Stapme: The Biography of Squadron Leader Basil Gerald Stapleton DFC, DFC (Dutch) by David Ross
Gerald Stapleton was born in Durban, South Africa in 1920. In January 1939 he took up a short service commission in the RAF and eventually joined 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron in December 1939, prior to becoming on of the outstanding fighter pilots of the Battle of Britain, accounting for nearly 20 enemy aircraft destroyed, probably destroyed or damaged. All his scores were achieved on Spitfires during this battle and he was revered as one of Richard Hillary's contemporaries in whose book "The Last Enemy", he features. Nicknamed "Stapme" after a phrase used in his favourite cartoon strip "Just Jake", in February 1942 he became flight commander of 257 Squadron, then joined 2 ADF at Colerne the following year before becoming a gunnery instructor at RAF Kenley and Central Gunnery School, Catfoss. He returned to operations in August 1944 to command 247 Squadron on Typhoons. He received the Dutch Flying Cross for his part in the Arnhem operations. Forced to land inside German lines in December 1944, he spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft I on the Baltic coast. One of the real "characters" to survive the war, and to many the quintessential image of a Battle of Britain fighter pilot, Stapme tells his full story to historian David Ross.