Adolph Gysbert "Sailor" Malan

Top South African Ace

RAF   G/C   -   DSO & Bar,  DFC & Bar,
MiD,  MC,  Croix de Guerre (Belge)

Born in Wellington S. Africa 3 October 1910
In 1924 he boarded the ship General Botha as a cadet
Jr. deck Officer, Union Castle Steamship Line - 1927
Applied for an RAF short service commission late in 1935
Started training in England - early 1936
Becoming "Sailor" to his new RAF mates
Posted to 74 Squadron in December 1936
Promoted to F/L in March 1939
Saw 1st combats over Dunkirk in May 1940
Took command of 74 Sq. on 8 August 1940
Penned his famous "10 Rules of Air Fighting" (* below)
Continued on combat operations until mid 1941
As Wing Leader at Biggin Hill
Joined 58 OTU in August 1941
Did a lecture tour in the US with some other RAF pilots
- October, November & December 1941
1942 - CO of Central Gunnery School at Sutton Bridge
Promoted to Group Captain in October 1942
Returned to Biggin Hill on January 1st 1943 as CO
Took Command of 19 Fighter Wing 2TAF Oct. 1943
CO of 145 Free French Wing in March 1944
CO of Advanced Gunnery School Catfoss in July 1944
Attended RAF Staff College in 1945
Had a change of heart and left the RAF in 1946
Was involved in politics after the war fighting against
  - S.A. Apartheid until he died of Parkinson's in Sept. 1963

  Sailor Malan


* "My Rules for Air Fighting"

  1) Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of 1 or 2 seconds and only when your sights are definitely ‘ON’.
  2) Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of the body, have both hands on the stick, concentrate on your ring sight.
  3) Always keep a sharp lookout. ‘Keep your finger out’!
  4) Height gives YOU the initiative.
  5) Always turn and face the attack.
  6) Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  7) Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
  8) When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as top guard.
  9) INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE and TEAM WORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
10) Go in quickly – Punch hard – Get out!


Distinguished Flying Cross

London Gazette, June 11, 1940. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the undermentioned awards, in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Flight Lieutenant Adolph Gysbert MALAN (37604)

During May, 1940, this officer has led his flight, and on certain occasions his squadron, on ten offensive patrols in Northern France. He has personally shot down two enemy aircraft and possibly three others. Flight Lieutenant Malan has displayed great skill, courage and relentless determination in his attacks on the enemy


Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross

London Gazette, August 14, 1940. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the undermentioned awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Flight Lieutenant Adolph Gysbert MALAN, D.F.C. (37604) -

Since the end of May 1940, this officer has continued to lead his flight and, on many occasions the squadron, in numerous successful engagements against the enemy. During the Dunkirk operations, he shot down three enemy aircraft and assisted in destroying a further three. In June 1940, during a night attack by enemy aircraft, he shot down two Heinkel 111’s. His magnificent leadership, skill and courage have been largely responsible for the many successes obtained by his squadron.


Companion of the Distinguished Service Order

London Gazette, 24 December, 1940. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Acting Squadron Leader Adolph Gysbert MALAN, D.F.C. (37604) No. 74 Squadron

This officer has commanded his squadron with outstanding success over an intensive period of air operations and, by his brilliant leadership, skill and determination has contributed largely to the successes obtained. Since early in August, 1940, the squadron has destroyed at least 84 enemy aircraft and damaged many more. Squadron Leader Malan has himself destroyed at least eighteen hostile aircraft and possibly another six.




Legless Flyer Heads List of Leading British Aces;
Bags Are From 15 - 30 Huns

London, Jan. 9, 1941 — (UP) — The Royal Air Force disclosed today the identities of its ten leading aces. One is a former financial clerk in a newspaper office, another, a former South African sailor. One has artificial legs; one is only 22 years old; one shot down six German planes in six hours.
Each has shot down from 15 to 30 German planes. All have been decorated, some three times. They are veterans of the battle of France, the evacuation of Dunkirk and of countless air fights over south England. All but one are still active.
Scores of other R.A.F. men have shot down from five to ten German planes, but these are the top ten:
Squadron Leader Douglas Bader, thrice decorated leader of the Canada squadron. He lost both legs in an accident two (ten) years ago and learned to manipulate artificial legs before the war started.
Squadron Leader Roland Tuck, thrice decorated, has 23 swastikas and two Italian flags painted around the cockpit of his plane, signifying that many victories. He also has an Iron Cross, the gift of a wounded German pilot he had shot down.
Pilot Officer H. M. Stephens, thrice decorated, formerly a financial clerk on a London evening newspaper; he and a colleague shared a pool for shooting down the 600th German plane destroyed by their squadron.
Squadron Leader Adolph Gysbert Malan, thrice decorated, formerly a South African sailor.
Flight-Lieut. John Ignatius (Iggy) Kilmartin, an Irishman, formerly attached to the advanced air striking force in France, credited with having shot down 15 German planes.
Flight-Lieut. J. S. Dundas, recently posted as missing and believed dead, credited with 15 German planes, one of which he chased from Winchester to Cherbourg, France, before destroying it.
Pilot Officer Geoffrey Allard, formerly a sergeant-pilot, commissioned because of his outstanding fighting, credited with 15 German planes.
Flight-Sgt. George Cecil Unwin, credited with from 15 to 20 enemy planes; last September, flying alone, he charged into a formation of 15 German bombers escorted by 30 German Messerschmitt fighters and shot down two Messerschmitts before he ran out of ammunition.
Flight-Lieut. J. H. Mungo-Park, veteran of Dunkirk and sharer with Stephens of the 600-plane pool.
Pilot Officer Albert Gerald Lewis, of South Africa, who shot down more than 20 German planes, including six in six hours.


Bar to Distinguished Service Order

London Gazette, 22 July, 1941. The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:

Acting Wing Commander Adolph Gysbert MALAN, D.S.O., D.F.C. & Bar (37604)

This officer has displayed the greatest courage and disdain of the enemy whilst leading his wing on numerous recent operations over Northern France. His cool judgment, exceptional determination and ability have enabled him to increase his confirmed victories over enemy aircraft from 19 to 28, in addition to a further 20 damaged and probably destroyed. His record and behaviour have earned for him the greatest admiration and devotion of his comrades in the wing. Recently the wing has scored heavily against the enemy with 42 hostile aircraft destroyed, a further 15 probably destroyed and 11 damaged.


One of Great Aces of War, Malan, South Africa,
Bags 35 of Hitler's Luftwaffe
Only Pilot Who Has Bars to D.S.O. and D.F.C.

London, July 24, 1941 — (CP) — One of the great aces of this war is Wing-Cmdr. A. G. Malan, D.S.O. and bar, D.F.C. and bar, whose confirmed record of 35 enemy aircraft destroyed is the highest of any man in the Royal Air Force.
A South African who holds a ship's second officer's certificate, Malan joined the R.A.F. six years ago because he wanted to earn enough money to be married. He has been flying steadily since then and is the first pilot of this war to win a bar for both his decorations.
Malan leads a wing, composed of three squadrons, and takes Spitfires and Hurricanes into battle in sweeps across the channel. He was in the thick of the Dunkerque fighting last year and in the Battle of Britain, led the crack No. 74 Squadron.
No. 74 was as famous in the last war as in this. Its leaders then included Major Edward Mannock, who shot down 75 (61) German planes, and "Taffy" Ira Jones with 40.
Malan is a close friend of Wing-Cmdr. Douglas Bader, who led the famous all-Canadian squadron in the Battle of Britain. Both men are 30, old for fighter pilots, and in appearance are somewhat alike — not tall, thick set and well featured.
Bader, who lost both legs while rehearsing for the Hendon pageant 10 years ago, is at a different station from Malan, but often the men get together, swap experiences and plan new tactics. The Englishman's score is not as high as the South African's but he has brought down more than 20 planes.
Neither Malan nor Bader puts much moment on the total bag of pilots. They are strictly team commanders and their motto is "You've all got to fight as one."


Wing-Commander Malan Is Ace Sharp Shooter of Royal Air Force

London, Sept, 18, 1941 —(CP)— A cool-headed young South African, Wing Cmdr. A. G. Malan, holds individual scoring honours in the Royal Air Force with an official tally of 32 German aeroplanes blasted out of the sky.
In announcing that the fighter command's leading pilot had shot down 32 machines, the air ministry news service did not name him. But previous references to Malan's achievements make it safe to assume he is the individual ace of Britain's flying sharpshooters.

Has High Awards
Malan, who joined the R.A.F. six years ago, has been awarded the D.S.O. and bar and the D.F.C. and bar for some of his outstanding exploits in the air. He also holds a ship's second officer's certificate.
Four other pilots have individual scores of more than 20, said the news service, issuing an impressive summary of the losses inflicted by the fighter command on the Luftwaffe in two years of sky warfare. They also were unnamed, but are believed to be Squadron-Ldr. J. Mungo Park, D.F.C, Squadron-Ldr. M. T. St. J. Pattle, Squadron-Ldr. Roland Tuck, D.S.O. and D.F.C. with two bars, and Flight-Lieut. E. S. Lock, D.S.O., D.F.C. and bar.
Mungo Park and Pattle, both officially listed as missing, have shot down 27 machines each. Tuck's total was 27 last July and Lock, also missing, has 25 to his credit. Wing-Cmdr. Douglas Bader, D.S.O. and bar, D.F.C, former leader of the R.A.F. all-Canadian fighter squadron, is believed to have shot down at least 20. The curly-haired Briton who flew with two artificial legs was himself shot down over northern France in August and taken prisoner.
The leading squadron of fighter command has accounted for 175 German aircraft since the war began. Fifteen squadrons have each topped the century mark, and three of them have shot down more than 150 machines.


Every Time Jerry Pops Up, R.A.F. Knocks Him on Head

London, Sept. 20, 1941 — (CP) — Constant cross-channel sweeps by the Royal Air Force "have got old Jerry rattled," said Wing Cmdr. A. G. Malan, ace South African fighter pilot, writing in London Calling, overseas publication of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
"Every time he pops his nose up in the area in which our bombers are operating there is a whoop of delight, and Spitfires shoulder each other out of the way to knock him on the head," Malan proceeded.
"In about 30 seconds the scene is transformed into Messerschmitts screaming down toward the ground with Spitfires on their tails pumping lead into them as fast as they can, and then there is the usual little circle of disappointed British pilots patrolling the areas where the Huns had been, and cursing their luck for not being in the right place at the right time."
Malan knows what he is talking about. He holds both the D.S.O. and the D.F.C., and his official total of enemy planes shot down is 32. Unofficially he is credited with 35 Nazi planes for certain and five more "possibles."
Keenness of the R.A.F.'s younger pilots is illustrated by this story Malan told:
"A few days ago we saw three formations of Messerschmitts approaching us . . . Some one called over his radio: “Tally-ho, 10 o'clock — surely they must be friendly?” And then some one else said: “By heaven, they're Huns. Come on and cut yourself a slice of cake.” That is the spirit among our pilots on these offensive operations. That morning we peeled off down on them and beat them up, destroying at least three before the rest escaped into a cloud."


Britain's Greatest Fliers In U.S. for Conferences

Ottawa, Oct. 26, 1941 - (CP) - Six of the top aces of the Royal Air Force are on this side of the Atlantic. They left Canada by plane today for the United States where they will be attached temporarily to the United States Army Air Corps.
Their names are household words in the United Kingdom, for one holds the coveted Victoria Cross, two are the first and second ranking fighter pilots in this war and all wear decorations for their leadership and personal exploits in the Battle of Britain.
"Make no mistake, these chaps are the absolute cream of the R.A.F." said one Canadian officer who welcomed them.
They are:
Wing Commander H. I. Edwards, 27, V.C., D.F.C, day bombers, who won the V.C. for a brilliant attack on Bremen.
Wing Commander A. G. Malan, 28, D.S.O. and bar, D.F.C. and bar, fighters, credited with shooting down thirty-five enemy planes.
Wing Commander R. R. S. Tuck, 25, D.S.O., D.F.C. and two bars, fighters, credited with twenty-nine enemy craft.
Group Captain Harry Broadhurst, 35, D.S.O., D.F.C., A.F.C., fighters, who had downed fifteen opponents.
Wing Commander J. N. H. Whitworth, 29, D.S.O., D.F.C, A.F.C., night bombers.
Group Captain C. Boothman, 40, A.F.C., bombers.

Here for "Bit of a Rest"
Typically reticent, the veterans disliked talking about themselves. Edwards shrugged noncommittally when asked about his V.C.
"There wasn't much of anything special about it, just a daylight raid on Bremen," he said.
One of his companions said, however, that he pressed home a difficult attack in the face of tough opposition and carried it through with "extremely good results."
Malan and Tuck became famous during August and, September of 1940 and at Dunkirk, when they knocked down plane after plane to amass their outstanding records.
Tuck, a slender and handsome figure who bears a facial scar from his temple to his chin, said the group had come over for a “bit of a rest.”
"We'll be attached to the United States Army Air Corps for a while," he said. "The idea is that we'll more or less swap ideas with them."
Asked about Dunkirk, he admitted he got "nine, I think, in the four or five days we were busy there." He also admitted to having been forced to bail out of three fighters and having had others "pretty badly shot up" at various times.

Canadians "Bloody Good"
Broadhurst, a member of the R.A.F. since 1926, commanded a squadron at the beginning of the war and led a wing in France during "the blitz." Recently, he said, he had commanded six fighter squadrons based on the Thames Estuary.
"Two of them were new Canadian squadrons," he said. "And they are bloody good considering their experience.
"That is just about the busiest spot of all, you know, and every day there is any kind of flying weather we go out on those sweeps of the invasion coast, Northern France and the Low Countries.
"The Canadian squadrons, one of Hurricanes under Squadron Leader Corbett and one of Spitfires under a British leader, have been doing close escort duty with bombers on those sweeps. Yes, and they are doing a grand job of it, too — only lost two or three planes before I left."
Questioned about their mission in the United States, Broadhurst said, "We're going to give them all the information we can and probably pick up some ideas ourselves. We'll give talks and lectures and let them cross-examine us on operations, tactics training and all that sort of thing."

Paper Raids "Waste of Time"
Whitworth had been leading a night bombing group ever since the beginning of the war.
"Our group has been bombing Germany right from the start," he said. He laughed as he caught himself up.
"I shouldn't have said "bombing' for we were dropping pamphlets for quite a while and looking back it seems such a waste of time. However, we've been fortunate in having had targets from Norway to Italy. We've often been assigned to Berlin or the Rhineland."


Must Have Numerical Superiority, Aces Say on Visit to New York

New York, Oct. 28, 1941 - (AP) - Six, veterans of the Royal Air Force, one with thirty-five victories to his credit, refused to talk about their exploits today, but did agree that warplanes, particularly fighters, must have more guns to be effective.
The fliers, here for a few weeks to exchange information with the United States Army and Navy and aircraft manufacturers, were presented to reporters at the offices of the British Information Service.
The six were Group Captains Harry Broadhurst and John Nelson Boothman, and Wing Commanders H. Idwal Edwards, John Nicholas, Haworth Whitworth, Roland S. S. Tuck and Adolph Gysbert Malan. All have been decorated. Malan is credited with bagging thirty-five enemy aircraft, and Tuck twenty-nine. Broadhurst is credited with shooting down at least four night raiders. The others have bomber commands.
They expressed the opinion that, as air warfare progresses, more types of airplanes will be developed for specific duties. There will be, for instance, both low-altitude and high-altitude fighters.
"The Hun isn't permitting himself to get into a dogfight now," one of the men remarked. "Unless he has great numerical superiority, he runs."
They conceded the Germans had pushed fighting limits beyond 35,000 feet, but only, they said, at the expense of reducing the amount of armor protection for the pilot and the number of guns Carried.
The Bell "Airacobra" fighter, United States-made, they described as faster than anything abroad, but said that at present, it lacks ceiling. It won't climb to heights at which combat now is taking place.
In the last series of raids over London at night the Germans, they said, lost 10 per cent of their planes.
The fliers are here on an exchange basis, United States airmen having gone to Britain to gather developments in tactics and aircraft manufacture. They expect to be away from their commands about six weeks.


R.A.F. Aces Claim That Huns Cannot Launch Mass Attacks

Ottawa, Nov. 22, 1941 — Heroes of hundreds of air battles over England and the channel, two Royal Air Force aces said last night they were confident that the badly-battered German air force would never again try a full-out daylight assault on the United Kingdom.
They called German pilots "goose-step flyers" who flew well "according to the book, but are stupid when their formations are broken up and they have to fight as individuals."
The men who judged the German air force and its flyers were in a position to know. They were W/C A. G. Malan, D.S.O. and bar, D.F.C. and bar, credited with downing 35 Nazi machines, and W/C Roland S. S. Tuck, D.S.O., D.F.C. and two bars, credited with 21 victories.
Both said they wished the Germans would try an air assault in strength again as they did in 1940 when the R.A.F. turned back tremendous odds.
"I just wish they'd come and try it," said Malan. "With our new machines and our increased air strength we would give them a welcome they would never forget.”
Both airmen laughed when asked what odds they had encountered over Dunkirk as British forces were evacuated after the fall of France and in the Battle of Britain.
"Well, I've seen one British plane against 30 Germans," said Malan.
"Once a sergeant-pilot and myself both flying fighters, got mixed up with 70 Germans," said Tuck. "They shot down the sergeant."
The youthful wing commanders have been in the United States with four other British top-ranking pilots demonstrating to American airmen the tactics used by the R.A.F.


Echoes of Two Great Battles Heard at Brantford Flying School
Trades School Men Send Thanks

1 December 1941 - Echoes of Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain were heard at No. 3 Service Flying Training school at Brantford last week, when Wing Commander Malan, D.S.O. and bar, D.F.C. and bar, addressed assembled officials and flying students.
A veteran of five years in the Royal Air Force, during which he had won distinction and rapid promotion in the fighter command, Wing Commander Malan has just concluded a visit to the United States, where he has held conferences with officers of the U.S. naval and army air services.
Wing Commander Malan described the typical German fighter pilot as a man "who flies like he goose-steps — almost like a robot." The enemy, he said, were excellent tacticians, good at formation flying but sadly lacking in individual initiative. Their formations were not hard to break up with the right methods, Wing Commander Malan said, adding that he had seen so many shot down at one time that the air seemed full of parachutes.
"The typical German pilot," he said, "never attacks unless he has some advantage. But this gets monotonous, because in time you know what to expect, and it is not difficult to combat him."
Although there was no foundation for news reports that the R. A. F. was in a "bad way" during the Battle of Britain, Wing Commander Malan recalled particularly days when British fighter pilots were averaging five two-hour patrols per day. Now, however, the situation was greatly improved, with Britain holding command of the air over England. At the sight of Hurricanes and Spitfires, German raiding planes now dump their bombs and race for home. Morale in the R.A.F. has been unimpaired throughout the entire war, he said.
The distinguished visitor was introduced by Group Captain B. F. Johnson, commanding officer of the station.




Top Scoring Pilot Back With RAF

London, Jan. 4, 1942 — (CP) — The top-scoring fighter pilot of the Royal Air Force, the South African, Adolph G. Malan, is hack in the front line of Britain's air war, which has already yielded him the D.S.O., the D.F.C. and bar and 32 officially-recognized victories — one for every year of his age.
As one of the youngest group captains in the service, "Sailor" Malan, who left the merchant navy to join the R.A.F. in 1936, takes over command of the fighter station in which he fought in the Battle of Britain successively as a flight-lieutenant, squadron leader and wing commander.
Pilots from this station, which is in southeast England, have brought down nearly 1,000 enemy planes. Malan visited Canada and the United States in 1941, when he appeared at a number of public functions.





London, Oct. 6, 1943 - (CP) - A simple service was held recently to mark the unveiling and dedication of a memorial and chapel to the pilots of the famous Biggin Hill sector who gave their lives in aerial combat, the R.C.A.F. said tonight in an overseas press release.
In an unpretentious building on the battle-scarred Biggin Hill airfield, oak panels behind the altar bear the names of more than 200 pilots, including many Canadians, who took off in Spitfires and Hurricanes from Biggin and did not return.
The memorial was unveiled by Fighter Command's top scoring ace, Group Capt. A. G. (Sailor) Malan, D.S.O. and Bar, D.F.C. & Bar.
The names include those of men from Canada's first overseas fighter unit, originally known as No. 1 Canadian Fighter Squadron. Among them are these names: F/L James R. C. Tyre, Westmount, Que.; F/O John Richard Tucker, Winnipeg; P/O John Randolph Patton, Barrie; F/Sgt William D. Hagyard, Perth; F/Sgt Frank Alex Duff, South River, Ont.; Sgt. Gerald Francis Clarke, Winnipeg; Sgt. Morton H. Buckley. Fonthill, Ont.; F/L James Witham, D.F.C, Edmonton; P/O J. K. Ferguson, Victoria; P/O Liman E. Hokan, St. Catharines.


Bunting & Malan
Vincent Bunting of 611 Sq. speaking with Biggin Hill's C/O - 'Sailor' Malan - January 1943

Highest Scorer in Service Given Promotion

London, Jan. 17, 1943 — (CP Cable) — Group Capt, A. G. (Sailor) Malan, the highest scorer in the R.A.F. - with 32 German planes to his credit - has taken up what is described as an important new appointment in the Air Ministry.
Malan, South African fighter ace, has been in command of Biggin Hill, famous Battle of Britain fighter station, planes from which have shot down more than 1,000 enemy aircraft.
Flight-Lieut. George (Buzz) Beurling, of Verdun, Que., formerly in the R.A.F. but now a member of the R.C.A.F. serving overseas, with 31 planes to his credit is the closest among active flyers to Malan's score of enemy destroyed.




"Buzz" Beurling Still Top Pilot
Verdun Flyer Leading New Group in R.C.A.F.

London, March 23, 1944 (CP Cable) — A cocky Canadian with a killer's eye, Flight-Lieut. George ("Buzz") Beurling, of Verdun, Que., is top-ranking R.A.F. - R.C.A.F. fighter-pilot of the war still on operations with 31 planes to his credit, according to the latest tabulations by air correspondents.
But chasing closely is an unidentified Polish pilot, an R.A.F. sergeant whose identity cannot be divulged until after the war, and who has knocked down 28 planes. [But no longer in the chase because, the "Pole" mentioned was actually Czech pilot Josef Frantisek, KiFA October 8th, 1940]
Beurling, now flight commander in a Britain-based R.C.A.F. Spitfire squadron, is the youthful leader of a new group of straight-shooting aces who are rapidly taking over the spots vacated as Battle of Britain pilots are killed, taken prisoner or leave operations.
The Canadian, whose left breast is covered with medal ribbons, is only one short of the top figure of 32 hung up by such colorful dare­devils as Group Capt. A. G. (Sailor) Malan, who is now off operations, and Squadron-Ldr. Paddy Finucane, youthful Irishman who survived hundreds of flights and fights only to fall to a chance bullet over the French coast.


R.A.F. and U.S. Fliers Reach Upper Ace Class

London, April 13, 1944 (CP) — Wing Cmdr. J. R. D. Braham joined the upper brackets of the Empire's fighter aces today when he destroyed his 26th enemy plane, a twin-engine German machine which he shot down during a Mosquito intruder patrol over Denmark.
The 23-year-old R.A.F. ace, holder of the D.S.O. and Bar and the D.F.C. and two Bars, now is the fourth highest scorer among Empire airmen still on operations.
Flt. Lt. George (Buzz) Beurling of Verdun, Que., heads the list with 31 victims, but the greatest living R.A.F. ace is Group Capt. A. G. (Sailor) Malan, with 32 German planes to his credit. He now is off operations.
Braham, known as "The Destroyer" to the R.A.F., is Britain's deadliest night fighter. Nineteen of his kills were made in the dark.
Capt. Don S. Gentile, top United States fighter ace in the European theatre, with 23 planes destroyed in the air and seven on the ground, was badly shaken when forced to crash-land his fighter at his home base after a recent mission, it was disclosed today.
Meanwhile, at Allied Headquarters in the Southwest Pacific, it was announced that Capt. Richard I. Bong, Poplar, Wis., has shot down 27 enemy planes in aerial combat to become the highest ranking United States ace in this or the last war. Bong's 26th and 27th victories were achieved in raids over the Japanese base at Hollandia, New Guinea.
Neither air commanders in the Southwest Pacific nor the R.A.F. credit pilots with planes destroyed on the ground, and these fliers still have a long way to go to reach the mark of 72 planes downed by the Canadian, Air Marshal W. A. Bishop, V.C., from 1916 to 1918.
A special release announcing Bong's achievement said all of his 27 victories were scored while flying fighter planes over enemy territory. He was ordered to duty in the Southwest Pacific in September, 1942, later went on leave to the United States and returned to active duty early this year.


‘Canadian’ Destroys 30th German Plane

With the R.C.A.F. in France, June 23, 1944 — (CP Cable) — Wing Cmdr. "Johnny" Johnson, of the R.A.F., commander of a Canadian Spitfire wing, destroyed his 30th German plane in the air yesterday to bring him within two of the record held by the R.A.F.'s leading ace, Group Capt. A. G. (Sailor) Malan.


RCAF Shoots Down 26 Enemy Planes
in Normandy Between Dawn and Dusk

By P.O. H. R. McDONALD, A Canadian Airfield in France.
June 29, 1944 - (CP) - Canadian fighter planes, in one of the most brilliant achievements in the history of the R.C.A.F., shot down 26 out of a total of 34 enemy aircraft destroyed over the Normandy front between dawn and dusk yesterday.
In addition, R.C.A.F. pilots chalked up a number of enemy planes probab1y shot down and a number bf others which were damaged.
Four pilots scored double kills. They were W/C J. E. (Johnny) Johnson, English–born commander of a Canadian fighter wing operating from an R.C.A.F. base in Normandy, and F/Ls. H.C. Trainor, Charlottetown; W.T. Klersy, 14 Harcroft Rd., Toronto, and R.K. Hayward. St. John's, Nfld.

Destroys Two, Damages Third
Hayward destroyed two FW-190's and damaged a third, which gave him the highest R.C.A.F. individual score of the day.
Earlier reports indicated the Canadian airmen had downed 18 enemy planes in yesterday's daylight operations.
The complete figures were reached by intelligence officers today after a period of aerial operations which exceeded in intensity anything since the Allied Normandy beachhead was opened June 6.
Besides the toll of enemy planes, which included all fighter types, R.C.A.F. pilots also strafed transport on the roads.

Final claims on two aircraft are being sifted
Among the R.C.A.F. Spitfire pilots contributing to the total with one Hun each were: F/Ls Irving Kennedy, Cumberland, Ont.; G.R. Patterson, Kelowna, B.C.; J. McElroy, Kamloops, B.C.; Henry Zary, New York; R.M. Stayner, Saskatoon; A.F. Halcrow, Penticton, B.C.; G.W. Johnson, 102 Beechwood Ave., Hamilton, Ont.; D.E. Noonan, 146 Willingdon Ave., Kingston, Ont.; J.B. Rainville, Montreal; and Flying Officers W.J. Banks, Leaside, Ont. and G.H. Farquharson, Corbyville, Ont.
W/C Johnson's score of two brought his total of enemy planes downed to 32, equaling the mark set by G/C A.G. (Sailor) Malan, a South African, now on ground duty.
Among the R.C.A.F. fliers scoring probables were F/O A.C. Brandon, Timmins, Ont.; F/O J.B. O'Sullivan, Vancouver; and P/O J.M. Flood, Hearst, Ont.

Nine Others Damaged
At least nine others wire damaged by fliers of the R.C.A.F.
Of the wings comprising G/C W. (Bill) MacBrien's R.C.AF. sector, the one led by 22-year-old W/C George Keefer, D.F.C. and Bar, Charlottetown, was high scorer of the day with 13 confirmed victories. Johnson's wing was second with seven, in a close race with a unit led by W/C R.A. Buckham, Vancouver.
The margin for Keefer's wing was established in two dusk operations in which seven enemy planes were destroyed and two damaged. In the first action Hayward sighted more than 25 Nazi fighters and led his formation in pursuit. He damaged one.
Later the same Spitfires became embroiled with a dozen FW-190's and Hayward got two of them. The first fell out of control and the second burst into flames and crashed after Hayward had followed it down to tree-top height.
"The Huns were like bees,” said W/O Murray Havers, 1 Lloyd St., Hamilton. Ont. "They seemed confused and acted as though they did not know what they were doing."
The Canadian airmen said the Germans did not put up much of a fight despite their numerical advantage.
Other Canadians credited with kills during the day were F/O G. R. Stephen, Montreal; F/O Larry Robillard, Ottawa; F/O W. A. Gilbert, Dartmouth, N.S.; F/O Don Goodwin, Maynooth, Ont. and F/O Tommy Wheler, 10 Beauford Rd., Toronto.



London, June 30, 1944 (CP) — Canadian fighter pilots accounted for 13 of 17 enemy planes destroyed in aerial battling over Normandy today and among them was Wing Cmdr, J. E. (Johnny) Johnson, English leader of a crack Canadian Spitfire wing operating from French bases, who shot down his 33rd German plane to become the leading Allied fighter ace in this theatre.
Johnson's 33rd Nazi cracked the long-standing record of 32 held by Group Capt. A. G. (Sailor) Malan, built up mainly when the South African ace was the R.A.F.'s outstanding fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain. Malan is not now on active operations.
Today was the second day in the last three that Canadian airmen have led all other Allied air units in knocking the Luftwaffe out of the: sky. On June 28 they shot down 26 of 34 German planes destroyed over the Normandy front.
Johnson bagged two in Wednesday's aerial battling and his record-breaking today came with a three-second burst at 200 yards range. Johnson went after him when No. 2 in his wing spotted the Nazi making for the safety of clouds. He got him and followed the enemy plane down until it crashed
"I was leading a flight of six aircraft when control called us to say that another of our flights was being rather heavily engaged 20 miles within the enemy lines around Argentan," Johnson said after he brought his flight back to base.
"We hurried as hard as we could and right away saw Spitfires, ME 109s and Focke-Wulf 190s having a great dogfight among the clouds. There was only one flight of Spitfires against about 20 or 30 of the Luftwaffe. We soon were among them, and the boys of my flight knocked down three."
Clouds made it "rather fun," said Johnson, adding: "If you got into trouble and found some one getting on your tail you had clouds to help you get rid of him. Then you could come out of the clouds again to look for another to tackle."
Johnson took over command of the wing March 16, 1943. Although an Englishman, he wears a "Canada" flash on his flying clothes as a mark of fellowship with the Canadians he leads. Re recently returned to active flying operations after a period of ground duty.
In cracking Malan's record, Johnson equaled the score set by Brendan (Paddy) Finucane, who had 33 German planes to his credit when he was lost in action last year.
Leading United States flier in this theatre was Capt. Don S. Gentile, who downed 23 planes in combat and destroyed seven on the ground, and who now is in the United States. Leading Canadian ace is F/L George Beurling of Verdun, Que., who destroyed 31 enemy planes, most of them over Malta when he flew with the R.A.F. He now is in Canada on flying-training duty.
Major Alexander Pokryshkin, a Siberian, is Russia's leading ace. He is credited with shooting down 53 German planes.


Malan, Charles & Deere
Sailor talks with Jack Charles & Al Deere




Beurling Ranks Fourth Among European Aces

London, July 15, 1945 (CP) — Group Captain J. E. (Johnny) Johnson, English-born, former leader of a crack Canadian Spitfire wing, has been officially recognized as "ace of aces" among Allied fighter pilots who fought over Europe.
Final scoring records, compiled by The Canadian Press from figures supplied by the RAF, RCAF, and United States 8th and 9th Air Forces, put this peace-time accountant from the Leices­tershire town of Loughborough at the top of the list with 38 German planes destroyed.
Group Capt. Johnson, who so closely identified himself with his otherwise all-Canadian squadron that he wore "Canada" on his shoulder, has often given much of the credit for his success to the Canadians who flew with him. "It's all a combination play," he said. Many of his men themselves became "aces."
Of the first 16 places supplied by the air forces, fourth is held by a Canadian — Flt. Lt. George (Buzz) Beurling, DSO, DFC, DFM and Bar, of Verdun, Que. — and 11 by RAF pilots. For the record, only those with more than 24 "kills" were offered by the three services as their top men.
Official final scores are:

Group Capt. J. E. Johnson (RAF), 38
Group Capt. A. G. Malan (RAF) - [no score given]
Sqdn. Ldr. P. Finucane (RAF), 32
Flt. Lt. G. Beurling (RCAF), 31
Wing Cmdr. Stanford Tuck (RAF), 30
Wing Cmdr. J. R. D. Braham (RAF), 29
an anonymous Polish sergeant [Czech pilot Josef Frantisek] (RAF), 28
Wing Cmdr. F. R. Carey (RAF), 28
Lt. Col. F. S. Gabreski (U.S. 8th), 28
Maj. G. E. Preddy (U.S. 8th)
Wing Cmdr. C. Caldwell (RAF), 27½
Capt. R. Johnson (U.S. 8th)
Flt. Lt. Mungo Park (RAF)
Sqdn. Ldr. J. H. Lacey (RAF), 27
Flt. Lt. E. S. Lock (RAF), 25
Lt.-Col. J. C. Meyer (U.S. 8th), 24½

[some of these numbers have been modified since the war]


Victories Include :                                                                                

21 May 1940

22 May 1940
24 May 1940

27 May 1940

18/19 June 1940
12 July 1940
19 July 1940
24 July 1940
25 July 1940
28 July 1940

11 Aug 1940

13 Aug 1940

11 Sept 1940

17 Oct 1940
22 Oct 1940
23 Nov 1940
27 Nov 1940
  2 Dec 1940
  2 Feb 1941
  5 Feb 1941
17 May 1941
21 May 1941
17 June 1941
21 June 1941
22 June 1941
23 June 1941
24 June 1941
25 June 1941
26 June 1941
28 June 1941
30 June 1941
  2 July 1941
  3 July 1941
  4 July 1941

  5 July 1941
  6 July 1941
23 July 1941
24 July 1941

one He111
one Ju88
one Ju88
1/4 Ju88
one He111
1/6 Do17
one Me109E
1/2 Do17
two Do17s
two He111s
1/3 He111
one Me109E
1/4 Do215
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
two Me109Es
one Me109E
one Do17
one Do17
one Ju88
one Ju88
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
1.5 Me109Es
one Me109E
one Me109E
1/4 Do17
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
two Me109Es
one Me109E
two Bf109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109E
1/2 Me109E
two Me109Es
1.5 Me109Es
two Me109E
one Me109E
one Me109F
one Me109F
one Me109

destroyed &
destroyed &
unconfirmed &
destroyed &
destroyed &
destroyed &
destroyed &
destroyed &


Sailor Malan with his dog Peter. Unfortunately, I can't remember why Sailor was given that little statue. I do recall it (the statue) does have some historical significance though ... big help

Sailor & his dog


Final score is

29.5 / 6 / 16

(2.5 kills are unconfirmed & go in the probable pile)

If you choose to count them as kills, you get

32 / 3.5 / 16

Stats from Aces High vol 2 & Aces High 2nd Ed. - C. Shores
for more details on claims, see the above mentioned books



London, Oct. 13. 1945 - (AP) - Fewer than 50 of "the few" Battle of Britain fighter pilots who saved this island from German invasion in the gloomy autumn of 1940 are alive today.
All the rest of the 375 top-flight fighters of the battle were killed in action. The last one went down six weeks before the war ended.
Almost all of those whose luck kept them alive through five years of war still are serving in the R.A.F., Air Ministry records show. Many of them, too young to have had civilian professions when they joined up, plan to make the air force their career.
Most widely known among the survivors is legless Group Capt. Douglas Bader, 35, who led the "all-Canadian" squadron of the R.A.F. into the Battle of Britain.

Turner High On List
Among the men who flew with him and lived to see the war through are Group Capt. P. S. (Stan) Turner, born in Devon, England, but who lived most of his life in Toronto. Taciturn and superstitious, Turner would never pose for newspaper photographers. "Bad luck," he said succinctly.
Turner was one of the young Canadians who went to England before the war to join the R.A.F. and was posted to Squadron 242, which became the "all-Canadian" unit, and which numbers among it, survivors Flt.-Lt. R. D. (Bob) Grassick, of London, Ont.; recently returned from Egypt.
Bader fought the Battle of Britain from the cockpit of a Hurricane using a set of artificial legs. He previously had made flying history with a comeback after a flying accident in 1931 cost him both legs.
Bader was shot down over France after the crucial battle and spent four years in German prison camps before the United States 1st Army set him free last summer.

Defies Hun Captors
He had broken his artificial legs in his parachute jump to German capture and a new set was parachuted to him by Flight-Sgt. Jack Nickleson, of Toronto, since lost. Bader attempted to escape four times so the Germans took away his legs.
He now is second in command of the R.A.F.'s famous 11 Fighter Group, the same outfit with which he fought in 1940.
The commander of No. 11 Group during some of the hottest days was Sir Keith Park, now Allied air commander of the Southeast Asia command. He is an air chief marshal.
Little Art (Sailor) Malan was one of the most publicized pilots in the Battle of Britain. He now is a group captain at R.A.F. Staff College.
F. R. Carey, another one of the original few, has a desk job in the same office with Bader. Wing-Cmdr. P. M. Brothers, veteran Hurricane ace, is one of the top men at the R.A.F. Cadet College.
Among other old-timers holding staff jobs are: Wing-Cmdr W. Crowley-Milling, Keith Lofts, Bill Drake, Joe Ellis and Tom Vigors. All those names once were virtually household words around London.

Released, Serves Again
Al Donaldson, who knocked down three Germans in one afternoon, now, is stationed with the R.A.F. in Calcutta. Stanford Tuck, who gained almost as much attention as Bader and Malan, spent two years as a prisoner of war, but now is back with old Group 11. How the few hundred pilots contrived to give the Luftwaffe the thrashing they did in the Battle of Britain is one of the miracles of the war.
The superior morale of the pilots, their skill, the fact that they were fighting over and for their very homes, the excellence of the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, good organization in the control rooms and the invaluable secret of radar — all were factors contributing to victory.
It has been admitted officially that in July, 1940, the R.A.F. Fighter Command had only 640 aircraft available daily for the battle. These were being supplemented at the rate of 130 new planes a week.

Terrible Toll of Life
This was little more than enough to make up for heavy losses. But it was the high toll among the best pilots, more than the loss of aircraft, that almost cost them the decision. In the four months from July to October, 1940, the fighter command lost 481 pilots killed, captured or missing plus 422 injured.
The turning point in the Battle of Britain came on that historic Sunday of September 15, 1940, when a gallant little band of dog-tired Pilots, outnumbered ten to one, went up for a desperate last-ditch stand and shot down 185 German Planes in a nightmare battle which lasted all day over London and southeast England. The pilots fought in relays that day, each coming down only long enough for a cup of tea and for refueling his plane.


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Sailor Malan


Thanks go out to

On these pages I use info from the London Gazette Archives, photos from the IWM, newspaper articles via
the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) as well as other sources both published and private

On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research which includes info from numerous sources; newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC); the Google News Archives; the London Gazette Archives and other sources both published and private.

Some content on this site is probably the property of acesofww2.com unless otherwise noted.     Mail