Heaton-Lewis Books

Autographed books on history

The Star of Africa
To the Germans he was a hero
To the enemy he became a legend

Hans-Joachim Marseille was arguably the greatest fighter pilot who ever lived. His 158 aerial victories in 382 missions notwithstanding, his destruction of expensive Allied aircraft and the cost of training pilots/crews and other war materiel accounted for over $115 million in losses in today's currency. Given the cost of aircraft today (the average cost for a fighter in WW II was $45,000) and the training of pilots, the extrapolated cost would be about $6.5 billion USD.

Marseille broke all the rules of both aerial combat doctrine and National Socialist military and racial policies. He was a proficient killer who was also by nature a humanitarian. He often put as much effort into saving the lives of the enemies he shot down as he did in destroying their aircraft. Interviews with the men who flew with him, as well as comments from his enemies provide a well-rounded picture of this complex man.

When he was not in trouble for having affairs with famous actresses, married women and daughters of high ranking officers (including a niece of Benito Mussolini), he was reprimanded for his rebellious nature and nonconformity to strict Nazi regulations.

He flew five times to enemy airfields to notify his enemies of the fates and dispositions of their fliers he had shot down. He also dropped the coordinates of wounded and killed pilots so that the Allied forces could locate and retrieve them, all against specific orders from Hermann Goering. His befriending and protecting his black South African POW Cpl. Matthew "Mathias" Letuku placed him and his unit in great danger and controversy.

After his death, his comrades kept their word and protected Letuku, smuggling him out of North Africa into Greece keeping him out of the hands of the SS and Gestapo. He was finally released into British custody in Greece.

On October 2, 1942 Marseille's death was reported in The New York Times. 

Link shows Hans-Joachim Marseille during his Hitler Youth tour following his receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords.

Ludwig Franzisket and Werner Schroer on patrol over Libya, 1942

Cpl. Matthew "Mathias" Letuku

Marseille and Mathias

Luftwaffe fighter pilot Erich Brunotte with our book and the Me-109

Correspondence Resulting from Readership

Sometimes a historian will discover something new and exciting as a result of the research and interviews. The same can be said of those families who seek information about a fallen or lost loved one. We will post all relevant contact data with the permissions of the senders

Dear Sir,


Recently I have been researching the war time service of my uncle Pilot Officer Graham George Buckland, 250 Squadron R.A.F. I came across an article in Wikipedia about the Luftwaffe pilot Hans-Joachim Marseille. In the article it mentions Graham as being Marseille’s 65th victory and that Marseille marked his grave, collected his papers and then dropped a letter at the R.A.F. airfield. The reference for this is given as Heaton & Lewis 2012 page 106.


I was wondering if you have any more information about Graham’s death and how you became aware of this amazing story?


Yours Sincerely,


Richard Carthew




Dear Sir:


Thanks very much for your email. This event was witnessed by the men I interviewed, such as Ludwig Franzisket, Emil Clade and Werner Schroer, who were in the battle, and both Schroer and Franzisket were on the recovery of your uncle with Marseille. Gustav Rodel also saw the action, and Eduard Neumann confirmed. One of the other men, Franz Stigler (see the book A Higher Call) said a prayer for him, being Catholic.


We have had a few responses from persons around the world who are learning of many events that have only come to light due to this book. If I may, the German pilots were very respectful of your uncle, and Marseille was quite shaken by the event. Ironically he would die the same way, as you know.


If I can have your permission I would like to place your email (minus your address of course) on our website. I have been remiss in posting comments, and yours is a very good inquiry. If I may be of assistance further, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Best wishes


Colin D. Heaton and Anne-Marie Lewis
Heaton-Lewis Books
2326 Monroe Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

Dear Colin and Anne-Marie,


Thank you very much for your reply. It is amazing that there is the knowledge of the incident to this day. The family only knew bits and pieces of what happened, so I will go online and purchase ‘A Higher Call’. My mother will be very interested in the extra information of what happened to her brother. It is comforting for the family that a prayer was said for Graham.


The family has Graham’s wrist watch that was sent home from North Africa, do you think it is possible it was retrieved by Hans-Joachim Marseille and dropped at the R.A.F. airfield?


I am more than happy if you use any of my emails. Please find attached a picture of Graham.


Kind Regards,


Richard Carthew

Thank you Colin,

It would be much appreciated if the incidents surrounding Graham’s death were included in a film of the life of Hans Marseille.

Perhaps, if my grandmother knew of the particulars of Graham’s death and the respect he was shown it might not have been such a greater burden on her for the rest of her life.

About this time last year my wife Debra and myself went to Canberra, whilst we were there we visited the Australian War Memorial. At the Roll of Honour we placed a poppy next to Graham’s name and also one next to Debra’s great uncle Bill Roche.

Bill was a gunner in a Lancaster bomber shot down over Berlin on January 2, 1944. The irony was that when we were there, there was a service and a fly over in acknowledgement of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of Bomber Command.


Hi Colin,


The parcel post has just arrived. I ripped open the envelope and went straight to the index and then too page 106. The only person home was Max, my daughter’s boyfriend who is over from Rome for four weeks. His occupation is a pilot. I sat down and read him the page and couldn’t believe events like this have been recorded. He said Italians only think of history if it is over 2000 years old.


I will phone Emily at the R.A.A.F. Museum on Monday. I am sure she will be delighted with the book that details Graham’s last minutes.


Please find attached the pictures of Graham’s watch we found at my mother’s home.


Thank you very much for the dedication in the front of The Star Of Africa.


Kind Regards,



Good morning Mr Heaton and Ms Lewis,
My apologies for not replying to your email earlier.

I have enjoyed working with Richard and the story of Graham Buckland is quite enthralling. To be able to then match his loss with the actions of Marseille and to see your reference to his reflections, is quite considerable. Please note that the copy of your publication received by Richard has now been added to the Buckland Collection of the RAAF Heritage Collection, managed by the RAAF Museum, here at RAAF Base Williams, Point Cook.
Again, thank you for your consideration and I wish you all the best in your future endeavours.
Kind regards,



MS E Constantine

Collections Manager

RAAF Museum
RAAF Williams

Tel: (03) 8348 6007

Fax: (03) 8348 6692

Press information in the Wilmington Star News with update

Men of Buckland's No, 250 Squadron with a Me-109E. Courtesy of Richard Carthew.

Two photos of Graham Buckland's watch, part of his personal effects, which Marseille and his fellow pilots collected, then Marseille flew to the enemy airfield and dropped his note and package.

The Allied forces were able to recover the body following the coordinates Marseille provided and buried him in the Knightsbridge Cemetery, and the personal effects were sent to the Buckland family.

Buckland's nephew, Richard Carthew was kind enough to share these photos of the past as they related to the Marseille story.

At the museum: Richard Carthew, his mother Barbara (Buckland) Carthew, Anne Tunstall and Sen. Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veteran Affairs

Hi Colin,


It would be good if you could sign the book ‘to those Australians who served’ or along those lines. And I think it would be good idea if you came to Australia to visit your niece as well as a promotional tour. I don’t know any others in the photo, but I will explain this later.


About six months ago I was visiting my cousin, Anne Tunstall and we were going through some old family pictures etc. and I noticed she had a number of letters and telegrams sent by Graham. At Christmas time I was visiting mum, Barbara Carthew nee Buckland. She had photos and government letters relating to Graham. Amongst them was  a group photo of you pilots, possibly a graduation photo. I then rang Emily Constantine, Collections Manager of the R.A.A.F. Museum to see if she might  know  where the photo was taken and was in it.


She invited me to the museum, so I took the photo and Graham’s log book, thinking it might help establish a time line. I was very impressed with Emily’s knowledge and interest that I donated the log book and photo on the spot. As I was leaving I thought that when mum and Anne pass on some of the artifacts will be split up. I rang them both and they agreed donating them was a good idea. Thinking  that a small donation ceremony would be nice I contacted my sisters and cousins to ‘rally the troops together’. Then there was the date to get everyone to the museum, it was then decided we should do it on May 31. The day after Graham’s death and the day before his birthday.


We were all set, mum, 13 years younger than Graham, the 5 nieces and nephews and 8 of the 10 grand nieces and nephews could make it. Five weeks before I was watching the Dawn Service televised from Gallipoli for the 100 anniversary of landing of ANZAC troops. One of the speakers was Senator Michael Ronaldson, Minister for Veteran Affairs. Perhaps as an off chance the Senator could accept the donation of Graham’s war time artifacts on behalf of the museum. Knowing that the Senator came from the same town, Ballarat, as Graham, I sent an email to his office. To my delight about a week later an email came back with the Senator’s acceptance. I then rang Emily at the museum and this put them in a spin, they very rarely get a government minister visiting. Everything went very well and the family had lunch at a restaurant not far from the air force base.


I wore Graham’s medal on the day and when my wife, Debra was putting them back in the case she found nine photographs and two letters. One of the photos is of the crashed German plane. That evening my mother found Graham’s wrist watch, the one I was enquiring about. I have attached a photo of the presentation, in the back ground is a Gypsy Moth, similar to the one Graham would have done his initial training in.


I have noticed you are researching Simon Bolivar, you will be relieved to know we have no family connection to Bolivia or the entire South American continent.





This is the finished screenplay. Of course directors and producers make changes to the final draft after the script doctor gets through with it. In our case it would probably be a matter of expanding information. We worked to get Graham's event in. I want to flesh out the details later in the production version, but your story starts on p.82. I think we may have a winner. Let me know what you think.


Colin D. Heaton, Author, Historian, Consultant, Speech Writer

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." Voltaire

Enjoy one of our book trailers, others on our website

The Star of Africa

Our History Channel Documentary 2008 "Secret Weapons"

Hi Colin,

Your email couldn’t have be more timely. My mother had operation yesterday and it was successful. I read the passage about Graham and she listened intently, I then asked what she thought and her reply was ‘I feel said and I also feel happy’.

Thank you,

To the Heatons;

I recently read your incredible book 'The Star of Africa', on Hans Joachim Marseille.  I first
found out about him in another book I had read entitled 'A Higher Call,' by Adam Makos, on Franz Stigler.   He referred to this amazing pilot, Marseille, whom he got to know in Africa and I just had to know more about this intriguing character.

Since then, I've read both volumes of  'The German Aces Speak', to gain more personal references to Marseille, but finding  great stories of these other pilots as well.  However, when I recently tried to purchase a copy of 'The Star of Africa', it was unavailable.

I grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia with lots of history and stories on both world wars.  I also had an uncle who was in the American Air Force and at Pearl Harbour when it was bombed.  He later spent over 1 year in a Japanese concentration camp before being released at the war's end.

Is there any way to purchase a copy of the book ,The Star of Africa' and what would the price be in Canadian dollars?  I would be very appreciative if I could obtain a copy.  I have been telling everyone about your books - that they should read them to learn about this very important time in history.

Thank you both so much for the incredible research you've done and bringing these amazing people to life for many of us who had never before heard their names or stories.  It provides  unusual insight into the war, Nazi Germany and the unique personalities involved that we just don't get to hear enough about.

It would be wonderful if a movie about Marseille could be made by a major movie company!

Sincerely Yours,

Margaret Rouhani

Dear Colin,


Many thanks for your quick and most kind reply!


I have the greatest respect for your books, which are very well researched, and from them it is obvious that you have met and talked with a quite large number of Luftwaffe veterans. For instance, your book about Marseille is absolutely outstanding among Luftwaffe pilot biographies.


As you might know, I too have met a large number of Luftwaffe veterans, and it is because of that that I can see that your books are absolutely genuine, and they deserve the highest praise.


In Sweden, we have a discipline within academic history that is called ”källkritik” – which would translate as ”critical approach towards sources”. I think it might be something like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_criticism


I have studied ”källkritik” and also taught it to students. According to the criteria of ”källkritik”, your sources to von Maltzahn’s Jewish background should be regarded as quite plausible.


I am telling you all of this (which might sound a bit too detailed) just to let you know tyhat I am in no way questioning your conclusion. On the contrary, I would like to ask you for your permission to refer to that in my forthcoming book ” Tyska flygare under andra världskriget : veteranernas berättelser Del 2” (which in English would be ”German Airmen During the Second World War: The Veterans’ Stories, Part 2”). See: https://vaktelforlag.se/produkt/tyska-flygare-andra-varldskriget-veteranernas-berattelser-del-2


There will be a chapter containing a biography about Günther von Maltzahn there. My sources to that part are documents, interviews with veterans (Galland, Steinhoff, Hermann Neuhoff, Hannes Trautloft) and published sources (Prien's JG 53 volumes, Cull's "Fighters Over Malta: Gladiators and Hurricanes", Shores & Cull's  "Malta: The Spitfire Year 1942", Sauer's "Absturz im Kinzigtal", and Rigg's book - which I published in Swedish - I am a publisher too), and various ancestor research sites. I would be grateful if you would allow me to include what you wrote in your e-mail as a source too.


I plan to publish ”German Airmen During the Second World War: The Veterans’ Stories”, parts 1 & 2 in English next year. When Vol. 4 of my ”Black Cross/Red Star: Sir War over the Eastern Front” will also be published.


My research into various ancestor research sites have resulted in this regarding von Maltzahn’s mother:


Günther Freiherr von Maltzahn's mother was Helene Klara Alexandrine Elisabeth Alice von Borcke (1884-1946)


Her mother was Agnes von Klot-Trautvetter, Freiin von Klot-Trautvetter 1857-1887 (* 4 February 1857 - Wutzig)


I have her husband and parents too. I am trying to verify whether any of them were of Jewish backgroiund, but so far I haven’t found anything that can either confirm or dispel that. I will let you know when I have found out. However, judging from your sources, I believe that we will find a confirmation regarding one of von Maltzahn’s ancestors. (I have also researched his father.) It would be great to publish the final confirmation.



Another intersting thing is this:


William Denman Zirkle married Dagmar Helene Agnes von Maltzahn (probably Günther von Maltzahn's daughter), October 10, 1970 (deceased September 1987). Children: Micaela, Sigrid Anne, Luise Bettina, William Wade.


Read about William Wade Zirkle here:




I e-mailed him the day before yesterday, and I will inform you if I get a reply.


I think that you and I might benefit from a mutual cooperation in the future, since our research have the same focus.


I look forward to hearing from you again.


All the best,


Christer Bergström

Vaktel Förlag

Box 3027

S-630 03 Eskilstuna



+46 - 16 – 12 15 27

+46 - 733 – 73 33 61

Bankgiro 576-4162

    The People Who Knew Marseille
   Links to Marseille Videos and Wartime Footage

The subjects interviewed who knew Marseille from top row down left to right:
Row 1: Bernhard Woldenga, Ernst Borngen, Ernst Dullberg
Row 2: Gunther Rall, Johannes Steinhoff, Artur Axmann
Row 3: Kurt Buhligen, Ludwig Franzisket, Kurt Kuhlmey
Row 4: Leni Riefenstahl, Eduard Neumann, Gustav Rodel
Row 5: Franz Stigler, Karl Wolff, Emil Clade
Row 6: Adolf Galland, Friedrich Keorner, Werner Schroer
Roy 7: Herbert Ihlefeld, Hans Baur

Marseille tribute: There are a few irrelevant clips, but has good videos of Marseille, including receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords in Rastenburg.


Interview regarding Marseille with Stuka pilot Heinz-Georg Wilhelm Migeod


Video of Field Marshall Erwin Rommel and Marseille, and film of a couple of their meetings in Libya.


Short newsreel of Marseille with Adolf Hitler receiving the Oak Leaves and Swords. This meeting is detailed in its entirety in the book.


Marseille and JG-27 German Wartime Documentary


Marseille flying footage in Libya


Marseille photo Montage


Marseille and Hitler at Awards Ceremony


Marseille documentary in German/Russian overdub


Marseille North Africa documentary

Part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt3mW8fiuO4

Part 2  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt3mW8fiuO4

Part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xt3mW8fiuO4

No. 3 Squadron RAAF view of Marseille


   Marseille: The Star of Africa in Art

Above: On Sept. 1, 1942 at 0839 hours, 22 year old Captain Hans-Joachim Marseille scores his fourth kill of the day 20 km SSE of El Imayid. By the end of the day he will confirm a total of 17 kills in three sorties. Painting by Michael Turner

Below: Robert Taylor's Hunters in the Desert depicts Hans-Joachim Marseille of I./JG-27 doing one of his illegal fly-bys after scoring his 100th victory, as his squadron mates dismount from the mission.

Below: Robert Taylor's Desert Warrior depicts a pilot of JG/27 returning to his base at Ain el Gazala, northern Libya. White 3 was flown by several pilots at various times as needed due to aircraft maintenance, such as Edu Neumann, Emil Clade, Reiner Poettgen and even Hans-Joachim Marseille on one occasion.

Above: Robert Taylor's Desert Hawks depicts the British and Commonwealth Desert Air Force in their mainstay fighter, the Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawk. This fighter type was the majority of Marseille's victories.

Nick Trudgian's Star of Africa

Nick Trudgian's High Summer Battle showing Marseille in his early days on the Channel Coast with LG-2

     Hans-Joachim Marseille Poster