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Malta Spitfire: The Diary of an Ace Fighter Pilot [Paperback]

George F. Beurling
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

19 May 2011
Twenty-five thousand feet above Malta - that is where the Spitfires intercepted the Messerschmitts, Macchis and Reggianes as they swept eastwards in their droves, screening the big Junkers with their bomb loads as they pummelled the island beneath - the most bombed patch of ground in the world. One of those Spitfire pilots was George Beurling, nicknamed 'Screwball', who in fourteen flying days destroyed twenty-seven German and Italian aircraft, and damaged many more. Hailing from Canada, and after hard training and combat across the Channel, Beurling finally made it to Malta in the summer of 1942. "Malta Spitfire" tells his story and that of the gallant Spitfire squadron, 249, which day after day climbed to the 'top of the hill' to meet the enemy against overwhelming odds. The reader has almost the sensation of being in the cockpit with him, climbing to meet the planes driving in from Sicily, diving down through the fighter screen at the bombers, dodging the bullets coming out of the sun, or whipping up under the belly of an Me for a deflection shot at the engine. This is war without sentiment or romance, told in terms of human courage, skill and heroism. This is a classic, first published in 1943.

Frequently Bought Together

Malta Spitfire: The Diary of an Ace Fighter Pilot + Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) + The Malta Story [DVD]
Price For All Three: 17.88

Some of these items are dispatched sooner than the others.

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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: 2 x 14 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 325,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'a wartime classic' --Britain at War Magazine

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read. 31 Dec 2012
By ofb33
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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
5.0 out of 5 stars An expert writes 9 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Malta Spitfire 13 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
An excellent read. The reader is made to feel as though they were up there fighting alongside those brave pilots. A STORY that many people will not be aware of, how a group of young men put their life on the line against vastly superior numbers and yet they destroyed their enemy with seemingly ultimate ease. A fitting tribute to their profesionalism and dedication to the cause.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read. 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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5.0 out of 5 stars MALTA GC 10 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
What a fantastic account of the fight for Malta and a true hero. Just back from holiday there and what wonderful and proud people.
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