Flight-Sergeant G F "Screwball" Beurling of No. 249 Squadron RAF, standing by a sandbag revetment at Ta Kali, Malta, with the rudder and unit emblem cut from a crash-landed Macchi MC.202 of 378ª Squadriglia/51º Stormo CT, Regia Aeronautica, one of four enemy aircraft which he shot down over Gozo on 27 July 1942. George Beurling joined the RAF in September 1940 and was posted to No. 41 Squadron RAF a year later. On 9 June 1942, he flew into Malta from HMS EAGLE and joined No. 249 Squadron RAF, with whom he became the top-scoring Allied fighter pilot on the island, achieving 26 victories between 12 June and 14 October 1942. He was sent home to Canada for publicity purposes in November 1942, but returned to the United Kingdom to join No. 61 Operational Training Unit as a flying instructor in July 1943. He transferred to the RCAF on 1 September 1943 and achieved the last of his 32 confirmed victories with Nos. 403 and 412 Squadrons before returning to Canada in April 1944 and retiring from the Air Force the following October. His eccentric, 'lone wolf' nature and an inability to succumb to authority, made him unpopular in the services and contributed to his restlessness after the war. He died in a flying accident, (sabotage was also suspected), on 20 May 1948, while ferrying an aircraft to Israel after having volunteered for service with the nascent Israeli Air Force.