Adolph Gysbert Malan was born in Wellington, Cape Colony in South Africa back in 1910. At the age of 14 he joined the South African Training Ship General Botha as a naval cadet in 1924. In 1932 he joined the Royal Naval Reserve as an acting sub-lieutenant, by 1935 he was commissioned as a sub-lieutenant.
Later on, that year he volunteered for the Royal Air Force in its rapid expansion of the pilot corps. He received his wings in March of 1936. By 1939, he was promoted to flight lieutenant just six months before the outbreak of war. Just 15 hours after war was declared he saw his first action during the Battle of Barking Creek. He was involved in the evacuation of the British Army from Dunkirk. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In August of 1940 he was promoted to squadron leader. Three days later the Battle of Britain began, he was right in the middle of it. He died in 1963 from Parkinson’s disease, he was 53.
What you may not know about Adolph is that he is credited with 27 enemy planes destroyed, 7 shared destroyed and 2 unconfirmed, 3 probable’s and 16 damaged. At the time he was the RAF’s leading ace and one of the highest scoring pilots to have served wholly with Fighter Command during World War II.
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