Sunday, October 14, 2012

Oct

14

1942

Spitfire Ace shot down over Malta

Supermarine Spitfire Mark VB(T), EP257, being operated by No. 126 Squadron RAF, taxies along the dusty perimeter track at Luqa, Malta, for a sortie. A member of the groundcrew runs alongside to warn the pilot of obstacles ahead. There was considerable interchange of aircraft between squadrons on Malta at this time, and EP257 shows evidence of hastily painted-out identification letters.

Just as I shot Willie’s pal down, another Me nailed me from behind. He got me right in the belly of the Spit. A chunk of cannon shell smashed into my right heel. Another went between my left arm and body, nicking me in the elbow and ribs. Shrapnel spattered into my left leg. The controls were blasted to bits. The throttle was jammed wide open and there I was in a full-power spin, on my way down from somewhere around 18,000 feet.