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Four page letter signed "Sailor" to fellow Battle of Britain Spitfire ace Alan Deere.
Plymouth, H.M.T. Carnarvon Castle, 25 February, 1946 - Written on both sides of 2 sheets (202 × 164 mm) of note-paper embossed with the Royal Arms. Holes from stapling to the top left-hand corner, creases from old folds, but overall very good. Signed or autograph material by Malan is extremely uncommon, this substantial letter also boasts excellent content and Battle of Britain associations. Born in Cape Province in 1910, Malan joined the RAF in 1935, having previously served in the merchant marine with the Union-Castle Line, the origin of his sobriquet. He joined 74 Squadron in January 1936 and remained with them, rising to Squadron Leader, until March 1941 when he became Wing Leader of the Biggin Hill Wing. In his active fighter career through the height of the Battle of Britain he claimed 27 kills destroyed, 7 shared destroyed and 2 unconfirmed, 3 probables and 16 damaged, making him at the time the RAF's highest scoring Ace and one of the highest scoring pilots to have served wholly with Fighter Command during WW2. Here he writes to Alan Deere, a fellow Spitfire pilot who served in the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain, accumulating 22 kills, and who was a Wing Commander at Biggin Hill at the time when Malan had become Station Commander. "Well, we have had a long and a happy association together which I shall never forget, and I do hope we shall meet again some day." Malan apologises for not having seen Deere before his departure - "I was in a constant rush right up to the end and couldn't spare either the petrol or the time to see you on the last Saturday night when you were in Town." - hopes that he has mended his breach with fellow New Zealand Ace Bill Compton - "his besetting sin is selfish thoughtlessness at times" - congratulates him on his receiving an OBE and his acceptance of a permanent commission - "the service could do with as many of your type as they can lay hands on" - and extends his best wishes for the birth of his first child - "I can picture you strutting about with pride when your infant arrives." Malan himself feels that he could not have faced peace-time service and "Even had I not got myself fixed up as well as I have, I flatter myself that I could have improved my position and circumstances in several other walks What an Ego!" He had been invited by Harry Oppenheimer to become his private and political secretary at the Anglo-American Corporation, which address he gives for future mail. However, it was in the strained political world of post-War South Africa that he really made his mark. Having joined the servicemen's anti-apartheid organizations the Springbok Legion and War Veterans Action Committee on his return to the country, he was chosen to be president of the Torch Commando, which was founded to oppose the disenfranchisement of the Cape Coloured population. At its height membership reached 250,000, with Malan addressing rallies of up to 75,000, drawing draconian measures amounting to proscription from the National Party government. Malan died of Parkinson's Disease in 1963. [Attributes: Signed Copy]
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington. ABA member]
Last Found On: 2014-10-04           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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