When asked to conjure an impression of the ‘typical fighter pilot’, you may be inclined to think of the confident, extroverted, gregarious type, rallying his men and flying in the pursuit of victory. George Frederick ‘Screwball’ Beurling, DSO, DFC, and DFM, certainly achieved more victories than most typical fighter pilots dream of, but in temperament, personality and style, he was a one-off. A devout Christian, introverted teetotaler and non-smoker, Beurling wasn’t to be found patronising the local bars with his fellow pilots. Instead, he committed himself solely to the art of aerial combat. His very first missions saw him break away from squadron formation, pursuing lone German fighters that he ultimately destroyed. He was reprimanded heavily for this, but not deterred from his single-minded approach. In Maltese skies he really came into his own, shooting down 27 Axis aircraft in just 14 days. In the month of July 1942, he secured five ‘kills’ in just four days. In the process he was awarded the DSO, DFC and DFM, along with hero-status amongst his fellow pilots and members of the public.He survived the war, only to be killed three years later whilst landing a transport aircraft following a test flight.
SNIPER OF THE SKIES The Story of George Frederick “Screwball” Beurling DSO, DFC, DFM
‘Screwball’ Beurling was a deadly Canadian fighter pilot with incredible eyesight, skill and deflection shooting capability. This biographical study serves as a tribute to one of the most successful and intriguing fighter pilots of the twentieth century. Beurling was recognised as “Canada’s most famous hero of Second World War”, as “The Falcon of Malta” and the “Knight of Malta”,having been credited with shooting down 27 Axis aircraft in just 14 days over the besieged Mediterranean island. Before the war ended his official total climbed to 31.