Ace of Aces: M. St. J. Pattle - Top Scoring Allied Pilot of WWII - E. C. R. [Edgar Charles Richard] BakerSomerton: Crecy Books, 1992, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Poor - in Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper, heavier at the head of the spine with a small nick, price-sticker scar to the upper panel. Title page removed, errata slip remains.
Publishing date unvailable due to the lack of the title page, dated from references. Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Facsimiles; Maps; Tables;
From the cover: “The nomination of the greatest fighter pilot of the Royal Air Force in the Second World War must always be a matter for argument. So many of the qualities which add up to greatness are not measurable — courage, leadership, endurance. The only concrete yardstick is the number of confirmed kills, the score of enemy aircraft shot down. It is on the latter account that M T St John Pattle can now be called the top-scoring Allied fighter pilot of World War II. But it is also the above-mentioned qualities which have placed ‘Pat’ Pattle, the boy from Butterworth, in the hall of legends. Yet, after the war Pattle’s achievements seemed destined never to be fully recognised — both because all records in the air campaign in Greece in 1941 were destroyed during the Allied retreat, and because the Greek campaign itself, viewed as an Allied defeat, was never perhaps given the acknowledgement it deserved. E C R Baker has pieced together Pattle’s amazing career with authoritative detail; this he has achieved through exhaustive research carried out in co-operation with the surviving pilots and other members of the squadrons with which Pattle fought. ‘Pat’ Pattle, once the unknown ace, was killed in the bitter fighting over Greece, and the records of his squadron never reached the Air Ministry files. But the author’s researches confirm that Pattle had shot down at least forty enemy planes in nine months of action before he was killed in April 1941. Furthermore, following the original publication of this book, the author was contacted by numerous people who knew, or were with, Pattle, during his career in the RAF, and provided further evidence of Pattle’s feats. On the basis of that evidence, Pattle’s confirmed kills can unquestionably be placed at between forty-four and sixty-four aircraft shot down. But this is more than a retelling of statistics. Here is the story of an outstanding fighter pilot and a great leader of men, the unknown ace of the Royal Air Force. Pattle was born in the Cape and raised on a lonely farm in Namibia. He discovered early in his life a keen desire within him to fly. He was rejected by the South African Air Force in 1933, but became more determined than ever to achieve his ambition. Pattle left South Africa to join the Royal Air Force before the war and achieved a success out of all proportion to expectations. He did much to help the hard-pressed troops on the ground. On 20 April 1941, a sick man, he led the remnants of his own and another squadron against an armada of over a hundred German aircraft. In the desperate fighting that followed, he shot down at least two enemy aircraft and then dived to the rescue of one of his pilots. The odds were too heavy and seconds later his aircraft, with Pattle slumped over the controls, crashed in the Bay of Eleusis.”