Fighters over Malta: Gladiators and Hurricanes 1940-1942

Author(s): Brian Cull and Frederick Galea 

ISBN: 9781781556634
$33.00 $47.00
A highly-detailed account of the gallant band of RAF and Commonwealth pilots who flew Gladiators and Hurricanes in defence of Malta between June 1940 and April 1942 when help in the guise of Spitfires finally arrived.
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  • All known combat claims and losses

  • Many personal accounts and memories of the battle

  • Illustrated with new and rarely seen photographs

Brian Cull and Frederick Galea’s definitive Fighters over Malta: Gladiators and Hurricanes 1940-1942 is a highly-detailed account of the gallant band of RAF and Commonwealth pilots who flew in defence of Malta between June 1940 and April 1942, when help in the guise of Spitfires finally arrived.

Most of the Hurricanes, which held this tiny outpost of the British Empire in the heart of Axis-dominated territory, had been flown from the decks of aircraft carriers or from bases in North Africa, while a handful of fighter pilots arrived by Sunderland flying boats or other aircraft in transit from the UK via Gibraltar.

Many of these pilots were inexperienced and quickly paid the supreme price, particularly when Messerschmitt Bf 109 pilots of the elite 7/JG26 arrived in Sicily in early 1941, and later in the year when JG53 made their presence felt. Important personal diaries and journals have come to light, and these have been widely quoted to provide the atmospheric background and thoughts and hopes of Hurricane pilots who defended Malta.

Not all diarists survived, but their impressions provide a fitting tribute to their courage, aspirations and fears. Much of the early period of the air defence of Malta is enhanced by the personal experiences of Flt Lt (then Sgt Plt) James Pickering AFC, who flew Hurricanes with 261 Squadron.

BOOK ISBN 9781781556634
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING hardback
PAGES 528 pages
ILLUSTRATIONS 69 black-and-white photographs and 1 map


Brian Cull has been writing Second World War aviation history for the past twenty-five years and has more than twenty-five titles to his credit, many of which have been highly acclaimed. For Fonthill Media, he is the author of First of the Few: 5 June-9 July 1940, The Diary of Sonny Ormrod DFC: Malta Fighter Ace (with Frederick Galea), 249 at Malta: RAF’s Top-Scoring Fighter Squadron (with Frederick Galea), Fighters Over the Aegean: Hurricanes Over Crete, Spitfires Over Kos, Beaufighters Over the Aegean, 1943-44 and Battle for the Channel: The First Month of the Battle of Britain 10 July-10 August 1940.

Frederick Galea has been Malta’s National War Museum Association’s honorary secretary and newsletter editor for the last twenty years. He is also an accomplished aviation author in his own right and has written several books dealing with the air war at Malta. Additionally, he has co-authored a number of books with Brian.

  • Acknowledgements 5
  • Preamble: Italy 1940—The Friend of Yesteryear, the Foe of Today 8

  • I. June 1940—Gladiators into Action 11
  • II. More Hurricanes Arrive 33
  • III. The Tragedy of Operation ‘White’ 56
  • IV. The Germans Arrive in Sicily 68
  • V. Messerschmitts Supreme 105
  • VI. Hurricanes Regain the Advantage 152
  • VII. Hurricane Summer 192
  • VIII. The Return of the Luftwaffe 232
  • IX. Against the Odds 275
  • X. Spitfires Join Battle 321
  • XI. Hurricane Swan Song 358
  • Not Quite the End: Second-Line Duties 401

  • Endnotes 408
  • Appendix I: Roll of Honour 1940–42 424
  • Appendix II: Combat Claims & Credits 227
  • Appendix III: Oblt Joachim Müncheberg’s 7./JG26—Scourge of the Hurricanes 439
  • Appendix IV: Gladiators 441
  • Appendix V: Hurricanes for Malta 445
  • Appendix VI: 418 Flight 456
  • Appendix VII: The Takoradi Route 460
  • Appendix VIII: The Takoradi Route1941–1942 Hurricane Deliveries 464
  • Appendix IX: Malta’s Hurricanes (Serial Numbers) 466
  • Appendix X: The Reconstruction of
  • Hurricane IIA Z3055 Hurricane IIC Z3571 470

  • Bibliography 473
  • Index of Personnel 475