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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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