Troubador Air Sea Rescue During the Siege of Malta

Released: 01/11/2010

eISBN: 9781848769113

Format: eBook

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Air Sea Rescue During the Siege of Malta

An eyewitness account of life with HSL107 1941-43


This important new book is one of few available eyewitness tales about the often overlooked role of the Air / Sea Rescue teams during World War II. Focussing on High Speed Launch (HSL) 107 which rescued close to 100 pilots during the siege of Malta, this tale of heroism is a historically important personal account by Bill Jackson, a crew member of HSL 107.

While everyone around them was hell-bent on death and destruction, the crews of the Air / Sea Rescue Units were dedicated to the survival of both friend and foe alike. They carried out their job with little recognition and with great heroism. Battling the elements, often in appalling sea conditions, and under near-constant air attack from a most determined enemy, the units shared the privations endured by the islanders, coming close to starvation as the Axis forces inched toward invasion.

This book shares with the reader the elation of successful rescues, the exhilaration of the High Speed Launch at full throttle, the determination of the Units to turn out at all hours in all weathers to go to the aid of both Allied and Axis pilots. Relief, anticipation, joy and fear are all related to the reader as well as the sheer determination to maintain their rescue capabilities 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This fascinating book is set to fill a large gap in the existing literature of World War II.

Review by John Parsons, former ASR Unit Member ‘Air Sea Rescue During the Siege of Malta’
sounds, at first, like one of those tedious publications, intended for the student to weigh the pros and cons of the success, or failure, of the operation. That is far from the case.
Bill Jackson, captures the spirit and camaraderie that existed amongst that select band of R.A.F. Sailors and gives an airman’s view and an Erk’s descriptive voice, to life aboard a 64ft High Speed Launch whilst carrying out Air Sea Rescue, off the coast of Malta.
One gets a true feeling of the dangers, both from nature and man made, that faced crews each time the “Start up engines” order was given. Within just a few pages, a description of the exhilaration of the three engines going flat out with the sea, sometimes calm and sometimes cruel, is transmitted to the reader, with hopefully a pick-up at the end. No heroics, just a job, well done. Then it’s back to the mundane routine tasks until the next call-out with the added burden of constant enemy air raids and the shortage of food and supplies, experienced by both service personnel and the Maltese population.
Unlike some other books on Malta during WWII, ‘Air Sea Rescue during the Siege of Malta’ could never be considered a failure; the 273 Pick-ups achieved by ASR Units during Bill’s tour in Malta bear testament to this. This book is certainly a success.

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Bill Jackson

Air Sea Rescue During The Siege Of Malta was, in fact, written by two Bill Jacksons!

Bill Jackson Snr (3/7/1923-10/12/2009), the eldest of four, was born and brought up in Workington,Cumbria. He was educated at the Central School for Boys where he developed a love of Literature and had his first writing published. Looking for wider opportunities he became an apprentice at No 1 Electrical & Mechanical School, RAF Cranwell. Bill qualified as a Wireless Operator/Mechanic in June, 1941 and by August 2nd he found himself stationed on Malta. After his hair-raising experiences during the island's seige he was repatriated before being plunged into further conflict in the Far East. After the war Bill settled with his family in the village of Thursby, near Carlisle and lived there for the rest of his life. He spent many years servicing cinema projectors and TVs throughout Cumbria and SW Scotland until he became the village Sub-Postmaster. During all of this time Bill never stopped writing for magazines and local newspapers, as well as broadcasting for Radio Cumbria. Bill Jackson Jnr ( was brought up in Thursby and is now a retired teacher. Following his father's death it fell to him to see the book through to publication. He now divides his time between his home and allotment in the English Midlands and his travels abroad.Contact

Bill Jackson, Veterans' Reunion, Malta, 2005

Bill Jackson's memoirs
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