In March 1942, the strategically important island of Malta stood alone against constant bombing raids by the German and Italian Air Forces. In England a plan was drawn up to send Spitfires to replace the Hurricanes, which, outclassed by the Me109 fighters, suffered heavy losses as they struggled to defend the beleaguered islanders. Operation Spotter sent by ship 16-crated Spitfires, along with their pilots, to Gibraltar, where the aircraft were erected on the quay under the cover of darkness, away from the prying eyes of those loyal to the axis forces. The assembled aircraft were then lifted onto the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle. The carrier sailing the Spitfires to within 600 miles of Malta, where they were flown off. But not before one aborted attempt required a return to Gibraltar. Two of those first pilots, Plt Off Paul Brennan and Plt Off Ray Hesselyn, were later encouraged to record their personal experiences, a detailed and exciting story first published in 1943 as Spitfires Over Malta. The original much sought after book Spitfires Over Malta has been out of print since the war. It has now reprinted it in its entirety, with additional information provided about Operation Spotter, which could not be released during the wartime period. The 370-page paperback with 100 B/W photos also includes extracts from the diary of Plt Off Peter Nash until he was shot down and killed, the last entry poignantly being completed by one of his colleagues. In addition there are profiles of the sixteen pilots from first hand accounts, official and family records, including many photographs not previously published. Out of the 16 Operation Spotter pilots, six were killed on Malta and three others died before the final victory was won, including Paul Brennan. An account of the Pedestal Convoy in August 1942, which finally provided the island with sufficient food supplies to prevent it having to surrender through starvation, completes the heroic story.
2012 paperback in very good used condition, with a post-it note signed and dedicated by the author Paul Lovell.