extremenly difficult as normal rules of flying simply did not apply to George Beurling.

Serving in a fighter squadron in England was a waste of his potential and eventually he found his kind of warfare flying against the Luftwaffe and the Regia Aeronautica in Malta where pilots lives were measured in hours and over a period of just 24 days he shot down 27 enemy aircraft he simply cut through the massed enemy formations like a knife through butter leaving a trail of shot down aircraft behind him he was a force of nature.. He would have made a superb test pilot but - he didn't suffer fools gladly he made too many enemies on his own side!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G. M. Brown on 9 July 2013
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George "Screwball" Beurling (a Canadian) was probably one of the best shots in Fighter command. An Individualist who did not always see eye to eye with RAF superiors, he made a name for himself in the defence of Malta with a large score of enemy aircraft shot down. This is his diary - his own words - and a fascinating read, giving his own view of aerial combat and a feel for life in the besieged Island of Malta. It begins with an entertaining account of his learning to fly and complicated attempts to join the air war.
Strongly recommended for anyone interested in the WW2 Air war.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Halstead on 20 May 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book because its the first time I've heard his story from the horses mouth. There is a lot of background about how he came to in the RAF from Canada. His wartime exploits were truly remarkable, but he was a loner in the sky, and very hard to control. Johnnie Johnson said that the only way he could tame him was to make him a gunnery instructor because his flair for deflection shooting was exceptional.

An interesting and shocking footnote is that he mentions an ex RAF pilot who joined the fledgling Israeli Air Force in 1948, and was responsible for shooting down RAF Spitfires during the struggle for Palestine. I wonder how many more stories like that are waiting to be told.
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By Bob on 25 Oct 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What an amazing tale of dogged determination. George Beurling was going to learn to fly whatever the cost, he had to pay for his lessons out of a meagre income, he even starved to raise the necessary funds.
Come the start of the war he travelled to the UK to join the RAF, crossing the Atlantic on a convoy, working on board to pay his way. When the Selection Officer told him he needed his birth certificate to join he went the same route back to Canada to get it. The book describes his journey to Malta and the desperate battle to defend the island, beaten to it's knees but never giving up. All of his battles with German and Italian aircraft (and the dreaded Malta Dog) are described in riveting detail.
I can thoroughly recommend this book.
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George Buerling is another Malta pilot who has faded into history with little recognition, despite is astonishing achievements. Much like Adrian Warburton, Malta seemed to bring out the best in him, and who knows what he might have achieved had he not been sent home.
The two are quite similar, with a disdain for higher authority, an empathy with the lower ranks, a frontier spirit towards dress code, and a hopeless case for any peacetime Air Force career.
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