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Malta Spitfire Pilot [Hardcover]

Denis Barnham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Sep 2010
The Germans had watched our arrival on radar and that afternoon all Hell broke loose over the Maltese airfields. In spite of strenuous efforts by the fighters and anti-aircraft gun defences, the Ju 87 and Ju 88 dive-bombers and strafing Messerschmitts managed to damage and destroy several of the newly delivered aircraft on the ground. One Man s Window is the journal of Flight Lieutenant Denis Barnham, who arrived on Malta as an inexperienced pilot, but grew into a battle-hardened Spitfire ace over his gruelling two hundred operational hours between 13 April and 21 June 1942. Malta was of great strategic importance to the Allies, and was pivotal to their success in North Africa as it provided the perfect launching pad for aircraft to attack Axis supply ships in the Mediterranean. the island in turn suffered intensive bombing by the German and Italian air forces as a direct result. This memoir was written by the author as he and his fellow pilots battled against terrible odds and under constant attack. His words reflect honestly the sheer terror of flying from Malta.

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Malta Spitfire Pilot + Fortress Malta: An Island Under Siege 1940-1943 (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Frontline Books (30 Sep 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848325606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848325609
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14.6 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fogold 4 Oct 2010
I have read the original edition of this book over and over. It is a fantastic and harrowing read. Much less of the gung ho but more of the finger chewing fear that wasn't allowed to show, the self doubt, courage and horror. Anyone interested in the air war at all should read this book!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Air War memoir 27 Feb 2011
Arguably one of the very best firsthand descriptions of WWII air combat ever written, now back in print with a new foreword and historical resume. Denis Barnham describes what it was like to be a 22-yr-old Spitfire pilot fighting against greatly superior forces in the skies over Malta in 1942. He was an art student when he signed up to fly in the RAF early in the Second World War and his outstanding drawings illustrate the book, along with many photographs. After initial training to fly Spitfires he was posted to Malta at a time when swarms of German bombers, defended by legions of Me 109s, were devastating the island which occupies a crucial strategic position at the western end of the Mediterranean. The casualty rate amongst the small band of pilots was enormous and only the very skilful and the lucky survived. What distinguishes this account, first published in 1956 as One Man's Window, is not only the quality of the writing but the exceptional sensitivity of the writer/artist to the dire circumstances in which the participants found themselves. Denis was not by any means a typical fighter pilot although he was clearly a very good one. His overwhelming love of art and his fundamentally philosophical nature pervade his writing. It is quite likely that his experiences on Malta permanently affected his later life and he died relatively young after retiring early from his art teaching career. This book deserves to be a bestseller.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent & different to the others 19 Sep 2011
This is quite possibly one of the best autobiographies about aerial combat ever writen ( and I have read quite a few of them, the only other one that comes close would be the also recently published LOUD AND CLEAR by Yiftach Spector ). It describes only a short periof of 10 weeks, but these were quite possibly the most intense weeks of the air war over malta. Never before that spring had the bombardement been so intense or the local air superiority of the Luftwaffe so suffocating, and after the defeat of Rommel at el Alamein and the Alied landings in North Africa only one month after Barnham had left, the pressure was drastically reduced almost overnight. Like most autobiographies of this kind, maybe only 5-10 % of the book is about aerial combat and the rest is about life as it happened arround them, but these are actually the best part of the book. I will not write a long review here, but I will just say that when you finish this book, the reader has been given a very detailed, comprehensive and claustrofobically vivid knowledge of what it was to be a RAF defender of Malta in those days.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Man I knew 3 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was particularly keen to read this book as Denis Barnham was the Art Master at Epsom College and the first edition of this book was published while I was a student at the College. As schoolboys we knew nothing of his war time experiences and I was not aware of the existence of his book till I saw the BBC Programme about the defence of Malta earlier this year.
It is a very personal and frank expression of the way in which a man who was a pacifist by nature basis reacted to the pressures of constant danger and the daily threat of being killed and how he managed to retain a sense of personal morality in an environment where respect for human life was pushed aside.
He saw the world through the eyes of an artist and it is a shame that a number of his drawings were destroyed by the local police who suspected him of being a spy. The narrative is immediate and direct as it is taken from a diary which was written while the emotions of each day were still fresh in his mind.
I enjoyed the book and found the foreword by his widow who was writing at over the age of 90 some 30 years after his death was very revealing..
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