There is a misconception that Buzz Beurling was not a team player.
This author thinks otherwise.
Beurling had been accused of being a ‘loner’ while flying with No. 403 Squadron, and it was said that the air battle over Malta suited his mentality. From this the idea has grown that he was allowed to just go off and shoot down enemy aircraft at will. This is far from the truth. Over Malta No. 249 Squadron generally flew in pairs, something his flight commander Laddie Lucas drummed into Beurling on day two. The young Canadian took his leader’s words onboard and was never reprimanded for disobeying this rule, nor any other order. He was not guilty of waging a private war, as the island was limited in its 100 octane fuel supply and every sortie had to count. No-one, not even Beurling at the height of his prowess as a fighter-ace, had licence to roam freely and shoot down enemy aircraft. When Beurling’s Spitfire suffered radio failure (a valid excuse to act alone) he duly returned to base. If Beurling was scrambled, he followed the Controller’s orders and the same went for air tests, or any other authorised flight; if given a vector, he obeyed orders, otherwise he landed. Moreover, Beurling was a team player and constantly saved the lives of his fellow pilots in combat, on more than one occasion being shot down as a result…
Read the book. I bought it yesterday. It’s available on Google Books for $9.99 CAN.