EP706, The Malta Defender

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Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb Sqn/Ldr Maurice Stephens No. 249 Squadron RAF Takali, Malta, October 1942 Click to enlarge image This Spitfire Mk. Vb, EP706 ...

Supermarine Spitfire Mk. Vb
Sqn/Ldr Maurice Stephens
No. 249 Squadron RAF
Takali, Malta, October 1942
Click to enlarge image

This Spitfire Mk. Vb, EP706 was delivered to the RAF in July 1942 from the Castle Bromwich Aircraft Factory. It was most probably among the aircraft flown to Malta off HMS Furious in August that year.

On Malta, the aircraft saw service with No. 249 Squadron. Due to scarcity of serviceable aircraft, pilot rotation was usual on Malta, and EP706 was reportedly flown both by F/O George “Buzz” Beurling, the highest-scoring Malta ace, and Sqn/Ldr Maurice Stephens, commanding officer of No. 249 Squadron. It is probable that both these aces scored victories while flying this aircraft.

The paint scheme was standard Dark Earth/Mid Stone over Azure Blue and red spinner.

On 3 March 1942, EP706 suffered the engine failure in the air and was force-landed 23 miles north of Valetta. The damage sustained made salvaging of the aircraft impractical with the means then available on the island, and after stripping off it was abandoned.

2 Comments

By Caroline Stephens  |  2011-06-28 at 23:26  |  permalink

Super article, this Spitfire was flown by my Grandfather’s cousin Michael Maurice Stephens! Amazing to see it on this site. He went onto be a Group Captain.

By Stuart bean  |  2016-06-02 at 15:04  |  permalink

Great article, thanks. I may be able to add to the info known about EP706. My Grandfather was RAF ground crew, and one of the aircraft they repaired was EP706. I have the records of the repairs made, after it was received by the MU on the 23/10/42. They were asked to investigate a possible strain to the wing attachments. After 7 pages of notes it ends with “Cowled up a/c sent to Kala 27/1/43.

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