Between the summer of 1940 and the end of 1942, Malta became one of the most bombed places on Earth. The RAF’s desperate fight to retain control of the diminutive Mediterranean island is one of the epic stories of World War II.
Crucial to the Allies in their battle with the Axis forces in North Africa, Malta’s naval dockyards and airfields provided the only base from which ships and aircraft could attack the convoys supplying Rommel’s desert forces. The German High Command, fully aware of its importance, made every effort to bomb the island into submission. By April 1942 the RAF was down to just six serviceable Spitfires and Hurricanes, Allied convoys were being decimated unopposed, and Malta was in danger of starvation. Two and a half years of relentless bombing had blitzed the dockyards out of operation, prompting Axis Commander-in-Chief Field Marshal Kesselring to tell Hitler that Malta was neutralized.
But the Field Marshal failed to take into account the heroism of a tiny force of RAF fighter pilots, the British Merchant Navy, the decisive role played by the British aircraft carriers Eagle and Furious, the American carrier Wasp, and the iron will of the people of Malta.
In the spring of 1942, when Spitfires flown from the decks of carriers HMS Eagle and USS Wasp arrived at the island’s battered airstrips, the battle took a new turn. At last, though still heavily outnumbered, the volunteer pilots from Britain, Australia, America, Canada, New Zealand and other Commonwealth countries were able to put up a meaningful defense. Never again would the Axis raids be met only with token resistance. Gradually, the Spitfires began to dominate the sky above the beleaguered island. They had arrived in the nick of time.
The print depicts Pilot Officer John Bisley of 126 Squadron in combat with Me 109s from JG-53 during one of the intense aerial air battles over Valetta in April 1942. Between the summer of 1940 and the end of 1942, Malta became one of the most bombed places on earth. The RAF’s desperate fight to retain control of the diminutive Mediterranean island, and the defiant courage of the people of Malta, is one of the epic stories of World War Two.
Malta – George Cross was specially commissioned to support the Spitfire Memorial Defence Fellowship at the Australian Defence Force Academy and the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the award of the George Cross to the island of Malta.
THE SPITFIRE EDITION
Signed by Six Pilots who flew Spitfires in defense of Malta.
Flight Lieutenant KEN EVANS DFC DFM
Flight Lieutenant IAN MACLENNAN DFM
Flight Lieutenant COLIN PARKINSON DFC
Flight Lieutenant JACK RAE DFC
Squadron Leader ARTHUR ROSCOE DFC
Squadron Leader ALLAN SCOTT DFM
THE MALTA EDITION
Each print in the Malta Edition carries the six signatures above and is also issued with a companion print, HMS Illustrious (20¼” x 16½”), which has been signed by an additional three Fighter pilots:
Group Captain BILLY DRAKE DSO DFC*
Commander MIKE CROSLEY DSC*
Lieutenant Commander PETER TWISS OBE DSC*
THE GEORGE CROSS EDITION
Just 150 copies of this very unique edition were issued with all the components of the Malta Edition plus matching numbered pilot-signed companion prints “Faith Over Mdina” & “Night Eyes of Malta,” four extra signatories on the main print, and a signed facsimile copy of Flt Lt Parkinson’s wartime diary of Malta. A total of NINETEEN highly distinguished signatures, making this one of the most collectible editions ever issued:
The main print has been additionally signed by:
Squadron Leader CRYIL “BAM” BAMBERGER DFC*
Corporal JAMES SAVAGE
Squadron Leader BRIAN HANAFIN DFC
Squadron Leader KEITH LAWRENCE DFC
FAITH OVER MDINA
Gloster Sea Gladiator N5520 “Faith” flies over Mdina, the ancient capital of Malta. Prints signed by TWO pilots who flew the famous Gladiators in Malta.
Flight Lieutenant CHARLES PALLISER DFC
Flew Gladiator “Faith” and Hurricanes over Malta, claiming 5 victories (13 over his career)
Flight Lieutenant JAMES PICKERING AFC
Flew Hurricanes and at least five operations in the Gladiators “Faith,” “Hope,” and “Charity.”
NIGHT EYES OF MALTA
Mk 1F Beaufighter X7702-T. Prints signed by legendary night fighter teams that participated in Malta.
Wing Commander MOOSE FUMERTON DFC* AFC and
Squadron Leader PAT BING DFC*
Malta’s top scoring night fighter team, 14 victories
Flight Lieutenant MERV SHIPARD DFC* and
Wing Commander DOUG OXBY DSO DFC DFM*
Highest scoring RAAF night fighter, 13 victories, and the RAF’s highest scoring radar operator with 22 assisted kills
“This afternoon F/Lt Roscoe was shot down, crash landed at Ta-Kali. His kite was on fire. He was shot through the shoulder and weak from loss of blood. Was thrown out of a/c unconscious. Broken shoulder, probably broken arm, cuts on face. Otherwise O.K. The boys knocked a few more down this afternoon.”
Published exclusively as part of The George Cross Edition, this personal account from the wartime diary of Flight Lieutenant Colin Parkinson, describes in explicit detail the horrors and hardships faced by the pilots during those desperate days of fighting through 1942. Un-abridged and reproduced complete with facsimile “Oxford” blue hard cover and gold leaf, this diary is not available anywhere else. A “must have” for the enthusiast collector.