Wednesday 29 August 2012

Sailor Malan at RAF Duxford

South African Adolf ‘Sailor’ Malan had been a merchant navy officer before joining 74 Squadron in 1936. Unusually he stayed with the same squadron throughout his career, taking over leadership on 8th August 1940. He was a strict disciplinarian, but was acknowledged as being a great tactician. Sketch by Cuthbert Orde.

from RAF DUXFORD, part of the Heroes of the RAF series.

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About the book

The thrilling story of Britain's premier fighter station in action from the Great War to the present day. The great fighter base at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, was founded in 1919 as a training station. It became an active base for fighters protecting London in 1923. By 1930 it was expected that any invasion of Britain by Germany would come over the flat beaches of East Anglia, so Duxford was uprated to be a key link in the defensive system. When the Battle of Britain broke out in 1940 Duxford was the base for Douglas Bader and his "Duxford Big Wing" of 60 Spitfires and Hurricanes. Time and again Bader and his men went up to fight the vast swarms of German aircraft heading for London and more than once were almost all that stood between Hitler and outright victory. In 1943 Duxford was handed to the USAAF to serve as a base for fighters escorting daylight bombing raids. Fighers based at Duxford flew all the way to Berlin and back. After the war, Duxford remained a fighter base until 1961. Thereafter it has served as a film studio, flying club and most recently as the home for the Imperial War Museum's aircraft collection. This book takes the reader on a thrilling journey through the history of Britain's premier figher base - RAF Duxford.

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