249 at Malta

RAF's Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron

Brian Cull, Frederick Galea

Many otherwise average fighter pilots came of age in the skies of Malta—an area dubbed ‘a fighter pilot's paradise'. There was seldom a shortage of targets as the Luftwaffe endeavoured to flatten the defences and destroy the small air force, in which task it failed, but only narrowly. 249 Squadron was at the forefront of the fighting for two years.
Date Published :
June 2017
Publisher :
Fonthill Media
Illustration :
black and white photographs
No associated books available.


By the end of 1941, following its participation in the Battle of Britain, 249 was posted to Malta. Having been informed that its pilots would be required to fly from the deck of an aircraft carrier, intensive practice flights took place with two Hurricanes fitted with long-range tanks, making shortened take-off runs from an airfield runway. And that was that. The following month, having been ferried to Gibraltar, the aircraft were off-loaded on to the Ark Royal and all 20 safely reached Malta. This was the beginning of 249’s Mediterranean adventure in the defense of Malta. Spitfires would follow early in 1942 and by the time it moved to a new theater of operations, 249 had claimed 245 air victories in the skies over Malta, producing many ace pilots such as ‘Screwball’ Beurling, Laddie Lucas, Johnny Plagis, John Lynch, to name but a few.

About The Author

Brian Cull is a highly respected Grub Street author with past publications such as Hurricanes over Tobruk, Hurricanes over Malta, Spitfires over Sicily and Buffaloes over Singapore to his credit.

Frederick Galea is a prolific writer on Malta’s WWII aviation heritage. He and Brian have combined forces on many occasions to produce historical aviation gems.

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