249 At Malta

RAF’s top-scoring fighter squadron by Brian Cull and Frederick Galea

There have been many books written about the struggle of Malta during WW2, especially with regard to the aerial defence of this strategically important island. This book, however, takes a detailed look at one of the many defending RAF squadrons who served to protect this vital scrap of land in the middle of the Mediterranean.

A veteran unit of the Battle of Britain, 249 Squadron arrived at Ta Kali on May 21, 1941 having travelled en route courtesy of HMS Furious and the ill-fated HMS Ark Royal which was destined to be sunk a few months later. 249 Squadron was initially equipped with the Hurricane I followed by the IIB, IIC until March 1942 when the Spitfire VB and VC arrived. The unit relocated to Qrendi in November 1942 and again to Hal Far in June 1943 were it re-equipped again with the Spitfire IX. The squadron remained a defender of Malta until October 1943 when it moved to Grottaglie in Southern Italy.

This lovely book by two experienced writers charts the history of 249 Squadron during those desperate days over Malta when the Luftwaffe and Italian Air Force relentlessly attacked the island. The book contains six core chapters which includes a central section with several reasonable quality photographs some of which I have not seen before. What makes the book for me as a serious work of reference is the comprehensive appendices. There are nine in total; Roll of Honour, Combat Claims, Officers Commanding, awards, Squadron Bases, Aircraft Flown and three more personal additions by Unteroffizier Dr Felix Sauer and Tenente Remo Cazzolli (both of the receiving end of 249 Sqn guns) and a piece by Sgt W Wendt RCAF.        

I applaud Fonthill for taking on this squadron history which are traditionally harder subjects to market and sell compared to a more general histories. A highly recommended and well-researched piece of work. Thanks to Jay Slater at Fonthill Media for our review copy.

 

ISBN: 978-1-78155-554-5

Price: £25

Pages: 224

Format: hardback – 240mm x 160mm

Publisher: Fonthill Media

Website: www.fonthillmedia.com