SPITFIRE PILOT'S MALTA DIARY
Flight-Lieut. C.H. Parkinsor D.F.C., of Sydney, who for six months fought in the skies above Malta, shot down 10 enemy planes and probably destroyed and damaged many others. He kept a diary of his actions which provides a thrilling story of Malta's epic defence.
"The 'Ice-Cream Boys' went over again tonight. I found a R.E. fighter with finger trouble. Flew out to one side, recognised it as an R.E., flew in behind, gave a long burst, and saw strikes. The kite faltered, glycol pouring out, and went into a vertical dive. A shower of enemy fighters attacked me, so I did a wild dive and escaped them. Last I saw of thc R.E. it was still heading for thc drink, at about 5000 or 6000 ft. I went home and reported.
"Our quarters were nearly pranged last night. I was in bed, at about 2 a.m., when a low-flying aircraft woke me up. As soon as it passed over head, I heard the rush of bombs. The whole building shuddered (so did I). Showers of rocks hit the walls and roof, and a smell of dust tilled the air. but no explosion. We all decided to get out of the building in case was a D.A. Tho raid was still in
progress when we arrived on the Bastion. There were two fires at Luqa.
"The 'all clear' sounded; so we went to investigate, and find out where the bombs had fallen. It was a Maltese waiter in our mess who found it. He took one look, and was off like a streak of greased lightning. I took one look, and did not stay too long either. The bomb had hit a Bastion wall, bounced off, knocked down the wall of a small church, and fallen on the floor. It was about 4 ft. long and 18 inches, wide, and evidently a delayed action.
"Rose 4.30 to 'drome. Scramble about 9 o'clock to 24,000 ft. Hun bombers came over, with large fighter escort. Our section did not see the bombers, but saw some fighters. An ME 109 swung in to attack a Spit., but the Spit. turned towards it. They then both went in opposite directions. I put mv nose down and went after the 109 with everything pushed. Got to within 150 yards, and gave a long squirt with cannon and M.G. fire. I allowed plenty for drop. Saw strikes and black smoke pour out of 109. He pulled up slightly and dived steeply. 1 kept on squirting till my cannon ran out of ammo. This took place south of Malta 15 miles.
"Another 109 bounced me, but turned up sun and he lost me. 1 hea< ed for home at .1000 ft. Another kit dived at me. and I swung up su ngîiiu and did a steep tum on to h tail. It. was a Spit. Came bac to 'drome and claimed ono probable!
"Delayed actions have been goin off all day round tho 'drome. A 400 pounder went off yesterday and tlc
a large crater.
."Was awakened this morning by th sound of gunfire, and planes dive-boml ing. Went up on the roof and sai ME 10D fighters all over tho place, a low as 2000 ft. in some cases. Sal four 109's pass overhead down th sun, and dive on four Spits, who wer (lying up sun. The 109's opened fin and ono Spit, was hit and dived straigh tor thc deck. Thc other Spits, mixe it7 Johnson, an Australian, was th pilot, shot down. He is O.K.
"A. cool wind blowing to-day. O readiness this afternoon. Hope l hav some luck. An SS would be nico con; peusntion for being on this island. N scrambles until about S o'clock. Fin ally took off and climbed into tho sui over Gozo. Reached J 1,000 ft., turnei south-east down sun, and reached th Malta coast iu time to seo aek-acl bursts over the centre of the island As wo drew lercl with the coastline in a steep I saw a JU SS underneatl with black smoke pouring out. of thi contre of the fuselage. I rolled oi my back and dived after it. At ¡ range of about 10 yards J. opened fire The SS tried to gain height, but burs' Into flames and finally disintegrated My machine flew right through the fal! ing wreckage. The SS was a detinili conner before I attacked it.
CRASHED INTO SEA.
"I bioko away up sun and saw ai ME 1CÍJ weaving in and out among i number of Spits. It was about tt givo one of them a burst, but I 30I a squirt in instead. ' The 109 contin ued weaving on its way westward un molested. I was close behiud. ll evidently saw me and started a dive, I gave a long squirt and followed it down through light cloud to about 200 ft. above thc water. Tho MF continued diving, and crashed straight in. I stooged about for another quar ter of an hour, and then came clown
"Readiness this morning early. Was scrambled about S o'clock, nearly too late. Climbed to about 7000 ft., and came Tound south of Gozo to tho Malta coast, and met the JU's coming out, about 12 of them. Attacked an SS from beam and astern, and saw strikes on. the fuselage, wings and wing roots. Cannons packed up, so came home and claimed a damaged.
"Riso for M.15 dawn readiness. Scrambled to 22,000 ft., but missed the bombers who dropped their load off Ta-Kali. My R.T. packed up, so I came back to laud .-just after the others. Taxied into the bay in time to see tho crews running like hell for the shelters, and a flock of JU 88's overhead. Nipped smartly out of my kite and made the world's record for a 200 vards sprint to the surface shel ter. Ono bomb lobbed just at the back of the shelter, and shook us all to the underpants. A stick of bombs I bad fallen, along the dispersal pens, anc
punctured my new kite in the wings. After inspecting tho kite, I walked back to dispersal. With a roar a terrific D.A. went off 20 yards from my kite again. More holes and a rock bashed the spinner.
"Bise 3.15. Headiness at 4.45. Every thing quiet until about 8.30. Scrambled up to about 24,000 ft., and was boun ced by 109's out of the sun. We all became separated, so I joined up with another bioko about 7000 ft. He broke away, so I joined up with a nest of two who flew out to sea. We saw two lOO's below us, so wo boun ced them. I gave one a good squirt, and saw bursts of cannon shell all over the fuselage and wings. The ME flew level for a few seconds, and then did a slow dive, down to the sea i and right in.".