Aircraft Index

Fighter Aces & Famous Pilots



A G Malan
WW2 Fighter Pilot

Group Captain Adolph Gysbert Malan, popularly known as "Sailor Malan", was one of the Ace RAF fighter pilots of WW2. He was famous for purposely allowing German pilots to escape and fly home with their dead and injured crews on board in order that the true horror of warfare would be experienced by more than just the hapless aircrews alone.

His great contribution to the British war effort were his 10 rules for air combat. RAH fighter pilots learned these rules by heart to increase their chances of successes and survival in aerial combat.

A G Malan

Background and Early Life
Group Captain A.G. Malan was born in Wellington, Cape Province, South Africa. At the early age of 15, he joined the Mercantile Marine with the Union Castle Line . This is where his nickname, Sailor, originated. He had his initial nautical training at the South African Merchant Navy Academy in 1924. He excelled and was one of the best cadets the institution produced. When it became apparent that the British Empire was endangered, he enrolled with the RAF's elementary flying school located near Bristol, England, learning to fly on Tiger Moth aircraft. He made his first flight on January 6, 1936 and then advanced to more sophisticated aircraft.


Personal Life and Family
Adolph Gysbert Malan was born on March 24, 1910 to Willem Adolf Malan and Evelyn Forde Jordan. He had 6 younger siblings namely, Ralph Jordan Malan, Zoe Minaar Malan, Willem Stanley Malan, Francis Malan, Marjorie Joubert Malan and Peter Malan. He was married to Lunda Irene Fraser and was blessed with 2 children, Jonathan Malan and Valerie Malan.

Work and Career
The Barking Creek Battle - During WW2 Malan was assigned to the RAF's No. 74 Squadron and was tasked to cut off a bomber raid; however, it was in fact a misidentified RAF returning flight. Malan allegedly ordered Paddy Byrne and John Freeborn to attack the aircraft resulting in the death of flying Officer Montague Hulton-Harrop. During the following court-martial of the two pilots, Malan denied commanding his men to attack and was called a bare-faced liar. Fortunately, the court had decided that it was an unfortunate error of war and the 2 pilots were released.

Fierce Fight over Dunkirk
On June 28, 1940 Sailor Malan was involved in a fierce fight over Dunkirk which earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of him shooting down five enemy aircraft.

Squadron Leader
On August 8, 1940, he was promoted as Acting Squadron leader. During the height of the Battle of Britain he was able to intercept a raid near Dover and three following raids. The squadron was able to shoot down a total of 38 enemy aircraft.

Wing Commander
After he received the Distinguished Service Order on December 24, 1940, he was appointed as one of the first Wing Leaders for the spring offensive. In 1941 he officially ended his active fighter pilot career with 27 kills, 7 aircraft destroyed, 3 probable damaged and 16 damaged aircraft and became Station Commander of RAF Biggin Hill. Although RAF standing orders prohibited ranks of Station Commander and above from flying for security reasons he regularly ignored these orders.

September 17, 1963, Captain A. G Malan died of Parkinson�s disease. During that time, this disease was rare and there was no treatment available. Because of his death, a budget was raised to research the treatment of this serious disease. The fund still finances research in to Parkinson�s disease to this day.

Influence & Legacy
A good tactician and aggressive fighter pilot in the RAF, Captain A. G. Malan was famous for his 10 rules for air combat. After the end of  WW2 Malan returned to his native South Africa and became an influential member of many Apartheid organisations, the National Party was so frightened of the effect this could have on the young white South Africans who may be heavily influenced by the beliefs of such a fighter pilot hero they had Malan purged from their official history.

Fast Facts

  • Occupation: Group Captain / Fighter Pilot
  • Birthday: March 24, 1910
  • Place of Birth: Wellington, South Africa
  • Nickname: Sailor
  • Date of Death: September 17, 1963
  • Place of Death: South Africa

Captain A. G. Malan's 10 rules of air combat

  • Wait until you see the whites of his eyes. Fire short bursts of one to two seconds only when your sights are definitely "ON".
  • Whilst shooting think of nothing else, brace the whole of your body: have both hands on the stick: concentrate on your ring sight.
  • Always keep a sharp lookout. "Keep your finger out".
  • Height gives you the initiative.
  • Always turn and face the attack.
  • Make your decisions promptly. It is better to act quickly even though your tactics are not the best.
  • Never fly straight and level for more than 30 seconds in the combat area.
  • When diving to attack always leave a proportion of your formation above to act as a top guard.
  • INITIATIVE, AGGRESSION, AIR DISCIPLINE, and TEAMWORK are words that MEAN something in Air Fighting.
  • Go in quickly - Punch hard - Get out!

Medals and Awards

  • Distinguished Service Order and Bar
  • Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar
  • Belgium Croix de Guerre
  • Czecho-Slovakian Military Cross
  • French Legion Of Honour
  • French Croix de Guerre

A G Malan


Terms & Limitations of A G Malan Picture use

This picture of A G Malan is Copyright � June 2014 Siteseen Ltd. We only allow this picture to be used for printed non-commercial purposes and particularly encourage it's use for printed educational non-commercial purposes. This A G Malan picture is not in the Public Domain.

Limitations of use:

1) Siteseen Ltd. must be credited as the copyright holders wherever our copyrighted pictures or content are used.
2) Not for internet or commercial use.
3) Use of this A G Malan picture, or any of our pictures on websites re-distributing copyright free material is strictly prohibited.
Need more Information? - Visit our copyright page via our main index


A G Malan - WW2 Fighter Ace


Free A G Malan Pictures - Copyright - Copy - Right - Educational - A G Malan - Resource - Gallery - JPEGS - Pictures - Photos - Photographs - A G Malan - Photos - Pic - Pics - Graphics - Vivid - Striking - Copy - Right - Detailed - Clear - A G Malan - JPEGS - Educational - Resource - Pic - Pics - A G Malan - Pictures - Images - Colorful - Beautiful - Pretty- Piture - Visuals - A G Malan - Pitures - Fotos - Fotographs - Graffics - Imiges - Illustrations - Pitures - Grafics - A G Malan - Graffics - Imiges - Prints - Free A G Malan Pictures - history of aircraft - aircraft pictures - plane pictures - aircraft photos - aircraft photographs - plane photos - plane pictures - plane photographs - History of Modern American Millitry Aircraft and Recognition - Warbird