Adrian Warburton (known to all as Warby) was one of the most highly decorated pilots of World War II.
A below-average misfit with 22 Squadron of Coastal Command Warby was sent to Malta to avoid trouble in the UK. Known at first as a loner, when given his head, the spectacular results he achieved enabled his unconventional behaviour to be overlooked. With his glamorous girl-friend Christina, the two became part of Malta’s legend, symbols of the island’s resistance.
Still in Malta, Warby later became CO of first 69 Squadron and then 683 PR Squadron. After contributing to the success of the Sicily landings, for which he was personally thanked by General Alexander, he commanded 336 PR Wing in North Africa. Fearless in the air, the maverick ace shot down nine enemy aircraft and won fame in Malta for his invaluable photo reconnaissance work at Taranto, Sicily and North Africa.
On 12 April 1944 Warburton departed in an American aircraft on an unusual mission over Europe. Both plane and pilot disappeared without trace, giving rise to a host of rumours that his disappearance was intentional. For almost 60 years the mystery remained unsolved, until a painstaking international search unearthed the truth.
Based on interviews with nearly 150 of Warby’s colleagues, and updated by historian Chris Goss with recently unearthed information, Warburtons War paints a picture of a fascinating man, who with 350 operational missions from Malta alone became a living legend and an enigma amongst the aces of WWII.