Flight Sergeant Herbert Phillip 'Bud' Milligan - No. 229 Squadron
On July 21, 1942, HMS Eagle delivered another supply of Spitfires and pilots to Malta. Among the pilots was Flight Sergeant Herbert ‘Bud’ Milligan, an American volunteer with the RCAF.
The pilots were given an information card which advised: Takeoff as normal except (a) Throttle fully open (b) Tail trim to central position (c) Cold air (d) See that knurled nut on throttle quadrant is firm Formation: Join up as soon as possible in predetermined positions. WIDE FORMATION. Fly on overload tank until it runs dry then switch on main tanks and switch off overload tank. Note: Jettison overload tank if necessary if EMPTY. Gives extra 45 miles endurance. Maintain strict R/T silence after leaving carrier. Only transmit in emergency. I.F.F. on at E.T.A. minus 30 minutes, approximately 90 miles from destination. Carrier call sign “PYFFO”. If separated or lost: On last leg head north. Turn east on reaching land (Sicily) and follow coast to easternmost point, then set compass to 222 degrees (M) for destination. Don’t Flap or Worry.
Flight Sergeant Milligan landed at Luqa – flight time 3:20.
'Bud' Milligan climbed into No. 229 Squadron Spitfire B-2 on August 1 for his first scramble over Malta. He recorded in his pilot logbook, August 6 – ‘mixed with some Eyetyes’ during a 1 hour scramble in Spitfire X-V; August 15 – ‘Patrolled tanker Ohio badly damaged’.
During September 1942, 'Bud' Milligan participated in three sweeps over Sicily with No. 229 Squadron. He recorded in his September logbook notations: “Hiskens killed; P/O Scott killed; Peters killed; Dusty Miller killed; Tim Roe killed; Micky Butler killed; Group Captain Churchill killed by flak; Bob Weaver shot down - P of W.”
During October 1942, Milligan participated in twenty scrambles in twenty-four days. On October 5 he participated in a sweep over Sicily. The Officer Commanding ‘A’ Flight was Flight Lieutenant Art Roscoe, a former No. 71 Eagle Squadron pilot who volunteered for service on Malta. Milligan recorded in his logbook: 'Sweep over Sicily – Roscoe and I left over there - alone.'
Other notations recorded in his logbook during October: 'Bryden shot down-lost his leg; Beurling shot down and bailed out-hit in ankle; Roscoe shot up and crashed; Rip Jones killed October 17, W/Cdr. Donaldson’s hand shot off by 109. Hoagy shot up and crashed at Qrendi – killed.'
On October 24, 1942, Flight Sergeant 'Bud' Milligan was shot in the ankle when the Spitfire he was piloting was attacked by a Me.109. Milligan managed to fly the damaged airplane back to base. He was sent to Cairo with other wounded pilots and spent five months recuperating. Milligan cabled his parents in New Jersey, "It's not much. I'm okay - really."
Bud Milligan arrived at Malta weighing 175 lbs. and left four months later weighing 128 lbs.