FLYING SPIRIT

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					                                                                                         June 2010          Volume 1, Number 2



   FLYING SPIRIT       The Official National Newsletter of the SAAF Association

                                    Silver Queen once again celebrated in style
                                                                                                   th
                                                                                         On the 8 of May we remembered the
                                                                                            th
                                                                                         90 Anniversary of Sir Pierre v Ryneveld
                                                                                         and Quentin Brand’s Epic flight in a
                                                                                         Vickers Vimy, The Silver Queen. Once
Contents                                                                                 again this took the form of an “Air Rally”
Silver Queen                1
                                                                                         from AFB Swartkop and back.
Shackleton emergency        2                                                        23 aircraft entered, of which 21 turned up
Congress 2010               2                                                        at Swartkop on the Saturday morning.
Feeding The Eagles          4        The day was made even more special with "VIP's"
                                                                                     The briefing was held at the Harvard Club
With hat in hand…….         5        attending the day. FLTR: Philip Weyers (Great-
In Memory of Eric Keevy     5        grandson of Jan Smuts), Tony van Ryneveld
SAAFA Headdress Project     8        (Nephew of Sir Pierre van Ryneveld), Lt Gen Carlo
                                     Gagiano (CAF) and Vincent van Ryneveld (Great-
SAAF Pilots in the RAF      9
                                     grandson of Sir Pierre van Ryneveld).
Out and About               9
Heroes Remembered           11      HQ, where crews were given all the info on
Fact or myth?               12      the route, weather and clues. The rally
Our Readers Say             12      Director, Arrie de Klerk, included answers to
                                    clues during the briefing. Route schedules
                                    were handed out 20 minutes before
  NOTE                              departure and aircraft departed with 3
                                    minute intervals. The faster competitors took ±50 minutes to complete the 90 nm
  The Editors extend their
                                    course and the last aircraft landed just after 01:20.
  thanks for all contributions
  received.                         Many “moans” re the difficulty of clues were received, BUT, at the prize-giving, the
  Opinions expressed in this        Rally Director supplied the answers, which then made many pennies drop. The main
  newsletter       do      not      aim of the day is that the Aviators, have a fun-day and enjoy the scenic flight to the
  necessarily reflect those of      East of PRETORIA. Once again, favourable comments from the crews, re the
  the Editors or SAAFA                                                          presentation of ALL the Rally info,
  National Executive.                                                           prepared in a most professional manner
  The Editors reserves the                                                      by Marianne and Sydney Fryer.
  right to amend or reject                                                               The first three places were taken by: 1 -
                                                                                                                                  st
  any     editorial    matter
                                                                                         Jeff Earle & Geoff Fish in Jeff’s Super Cub,
  submitted for publication.                                                              nd
                                                                                         2 - Charles Pratley & Ian Lellyet in a
                                                                                                            rd
                                                                                         Cessna 172 and 3 - Des Barker & son in
Contact Us                                                                               the SAAF Museum AM3C Bosbok.

The Editors                                                                   Prizes were awarded to all participants
SAAFA NHQ                                                                     and handed over by Marius Schoeman of
P.O. Box 21223                      AME, our MAIN SPONSOR. (Photo left). We
Valhalla                            thank all other sponsors especially AIR BP, for
0137                                supplying a generous amount of AVGAS. Our
                                    appreciation to the Pretoria and East Rand
Tel: 012 651 5921                   Branches of SAAFA for their support.
Fax: 086 218 4657
Email: nationalhq@icon.co.za        We are looking forward to hosting this popular
Website: www.saafa.co.za            event on the Aviation calendar next year again
                                                               th
                                    and look forward to the 100 anniversary in ten
                                    years time.                                    Our main sponsor Marius Schoeman from
                                                                                                AME and his team.
                                    Arrie de Klerk
                                                                                   (Photographer for the event: Chris Oosthuizen)




                                                           Page 1 of 14
Shackleton emergency mid 1960’s by Dries van der Lith
(Continued from the previous Issue)

At the inquiry it was described as a deafening bang together with a great rush of air through the aircraft and the
howling sound of high winds blowing papers, loose objects and crewmembers about. One described it as an explosive
decompression. Another one that he was sure they had a midair collision. The captain of ‘Shady 07’ immediately pulled
up from 200 feet above sea level to a thousand and reduced speed to slow safe cruising. There was a slight vibration
but he had full control. He assured the crew over the intercom not to panic and to report damage, injury or casualties.
Communications were difficult with the howling wind but the captain was sure that although they had collided with
something, he was in full control. He had a curt emergency transmitted: “Securité, securité, securité! Collided unknown
object. Structural damage. Aircraft holed. Investigating. Standby further report. Out.”
The reports from the different crew members started coming in. All accounted for and well, but one. The navigator Ken
was missing. He was soon found stumbling (one witness said crawling) from the nose turret. He was covered in blood
and muck gripping his stomach with both hands, muttering hoarsely to himself. To the crew members it was clear that
he was gutted – and the stench was awful!
Shady 07’s next report read: “One casualty with serious stomach wound. Will require specialist medical attention on
landing. Gaping hole in nose gun turret size of soccer ball. Object causing damage unknown. ETA of 0800B due to slow
safe cruising adjusted to 0900B. Rest of crew okay. Out.” Shady 07 landed safely and the casualty was rushed off by
ambulance to Number 2 Military Hospital in Wine Berg -and was saved.
The preliminary investigation (PI) that started immediately after landing soon concluded that ‘Shady 07’ had a bird
strike, and a big one too. It entered the gun shroud around one of the cannon barrels. The whole bird was squeezed
through an initially small hole at high speed that eventually did leave a gaping hole about the size of a soccer ball. In the
process it was pulverized into a smelly grey mass from which not even feathers could be distinguished to indicate what
sort of bird it was, and even if it could perhaps have been more than one. This was what hit Ken in the tummy. He was
fortunately not gutted, but winded and bruised. Just imagine that experience – being clobbered in the stomach and
woken up to find you are covered in blood and muck, gasping for breath, clutching your tummy with a high wind
howling like a banshee, blowing you about and disorientating you further! Dulled by pain and sure it was your own
blood and innards seeping through your fingers! However, Ken was saved and fully recovered physically and mentally.
(we think!)
                                                                                                          (To be continued)


Congress 2010 – back to basics
(Photos by Chris Oosthuizen)
During Congress 2008 the Cape Town Branch of SAAFA volunteered to host Congress 2010. But who would have
guessed that South Africa hosting the World Soccer Championships would throw a spanner in the works with the
arrangements! Timing of Congress 2010 and the use of AFB Ysterplaat for the supply of air security for the soccer,
made it impossible for the volunteer host branch to follow through with their commitment. Fortunately we were
forewarned and with the help of Derrick Page, the SAAF College was booked for the Congress period – just in case AFB
                                                 Ysterplaat could not accommodate the Congress.
                                                 Needless to say, Congress was held at the SAAF College from 13 to
                                                 16 May 2010. Transport by air was arranged for those who
                                                 preferred it and local shuttles were used to transport the members
                                                 to and from the College. Many meetings with the College staff
                                                 ensured that the rooms were tidy and well equipped for the
                                                 delegates      and
                                                 observers.        A
                                                 hearty thank you
                                                 to the OC SAAF
                                                 College and his
                Delegates arriving
                                                 staff for excellent
service rendered throughout the duration of Congress.
Thursday afternoon started with a hearty welcoming function on the
patio with champagne, juice, tea and coffee and some snacks for
those that came from far. Friday was the official opening ceremony
where Maj Gen Hugh Paine delivered the opening speech on behalf
of CAF who was away on official business. During this ceremony,              The National President, Ken Snowball, welcoming the
homage was also paid to our friends and colleagues who passed                        delegates with a "little something".



                                                       Page 2 of 14
away during the past year.


                          After the opening ceremony the ladies went on a
                          visit to the SA Mint and the Ngwenya Glass
                          Village. The delegates went on to discuss matters
                          of great importance during the business sessions
                          with a few jokes thrown in-between the serious
                          business to keep a relaxed mood and Congress a
                          “fun” event.
                        Saturday morning started off with the delegates
                        again discussing matters of importance and
                        reporting back on branch events. The ladies Ladies in front of the Wall of Remembrance at the
   Maj Gen Hugh Paine   enjoyed a morning out visiting the SADF Wall of              Voortrekker Monument.
   addressing Congress. Remembrance at the Voortrekker Monument and then off they went to visit one of the biggest
                        privately owned museums in the Pretoria. Mervin Emms, owner of the museum, welcomed the
ladies with a scrumptious tea followed by conducted tours ending the visit off with a glass of sherry and anecdotes
regarding some of the items he has in the museum.
                                                         Congress ended with the annual awards
                                                         banquet with the Chief of the Air Force
                                                         and his wife Leonie as guests of honour.
                                                         During the banquet the following awards
                                                         were presented to members who had
                                                         excelled themselves during the year. It
                                                         was also announced that all the present
                                                         Patrons were re-appointed for the
                                                         coming year with the addition of two
                                                         new Patrons namely Maj Gen Duncan
   Mervin Emms entertaining the ladies with his stories. Ralston and Mr Basil Hersov. Hearty
                                                         congratulations to our two new Patrons.
It is a great honour for us to have them as Patrons of the Association.
Our congratulations go to the following members who were awarded SAAFA Awards:                         Maj Gen Duncan Ralston
                                                                                                    receiving his Patron badge from
OSAAFA Gold: John Boardman & Arrie de Klerk.                                                            National President, Ken
                                                                                                               Snowball.
OSAAFA Silver: Des Lynch & Chris van der Post
OSAAFA Bronze: Don Johnston, Mike van Ginkel, Dave Baker, Ray Pike, Lee Hall, Des Cloete, Bernie Sharp, Steve Bekker
& Fanie Badenhorst.
                                Presidential Merit Award: Elenor Sharp, Ian Lellyett, Paul Hoogendoorn, Di Johnston,
                                Dee Palmer, Dick Hague, Denzil Goosen & Gibbs Gerber.
                                                                   Certificate of Merit: 28 Squadron, Nashua Limited & Stan
                                                                   Fincham.




   Don Johnston receiving an
       OSAAFA Bronze.

                                 Arrie de Klerk receiving his
Of the more important             OSAAFA Gold.
decisions taken at Congress was to amend the           John Boardman receiving his
Constitution to conform to the requirements of the            OSAAFA Gold.
Department of Social Development so that we may apply to be registered as a Non
Profit Organisation (NPO) and obtain tax free status thereby. Further Congress              Neville Greyling congratulated after
approved reverting back to a system of Country Vice Presidents rather than                  his inauguration as Vice President.



                                                                Page 3 of 14
Regional Vice Presidents. The present Regional Vice Presidents continue to serve until Congress next year when the
new Country Vice President system will be introduced. The National President, Ken Snowball was re-elected, Neville
Greyling was elected National Vice President, National Secretary Marianne Fryer and the Honorary National Treasurer,
Tom Borrill were re-appointed for the coming year.
                                                     During the presentation by the Honorary National Treasurer, Tom
                                                     Borrill, and Jeff Earle who handles the Investment portfolio it became
                                                     clear that difficult financial times lie ahead. Our investments have
                                                     not recovered as forecast and the dividends received are minimal.
                                                     Interest received from our Money Market investment is also
                                                     disappointing. These factors have greatly affected our income and
                                                     NEC has been forced to draw on our reserve funds each month to pay
                                                     the Benevolence grants and administration accounts over the past
                                                     two years. The Honorary Treasurer warned that this situation could
                                                     not continue for very long without an influx of funds.
                                                     Because of the financial situation the re-introduction of a capitation
                                                     fee was approved by Congress. In years gone by the capitation fee
                                                     was used to cover Benevolence, administration, newsletter and the
                                                     Memorial Maintenance Fund and was stopped whilst our
                                                     investments were doing well. The present financial situation
                                                     warrants the re-introduction of the capitation fee.
                                                        Congress was rounded off with all the delegates attending the annual
                                                        SAAF Memorial Service
                                                        at Bays Hill on Sunday
                                                        morning which was a
                                                        special         service
                                                        commemorating the
 Di Johnston, Dee Palmer and Dick Hague receiving their    th
                                                        90 anniversary of the
               Presidential Merit Awards.                                     th
                                                        SAAF and the 60
anniversary of the Korean War. A salute fly past by three Gripens of 2
Squadron based at AFB Makhado ended the two minute silence after the
sounding of the last post by a spectacular fly past over the Memorial.
Our congratulations to the Air Force organising committee on a moving             28 Squadron being thanked for their support of
                                                                                                     SAAFA.
service.
                                                         --0--
                       "It is generally inadvisable to eject over the area you just bombed"
                                              - U.S. Air Force Manual


Feeding The Eagles – 12 Squadron SAAF by the late R.C.K.H.T. (Dick) BATE
GROUND CREWS ASSEMBLED
After completing my square-bashing period, attending some basic aircraft courses, which helped to start talking
flying and the aircraft language, a course in armament was scheduled, to which I applied. I was sent to Youngsfield,
                                                                                              st
Cape Town, to attend the armament course, this commenced in January 1941 and by April 1 , I had received my
home leave, prior to going up north.
A number of air force ground staff personnel for various sections in the Air Force were assembled at the then, Roberts
Heights. We received our kit and kitbags and we boarded a train, travelled to Mafeking, Bulawayo, Livingstone, Lusaka
and on to Broken Hill, here we were disembarked and loaded onto motor transport.
At Mafeking station we were met and entertained by the women of the town with various refreshments, which were
much appreciated. Many of us rushed out of the station, past Rhodes Statue to the hotel on the corner to purchase
some beers to consume on the train as it puffed its way through Bechuanaland. (Now Botswana). The other notable
stop was Lobatsi in Bechaunaland, because it was here that those of us who had sufficient money could purchase wild
animal skins that had been cured and made into bed wraps etc. The women of Lobatsi also served refreshments to the
Forces as they were passing through the town. At Lobatsi there was a concrete slab about twenty feet in diameter
where a band was in attendance and fellows who could find partners danced to the dance tunes of the period.
The transport used to take us from Broken Hill were the Bedford trucks with steel pipe cross loops and a canvas top.
This convoy took us through the Rift Valley in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) and Kenya. The dust caused by the trucks of
the convoy was a very fine dust, almost as fine as baby powder. It was found that the eddies at the rear of the trucks


                                                        Page 4 of 14
caused the dust to penetrate everything and everybody in the truck. The dust
covered our faces, which after a while resembled dust masks, eyes, ears, nostrils
and mouth were covered, leaving only facial openings, which was most
unpleasant, it really was terrible! Attempts to stop this fine dust penetrating the
body of the truck was made by opening a flap over the driver's cab so as to cause
a counter draft to act against the dust coming into the truck over the flap, it
helped, but still the fine rift valley particles swept back into the truck and everything
was -.covered by the baby powder dust. We were very pleased to arrive at our
overnight stops. WHAT-AN AFRICAN EXPERIENCE!
The convoy stopped at pre-prepared camps, at rivers and streams where we
could bathe in our birthday suits and sleep under the stars, after our meals. One
of the highlights of this trip was the stay at Mbeya. At this camp we were invited
into an Old English type pub, which had regimental ensigns and badges of various
regiments which had attended this pub over the years. Then onto Nairobi, via
Moshi, which is at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro, then onto Nakuru in the Kenyan
highlands. After a short stay at Nakuru, we were joined by other air force ground
personnel and travelled by train, in cattle trucks, through Nairobi and on to
Mombassa, where we were packed into a ship.
It was only after the ship had put to sea that we found that the ship in which we
were sailing had previously been used to transport mules and donkeys from
Kenya to Australia and was named the "YOMA". This ship had quickly been converted and equipped with a kitchen
and ablutions built above decks. The ship moved into the Indian Ocean and started to pitch and toss like a cork in a bath,
the air force fellows were not accustomed to this and it was soon found that a number of fellows were turning grey and
green and getting rid of the food that they had had over the last few days, to make matters worse, the smell coming
from the ablutions and the foul water from the kitchen was terrible as this was spilling all over the decks, which had to
be cleaned and washed down regularly.
After a few days at sea things started settling down, we also then discovered that we were travelling alone at sea,
rumours started flying about that "U" boats were raiding in this area of the Indian Ocean. As we approached the
entrance to the Red Sea, a certain relaxing of tension came upon us as we searched the horizon for land. The Captain
did manage to evade raiding ships and submarines and eventually we arrived at Port Suez. Disembarking at Port Suez,
we were welcomed by the enterprising Egyptian street merchants plying their various merchandise, naughty picture
card collections, pimps, street beggars and shoe shine boys. It was a short time later that we were packed into
transport with our kit and kitbags and moved to Shandhur, which was going to be our home, a tent camp in Egypt.
Shandhur is very near the Suez Canal and not far from Ismailiya, which is situated on the Bitter Lakes of Egypt. This was
quite a centre for the Allied Forces to come together at the N.A.A.F.I. for concerts and a canteen where various niceties
could be purchased.
                                                                                                        (To be continued)
                                                              --0–
    “You know that your landing gear is up and locked when it takes full power to taxi to the terminal.”


With hat in hand…….
Due to the financial situation of the Association administration costs will have to be cut dramatically. The luxury of
distributing four national newsletters of up to 14 pages will have to be reconsidered. The greatest cost involved is
postage and packaging costing up to R7 000 per issue.
Electronic distribution is obviously the answer, however, this will rule members not having access to the internet out
which is about 50% of our membership. The re-introducing of the capitation fee may help, however, it will be
insufficient to cover the cost of the newsletter and postal distribution. An appeal is therefore made to all members
who are still actively involved in business to help find sponsors or find advertisers who are prepared to pay for
advertising in the newsletter. Sponsorships need not necessarily be for all four issues but for one issue or part thereof.


In Memory of Eric Keevy by Mike Muller
                                                              th
Friday morning, 14 May 2010, was the opening of the 65 SAAFA Congress. This was followed by the Act of Homage
honouring 95 members who had passed on for higher Service during the past year. Included in the list of names were
three close friends of mine: Jock Lello, who as President of the Korea War Veterans Association served us so well and
three combat pilots of the Korean War: Piet Swemmer who was so brutally murdered; Chic Fryer, who was reported


                                                         Page 5 of 14
                                                 missing, believed killed,
                                                 but what a relief it was       ONLY THE ENGLISH COULD HAVE INVENTED
                                                 when he was amongst the        THIS LANGUAGE (submitted by Arrie de
                                                 POWs released at the end       Klerk)
                                                 of the war and Eric Keevy.
                                                                                We'll begin with a box, and the plural is
                                                When Eric Keevy’s name          boxes, but the plural of ox becomes oxen, not
                                                was read out I sensed           oxes. One fowl is a goose, but two are called
                                                that possibly only Denis        geese, yet the plural of moose should never
                                                                                be meese. You may find a lone mouse or a
                                                Earp and I knew him.
                                                                                nest full of mice, yet the plural of house is
                                                Understandable, because         houses, not hice.
                                                he emigrated in about
                                                1958 and I only saw him         If the plural of man is always called men, then
                                                once again when he              shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen? If I
                                                                                speak of my foot and show you my feet, and I
                                                attended a KWVA reunion
                                                                                give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
                                                at Waterkloof. However,         If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
                                                via the Internet, for the       why shouldn't the plural of booth be called
                                                last few years we have          beeth?
      Eric Keevy : “Wings” 15 December 1950
                                                been reliving the past and
                                                                                Then one may be that, and three would be
I have had the privilege of again enjoying his sharp intellect, wit and dry
                                                                                those, yet hat in the plural would never be
humour, so I would like to share some stories with you about this very          hose, and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
special buddy of mine.                                                          We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
                                                      st
We started together at the SA Military College on 1 April 1948. Sixteen         but though we say mother, we never say
                                            th                                  methren. Then the masculine pronouns are
of us got our Wings at CFS Dunnottar on 15 December 1950, followed
                                                                                he, his and him, but imagine the feminine:
by a short conversion onto Spitfires in preparation for the Operational         she, shis and shim!
Conversion Unit to follow at AOS Langebaanweg. In May 1951 the
remaining 14 of us departed for Korea.                                          Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
                                                                                There is no egg in eggplant or ham in
Eric was highly intelligent, very philosophical and with the most               hamburger; neither apple nor pine in
amazing, dry humour. I can still recall him with a sour face calling out: “I    pineapple. English muffins weren't invented
am just sh.. out of luck!”........ and he often was. A good example was         in England. We take English for granted, but
the first day we were to fly the Tiger Moth. He was amongst the first           if we explore its paradoxes, we find that
eight scheduled to fly. Seven Tigers started with no problems, but not          quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are
                                                                                square, and a guinea pig is neither from
Eric’s. Several of us took turns at swinging the prop, but it would not
                                                                                Guinea nor is it a pig.
start.
                                                                                And why is it that writers write but fingers
He also nearly didn’t depart for Korea with us because he was having            don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers
difficulty landing the Spitfire at night, but in the end they decided that it   don’t ham? Doesn't it seem crazy that you
could be sorted out in Korea. I don’t think they realised how difficult the     can make amends but not one amend? If you
airfield conditions were there, but fortunately the wide undercarriage of       have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of
the F-51 Mustang made landing a lot easier. Strange how things                  all but one of them, what do you call it? If
happen: who would be the first of us having to do a night landing, of           teachers taught, why didn't preachers
course, Eric. With only a few hours on the Mustang, Eric was kept               praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
                                                                                what does a humanitarian eat?
waiting for a strike until dusk by the Forward Air Controller. To make
matters worse, Eric had two 500lb bomb hang-ups during his attack. He           Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up
went through all the emergency release drills but despite everyone on           speaking English should be committed to an
the air offering advice, no luck. Daantjie Marchand and I, his buddies,         asylum for the verbally insane. In what other
happened to be in the Ops Room listening to this drama unfolding. The           language do people recite at a play and play
                                                                                at a recital? We ship by truck but send cargo
Flight Leader, Larry Eager, told Eric that he could either bail out or land
                                                                                by                                       ship.
back at base. A ‘deathly hush’ followed then Larry called him again             We have noses that run and feet that smell.
asking: “What have you decided, Eric?” In a squeaky voice he replied:           We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
“I’m not happy either way, but I think I will land back at base.” (K-16 the     And how can a slim chance and a fat chance
forward base) Daantjie and I took a Jeep and went out to the touch-             be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy
down end of the runway to await his landing, filled with anxiety for his        are opposites?
sake because it was a pitch dark night ....... and what happened? ..... He      You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a
put down a greaser of a landing and the bombs stayed put.                       language in which your house can burn up as
“Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.” Was a favourite                 it burns down, in which you fill in a form by
                                                                                filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by
expression of his, with special reference to problems with his computer.
                                                                                going on. And, in closing, if Father is Pop,
As far as his flying career was concerned, in the SAAF – and he told me         how come Mother's not Mop?
later, also with the airlines – it was definitely more Diamonds than
Stones. Particularly in Korea, apart from the night landing incident with       I WOULD LIKE TO ADD THAT IF PEOPLE FROM
the bomb hang-up, he never had an incident worth mentioning. Very               POLAND ARE CALLED POLES THEN PEOPLE
                                                                                FROM HOLLAND SHOULD BE HOLES AND THE
few pilots could say that. Eric said he almost felt guilty about it. The
                                                                                GERMANS GERMS!!!

                                                           Page 6 of 14
year 1951 was particularly bad: 21 pilots lost, four from our course, plus two taken POW and several more were
rescued from enemy territory or survived crashes.
      rd
The 3 of October 1951 Eric played a vital role in possibly saving my life or at least preventing me from being taken
POW. I only found out the detail much later after I had been rescued. I was leading C Flight as part of a larger formation
out on a strike far north, when I was forced to abandon my aircraft. The section leader (No 3) remained at altitude for
good radio communication and to co-ordinate the rescue, while 2 and 4 carried out an excellent ‘cap’ at low level.
When Eric was rotated from low level cover to altitude, he soon noticed that the map reference the Rescue
Organisation was using was way south of our actual position. The first helicopter that was alerted for my recue, was
shot down on its way to me, but might not even have had the range to reach me in any case. After Eric corrected the
map reference, a second helicopter (S-51 Sikorsky) was dispatched, this time from the “USS Gunstan Hall”, further
north, off the east coast of North Korea. While the helicopter was outbound the ship moved south at speed to reduce
the distance the helicopter had to return. The helicopter was hit by ground fire on the way to me and on the way out
and the pilot experienced problems landing back on the ship, but was successful on the second attempt. By being ‘on
the ball’ Eric turned what might have been an abortive rescue into a very successful rescue for me. I only spent 4:05 hrs
on North Korean soil and not the 18 months or so our SAAF POWs had to endure.
               th
On Sunday 24 July 2005 five KWVA members were invited to Korea. While we were sitting at the Johannesburg
airport Singapore Airline boarding gate (Jock Lello, Horse Sweeney, Jack Dutton, Mike Muller, Albie Götze, Reg Gasson
and I), a young lady, “Tienkie” Gericke, heard us talking about Korea. She asked if we had known her late uncle, Jesse
Verster. In fact, I had known him very well. Our meeting was such a strange coincidence since she had been booked on
a SAA flight which was cancelled due to a strike. She managed to get a seat with Singapore Airlines to return home to
Perth via Singapore. I was struck by the co-incidence of meeting her this way and a few days later stood beside Jesse’s
grave that she had also visited with her aunt, wife of Gen JP Verster. I e-mailed Eric about this co-incidence. His reply, as
always, was very interesting:
“Hi Mike. Thanks for the e-mail from Seoul. What a wonderful thing the internet is (when there isn’t some joker trying
to spoil it.)
From the nature of our lives we probably know more dead friends than most. So many, that by now one cannot
remember them all that well, some of course we will never forget. Jesse Verster would have been particularly emotive
for me, for reasons I will relate. But let me first introduce you to the concept of synchronicity.
From the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of events with no discernible
causal connection.
July 1 was a Sunday. Four of us were due to position to K-16 in the afternoon, to fly an early morning sortie on the next
day. Three aircraft were serviceable at the time we were due to leave; the fourth was the one assigned to me and was
unserviceable. Initially the plan was to wait until all became ready, but the likely time for this was vague and it was
decided that the three would go up early and the fourth whenever it became available.
You will probably recall that soon after we had arrived in Korea we were shown the bad-weather route and were all
supposed to repeat it solo at an early opportunity. I had done this: Jesse had not. He came to me suggesting that we
exchange aircraft so that he could get this out of the way. I had no objection as I didn’t really want to hang on for
another hour or whatever.
As we know full well now, that was the worst decision he ever made. If he had not, I would have presumably suffered
the engine failure. Whether I would have fared better in getting out of the aircraft is a moot point. It was said that his
height (6’ 4”) may have impeded his attempt to bail out. My good luck, his bad luck? Which brings us to the concept
of synchronicity. Is it just a high falutin name for luck? Maybe. Ultimately, I feel that it is at the heart of our existence,
but what governs it I don’t know. Shakespeare says, “There is a destiny that shapes our end, rough-hew them how we
may” and it sounds great.
Different dictionaries vary slightly in their definitions, but to illustrate it even better we will look at the case of Nick
Grace. He was a fairly affluent businessman with a love for flying and a whim to restore a Spitfire. He got one, spent
several years rebuilding it, supported and helped by a most understanding wife. He learnt to fly it and was, I presume,
really pleased about the whole thing. Coming home from work driving from Storrington (just south of us) to Arundel, on
an undulating road with several blind hills, he was just reaching the crest of a hill when a car driven by an elderly male
with a heart condition, came over the top on his side of the road. Both were killed and there was some query whether
the other driver had been unconscious or already dead at the time of impact.
Footnote: His wife Caroline set out to fly the Spitfire in his memory and frequently appears at air shows. The aircraft is
now based at Duxford.”




                                                       Page 7 of 14
From another e-mail: “As you know we had lost quite a few aircraft and seldom had a matching set of spinners. We had
two flights scheduled out of K-16, being flown by A Flight and C Flight. On the tarmac the A Flight allocation was 3 red
spinners and 1 yellow. C Flight had been given 3 yellow spinners and 1 red. Tony Green had the odd yellow one; I had
the odd red one. He came over and asked whether I would agree to an
exchange so that we would have matching spinners and I said yes. I flew
my mission; he took off, had an engine failure and landed in the Han
riverbed. Random!”
After Korea, Eric and I had different postings and our ways parted
somewhat. I ended up at Langebaan and he in Pretoria. While still at CFS
I had started courting my wife, Katie, and this posting put a terrible
distance between us so I decided to leave my car with Eric in Pretoria.
This was a clever move because soon a number of old Vampires had to be
ferried for storage at Snake Valley. The guys at Langebaan very kindly
stood back and let me have the flights. I even remember Mickey Lamb
filing my flight plan for me when I was pushed for time. Eric would meet
me at Swartkop and I would be off to Johannesburg. Eric got me out of
trouble in Korea and I can’t really say he got me into trouble this time, but
       th
on 17 September 1955 he stood beside me as my Best man.
Thanks to modern technology, the past six years or so have been
something special through our correspondence. I am already missing him
a lot.
                                                           --0—
                 “The Piper Cub is the safest airplane in the world; it can just barely kill you.”
                              - Attributed to Max Stanley (Northrop test pilot)

SAAFA Cape Town Branch Headdress Project
                                          During Congress 2010 the wearing of Hats SAAFA Wide Brimmed was
                                          approved. The following rules and guide lines were also agreed upon.
                                             The hats do not replace the official Flight Caps.
                                             Members may wear these hats with SAAFA Uniform to parades, Memorial
                                              Services, Air shows etc. as spectators.
                                             Members may salute whilst wearing these hats when required during:
                                               Playing of the National Anthem
                                               Sounding the Last Post
                                               Passing of Colours.
                                             Members officiating at parades, Wreath laying Ceremonies etc must wear
    the Official SAAFA Flight Cap.
MANUFACTURING AND STORAGE
   As indicated in the last Newsletter these hats are manufactured in Cape Town. The order, supply and delivery will
    be undertaken by the Cape Town Branch.
   The Supplier needs orders in large quantities to make it profitable.
   Cape Town Branch does not have the capacity to hold large amounts of stock.
ORDERS
   Ideally it would be advantageous to receive one combined order from a Branch or group that could be delivered to
    one address thereby saving on postage and delivery.
   The price of the hat is R150.00. No profit is made on them. Depending on the size of the order that is received a
    lesser price can be negotiated.
   Postage has to be paid by the recipient unless other arrangements for collection are made.
   Orders will be placed in lots of 25 or greater. Therefore if single orders are received they will be placed on a
    waiting list until the next lot is filled.
Please contact Daan Badenhorst to place your order. Daan can be contacted at: email: dbad@telkomsa.net Tel:
021 913 6569 Cell: 084 910 8959
                                                            --0–
                   “Mankind has a perfect record in aviation; we’ve never left one up there!”


                                                       Page 8 of 14
SAAF Pilots in the RAF – 1943 – 1945 by Atholl Fisher
From all accounts, it seems that in Mid 1943 the RAF command, which was preparing for the invasion of Western
Europe, asked the SAAF to call for volunteers from newly qualified SAAF pilots to be seconded to the RAF in the UK.
In response to this over 100 pilots volunteered and sailed to Britain, to arrive there in November of that year. At that
stage those who had trained on twins were sent to Bomber Command Advanced Training Units and the singles pilots to
OTU’s for fighter training.
Once drafted to bomber squadrons the South Africans served with distinction when very heavy raids over Germany
were the order of the day. Of course, one of these South Africans was Capt Edwin Swales VC, who was awarded this
decoration posthumously. Although his Lancaster bomber was critically damaged and on fire, he stayed at the controls
until his entire crew had parachuted to safety before he crashed to his death.
Most of the young single engine pilots were sent on conversion courses flying first Hurricans, then Spitfires and finally
Typhoons. After “D-day” they were posted to the Typhoon squadrons based on makeshift air strips first in France, then
                                                           nd
Belgium and finally in Holland. These squadrons, part of 2 Tactical Air Force, which consisted of 99 squadrons and
which was formed to support the allied armies in their push through Europe to Germany. Typhoon pilots, though
mostly in their early twenties, were the most heavily armed single people in the armed forced. They had eight rockets
and four 20mm cannon in their armament. The OUT claim to fame was that Typhoon squadrons had an 80% casualty
rating – the highest by far in the RAF.
In no way could this be attributed to the efficiency of the pilots nor to the reliability of the very fine aircraft but rather
to the dangers of high speed and very low level attacks. My squadron, 184 RAF, had 5 South African pilots at the outset
of operations and 4 of these were casualties – exactly 80%! Two pilots were killed, one was shot down and badly
burned and one was shot down and parachuted into Germany and a pow CAMP. The fifth South African saw the war
out and was awarded a DFC.


Out and About
A GREAT YEAR FOR CELEBRATING 90 YEARS
                                                    th
On 16 April the East Rand Branch celebrated the 90 anniversary of the SAAF,
                                  th
the Silver Queen Rally and the 90 birthdays of Gus Britton, Denis Scott and Bob
Truter. The lunch was held at the Benoni Country Club and the patrons were
served a spread of dishes to be remembered long after the event.
Ken Snowball, SAAFA National President, was the guest speaker for the day
taking us back on a trip down memory lane on the SAAF’s impressive history.
Karl Jensen with his contagious sense of humor was the MC for the day. Ken
handed a bottle of specially labelled “SAAF 90” wine to the three men
                    th
celebrating their 90 birthday this year.
                                                                                          From Left to Right: Gus Britton, Ken
Well done John Houghton and the team for putting up a great day!                         Snowball, Denis Scott and Bob Truter.
                              TH                                                               (Photo by Sydney Fryer)
KOREAN WAR VETERANS 60 ANNIVERSARY
                                                                                               th
                                                                      This year marks the 60 anniversary of the Korean
                                                                      War in which many of our South African pilots
                                                                      participated. An anniversary lunch was held in the
                                                                      Gallery at the Swartkop Museum. To commemorate
                                                                      this event, wreaths were laid at the Air Force
                                                                      Memorial on Bays Hill where after a group photo
                                                                      was taken, TV interviews were held and veterans
                                                                      and visitors could walk through the exhibitions in
                                                                      the Gallery with special attention paid to the Korean
                                                                      War exhibition.
                                                                    During the speeches, the Korean Ambassador
                                                                    thanked the South African veterans for their
participation and sacrifices during the war. Piet Cilliers paid homage to the members who passed away during the past
year.
Veterans were then treated to a sumptuous meal with starters in true Korean tradition prepared by Korean chefs. “On
the Spot” caterers proved why they were the best for the job with serving a true South African main dish and
vegetables. The next lunch will be held in August in Cape Town.



                                                       Page 9 of 14
BERLIN AIRLIFT MEMORIAL (Duncan Ralston)
                                                               The SA Ambassador to Germany laying a wreath at the
                                                               Berlin Airlift Memorial at Templehof on 12 May 2010 on
                                                                                        st
                                                               the occasion of the 61 anniversary of the end of the
                                                               Airlift.
                                                               UNVEILING OF NEW LOGO
                                                               30 April 2010 was another milestone in the history of
                                                               Military Veterans – the official unveiling of the new Logo
                                                               for the new Department of Military Veterans, DMV. This
                                                               was held at their new offices, Denel, Nelmapius Rd,
                                                               Centurion.
                                                              In order to fit in with the Minister of Defence and Military
                                                              Veterans, as well as the Deputy Minister, very short notice
was given – less than one week. The South African National Military Veterans Association, SANMVA, was asked to
invite 20 members from each of its member organisations being APLA, AZANLA, Bophuthatswana DF, Ciskei DF, CMVO,
MK, Transkei DF and Venda DF. I was very proud to have a full house from the CMVO, representing most of our
member organisations, with such distinguished members in support. Things have progressed fairly fast when you think
the Minister was in office after elections in April, announced a task team, during her budget speech in May, to look at
this new department in June and it was gazetted on 28 December 2009. The Military Veterans Task Team final report
was handed over in January. The Director General was appointed in February, Mr TE Motumi. A Stakeholders function
was held in March. New offices opened in April.
The logo is set in the same outline of the Defence Force,
nine points representing all the provinces. This shows a co-
existence with the DoD and the whole country. There is a
shield depicting defence and protection, similar to
SANMVA. There are eight bars on the shield representing
the eight founder members of SANMVA and a white dove
of peace. These symbols are very close to the logo that the
founder members of SANMVA agreed on. This shows the
close relationship between DMV and SANMVA. The slogan
of the new department is “From conflict to development
and nation building”.
                                                                          CMVO representatives at the unveiled logo.
There was a short parade, Presidents Guard and
Ceremonial Band, followed by a lunch with a number of speeches. All of which makes me even more positive of the
direction things are going for our Military Veterans going into the future. It became clear that the Deputy Minister, Mr
T Makwetla is operationally responsible for the Military Veterans. The Minister, Ms Lindiwe Sisulu informed those
present that the President will be doing the official launch, personally, of the Department at a later date. This shows
the importance that has been placed on this new department.
I am convinced that the CMVO has done the right thing by getting involved so that we keep abreast of all developments
in this regard. We certainly brought influence on a number of matters, especially that everything should revolve
around Military Veterans per se and not just Liberation Armies etc. We will continue to ensure that all Military
Veterans are recognised and assisted in the future. It is a pity that there are so many veterans and Military Veteran
organisations that have chosen to stay out side of the CMVO so that they are not kept up to date and informed as to
                                        what is actually happening in the Military Veteran circles. The CMVO will be
                                        holding a Military Veteran Workshop and briefing session shortly and we
                                        would welcome anyone or any organisation that is interested in joining us to
                                        make contact with us. They do not have to be members or join us, just come
                                        and discuss the future of Military Veterans together. We need to focus on our
                                        needs to ensure they are understood and we get the assistance we deserve as
                                        Military Veterans of South Africa.
                                         Godfrey Giles : CMVO: Chairman
                                         12 AUGUST 1972
                                         On the left: Sir Pierre van Ryneveld at one of his last official appearances,
                                         inspecting a Guard of Honour from the Air Force Gymnasium at the opening of
                                         the Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School in Kempton Park. Accompanying him
                                         was Lt Gen Jim Verster, Chief of the Air Force and the Guard Commander a
                                         very young and trim Capt Neville Greyling.


                                                     Page 10 of 14
TEST RANGE
Trevor Ralston says: “While preparing for our missile test at the test range
West of Baku, this fellow and his donkey arrived from across the valley from
his dwelling kilometres away. He was bearing as a gift a small pile of freshly
baked flat bread and goat’s milk cheese, which he solemnly handed over to
us. It was delicious! He hung around and it eventually dawned on us that the
offering was intended to soften us to his real purpose, which was to fill the
small plastic container to be seen hanging on the left side of the donkey with
fuel (paraffin) from the helicopter. This is apparently worth its weight in gold
for cooking and heating. We drained a few litres and he went happily on his
way.”
SMUTS MEMORIAL SERVICE
                                              The National President, Ken Snowball, laid a wreath on behalf of SAAFA at
                                              the Annual Smuts Memorial Service held at Smuts House on Sunday 23
                                              May 2010 in Irene.
                                              Seen enjoying a beer after the Service are from left to right Brig Gen James
                                              Wallis SAAF, Wg Cdr Clive Mitchell RAF, Andrew Laudon (Chairman RAFA
                                              Pretoria Branch), (National President) Ken Snowball, (National Vice-
                                              President) Neville Greyling, Lt Gen Denis Earp (SAAFA Patron) and Brig Gen
                                              Derrick Page (SAAF/SAAFA Liaison Officer).
                                              ONTHULLING VAN 61 MEG BN GEDENKNAALD
                                           Op Saterdag 12 Junie 2010 het
die Nasionale President, Ken Snowball, 'n krans namens die SALMV gelê
tydens die amptelike onthulling van 61 Meg Bn se Gedenknaald wat onlangs
na die Nasionale Oorlogsmuseum te Saxonwold, Johannesburg, verskuif is.
Dertig jaar gelede het 61 Meg Bn , gesteun deur die SALM, die noordelike
grens van die destydse Suidwes-Afrika tydens Operasie Sceptic oorgesteek
om SWAPO basisse diep in Angola aan te val.
Dit was die grootste gemeganiseerde aanval deur Suid Afrikaanse magte
sedert die Tweede Wêreld Oorlog.
     “Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.”
                                          - David Hackworth

Heroes Remembered (From Cross of Honour by Ian Uys)
Flight Sergeant Pieter du Toit O’Neil, 19 Squadron, SAAF, Honoris Crux
Flight Sergeant Piet O’Neil was the technician aboard the Puma that dropped
reinforcements for 2/Lt Prins in the maize-field on 21 December 1975. They came under
heavy fire. O’Neil was hit in the right arm and twice in the chest, but was fortunately
wearing a bullet-proof breastplate.
The pilot of the crippled Puma, John Milbank (see 760212), coaxed it up and flew for a few
minutes before the engine seized up and the machine crashed. O’Neil climbed out of the
burning wreck, then turned back under fire to save the pilot and the co-pilot. As they
dragged themselves into the bush the Alouette circled, then left to report that there could
be no survivors. The three men walked all night. O’Neil had lost his shirt and trousers
and he held his wounded arm as he stumbled on. Next day they followed the river
eastwards and on five occasions they narrowly missed detection by enemy observation
points. They were covered with blood-sucking leeches and scratches. Next day, Christmas Eve, they turned south and
later came across a South African sentry. O’Neil was returned to South Africa in stages. He went absent from the
Pretoria hospital and took a train to Durban to see his wife, Aletta, and his five children, aged six to 23. His family had
meanwhile come to Pretoria for his funeral. O’Neil was the oldest recipient of the Honoris Crux. He was later promoted
Warrant Officer.




                                                     Page 11 of 14
First Flight in South Africa in the 1870’s – Fact or myth?
There is a belief that, in the early 1870’s John Goodman Household and his brother built a glider
and launched it and Gordon from the top of a 300 metre precipice on the farm Der Magtenburg,
in the Karkloof area of KwaZuluNatal. The first flight was just over 1 kilometre and a height of 50
to 80 meters was achieved. During the second flight the craft soared for a while before beginning
a rapid descent in which it clipped a tree and crashed, breaking his leg in the process.
It was the first ever recorded heavier-than-air flight and Goodman and his brother could have
been accorded a place in history had it not been for their mother. When she heard of the crash
she persuaded them to abandon the project out of fear that the family would incur the wrath of
God for challenging their natural state of being earthbound. It is believed that the glider was
                                                stored in a barn and eventually burned with other rubbish. All
                                                drawings, sketches and calculations were supposedly burned at John
                                                Household’s insistence so he would abide by his promise to his mother
                                                never to discuss or attempt flying again.
                                                This allowed the German Otto Lillienthal to take the honour when he
                                                made a successful glider flight in 1896. Eight years later, Orville and
                                                Wilbur Wright made the first powered flight at Kittyhawk in the United
                                                States. It was the dawning of a new era; an age of adventure,
                                                excitement and glamour that gripped the world, including South Africa.
                                                The Goodman Household Monument has been erected near Curry’s
                                                Post, in the KwaZuluNatal midlands to commemorate his achievement.
                                              Is this fact or myth? According to an article by J.W. Swinnich in the
                                              National Soaring Museum Historical Journal Vol 25, (1), 2003. Titled
“History Without Evidence is Myth: J.G. Household and Claims of Flight in 1870’s Africa”, no written evidence has been
found to substantiate the claim. J W Swinnich suggests that further research is required as there could be evidence in
the archives in South Africa.
                                                          --0—
                              “Don’t draw fire; it irritates the people around you.”


Our Readers Say
                           FEEDBACK LT I.M. MEIRING
                           In the March issue of “Flying Spirit” there was a query regarding the death of a Lt Ian
                           Meiring. This event is covered in fair detail in the book “WW2 History of 15 Squadron SAAF”
                           (by Dr Stefaan Bouwer & Dr Gerald Thompson).
                              Here are some of the pertinent facts: 15 Squadron suffered a serious loss on October 28
                              1943, when a formation of three Baltimores failed to return from an offensive
                              reconnaissance over the Aegean (Dodecanese Islands). Despite an intensive search, no trace
of the missing aircraft or crews could be found.
The three crews were:
       Capt PA van Velzen (Pilot), Lt E A Thomas (Obs), Lt C G Geerts (A/G), W/O CJ Rabie (A/G)
       Lt I M Meiring (Pilot), Lt C de M Booysen (Obs), W/O H I Potgieter (A/G), Sgt E Walker (RAF) (A/G)
       Lt R M Tucker (Pilot), 2/Lt J F Cameron (Obs), Sgt RA Bell (RAF) (A/G), Sgt RN Reeves (RAF)(A/G)
At first it was assumed that the crews of all three aircraft we MDP (Missing Death Presumed) but it later came to light
that the third aircraft had managed to ditch into the sea after being severely damaged by enemy fighters. Unfortunately
Sgt Bell could not get out of the sinking aircraft due to injuries sustained from enemy gunfire. Lt Tucker, 2/Lt Cameron
and Sgt Reeves ended up as POW’s. (Lt Tucker’s fascinating story regarding this sortie and his POW days is included in
the book mentioned above.) Lt R H Yaldwin did not take part in this sortie but sadly he and his crew (Lt RG Parry, F/Sgt
ADL de L Marsberg and W/O F van Zyl) lost their lives on a sortie on the night of 12/13 November 1943.
With greetings from KZN
John Boardman
boardman@webafrica.org.za



                                                     Page 12 of 14
NINE WEEKS - CAPE TOWN TO THE UK
In this day and age when a trip from South Africa to the United
Kingdom takes less than 12 hours, a nine weeks trip sounds
ridiculous, but this is what happened to the 100 plus SAAF Pilots
who had volunteered for secondment to the RAF in the UK in 1943.
They embarked in the New Zealand passenger/refrigeration ship
“Rangitata in Cape Town in late August, 1943 and sailed west as far
as Tristan da Cuna in the South Atlantic where goods for the
islanders were off loaded into rowing boats. Then on westwards to
the mouth of the river plate where they saw the conning tower of
the scuttled German pocket battleship “Graf Stee” standing out
above the water. On to Montevideo where all uniformed personnel
disembarked to spend a very pleasant week in the Miramar Hotel.
The ship proceeded up river to load meat in Buenos Aires. (The
Argentinean Government was pro-German and would have interned
any allied troops.) After loading the pilots again the ship set course
for Freetown in West Africa, where it stopped to re-fuel. Then on
round Africa to Gibraltar where the pilots spent ± 4 days, while
there they were all excited to see their first Spitfire land on the
airstrip. When the pilot alighted from the aircraft she was a very pretty young girl in a snow white overall – a pilot of
RAF Ferry Command on her way to deliver the aircraft to Malta! The ship then sailed east into the Mediterranean in
daylight and as darkness fell did a u-turn to sail back through the straits at night. This was to avoid the prying eyes of
the pro-Nazi Spaniards who reported all movements in Gibraltar. Then on to the North Atlantic. At this stage the pilots
were given very rough instruction on the 40mm ACK-ACK guns on the ship and were required to man these on an “4
hour on 8 hour off” basis for the rest of the trip. Finally well into the Atlantic the ship turned north swung round
Ireland and berthed in Liverpool docks 9 weeks after leaving South Africa.
If there are any of those fellow pilots, who must now be well in their 80’s, still alive, I’d love to hear from them!
Atholl Fisher
Tel: 011 913 3737
IRVIN CATERPILLAR AWARD
During WW2 and thereafter, the British family Hunting played a major role in aviation. Amongst other significant
contributions they manufactured the Irvin Parachute that were also utilised on several SAAF Aircraft. SAAF members
who utilised these parachutes qualified for the well known “Irvin Caterpillar” award. Lindsay Hunting a descendant
from this family and present owner of SLALEY Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch area would like to contact these
members and share a glass of his wine with them. In order to assist him with this kind gesture we request recipients of
this award to provide us with the necessary information in order to allow us to compile a database.
We would appreciate information such as: Name, Date of incident, Aircraft type and number, Reason for use,
Consequence(s), Number on Certificate, Present Age, Contact Detail.
Should anyone be aware of any recipient kindly provide his name and contact detail and this Branch will try to trace him
Gedurende die tweede wêreldoorlog en daarna het die Britse familie Hunting n groot rol gespeel in die lugvaartbedryf.
Onder andere het hulle die Irvin valskerm vervaardig wat op verskeie SALM vliegtuie gebruik is. Lugbemanning wat
hierdie valskerms in noodgevalle gebruik het ,het gekwalifiseer vir die bekende “Irvin Caterpillar “ toekenning. Lindsay
Hunting afstammeling uit hierdie familie en tans eienaar van die SLALEY wynlandgoed naby Stellenbosch wil graag
kontak maak en n glasie van sy wyn deel met hierdie besonderse mense. Om ons in staat te stel om aan Lindsay se
versoek te voldoen vra ons aan ontvangers van hierdie toekenning om ons te voorsien van die nodige inligting om eers
ʼn databasis saam te stel.
Inligting soos: Naam, Datum van insident, Tipe vliegtuig, Rede vir gebruik, Gevolge, Nommer op sertifikaat, Ouderdom
tans, Waar woonagtig.
Indien enigiemand bewus is van ‘n ander lid wat so iets ontvang het voorsien hierdie tak met die kontakbesonderhede
en ons sal hom opspoor.
Daan Badenhorst
Email: dbad@telkomsa.net Tel: 021 913 6569 Cell: 084 910 8959
THE REAL STORY (TRAMP IN A BAR)
My husband Bill Dawson was on 112 Squadron at the time the incident happened. He remembers it well and was a
friend of most of those killed and also of the survivor. He thinks that the tramp who spoke to Mel Blom, maybe, is his


                                                       Page 13 of 14
friend. They lost touch after they returned to RSA. If you ever find him please let us know. The story as printed was
quite wrong. We have the true story from the records of 112 Squadron as printed in the “The History of 112 Squadron
1917-1975” and also from my husband’s Log Book. The aircraft flown were Mustangs, P51, not Spitfires.
                                                                            th
                                                         It is a follows: “26 July 1945, ‘Black Thursday’ was one of the
                                                         saddest days in the squadron’s history. Nine aircraft took off at
                                                         09h55 led by Capt. Edwards on a practice recce. Two returned
                                                         shortly afterwards with engine trouble. Later on that morning it
                                                         appeared that something must have happened to the formation.
                                                         Eventually two more returned, Lt A. Van Aardt and Sgt M. Klibanksi
                                                         who had been flying No’s 6 and 7 respectively. Their story was as
                                                         follows:
                                                      They started doing some practice strafing in a valley somewhere
                                                      between Trento and Lake Isco. The formation then re-formed in
                                                      line astern and set course up a valley under cloud. After a few
                                                      seconds Van Aardt and Klibanski realised that it was not an
opened-ended valley and that cloud covered mountains lay directly ahead. Van Aardt immediately stall-turned his
machine and miraculously escaped hitting the mountain side while Klibanski opened up full throttle and climbed as
hard as he could, just missing the mountain top. Behind him he felt or saw a series of explosions in the cloud. Both
pilots called the rest of the formation but there was no reply. Those who failed to return were: Capt Edwards (KM216),
Lt R.D Park (FH259), Lt W.D. Blom (KH235), Lt R.H. Templer (KM107), and a new pilot Sgt G.P Eyears (KH720). That
afternoon Van Aardt and Ted Oosthuizen took off again in an attempt to locate the scene of the disaster but were
unable to find it as the mountains were still cloud covered. Ground search parties were immediately organised but it
               nd
wasn’t until 2 August that information was received that all five bodies had been found on Monte Care Alto and were
awaiting identification in Trento mortuary. They were buried that evening
with the assistance of an American honour guard.”
This is the history in the 112 Squadron book. My husband and I went to Italy
in 1962 and visited their graves in the War cemetery near Padua.
Best regards,
Elaine Dawson for Bill Dawson.
Thank you Elaine and Bill for clarifying the story. Ed
CAN YOU HELP?
Here is a picture of my father receiving his wings from General Jan Smuts. I
want to identify where this photo was taken.
Ian Lawrence
Email: ilawrence@twp.co.za
SAAF WO BADGES
I am the son of the late WO1 Barry Kemp, Sgt Maj SAAF, early 1980’s, and have been collecting military badges for a
number of years. I am busy with a collection at the moment as a tribute to the Warrant Officers of the SADF.
                                                 I have about 400 different WO badges as worn from 1960 to present but
                                                 need the SAAF WO1 and WO2 light blue screen printed on nutria sleeves
                                                 (brassard), see attached photos.
                                                 If anyone has either of these I would appreciate it if they would contact
                                                 me, I am prepared to pay for the badges and any postage costs to send
                                                 them to Cape Town.
                                                 Neville Kemp
                                                 Seadog’s Militaria Collection
                                                 Mobile: 082 336 0329 / e-mail: seadog.collection@gmail.com

                                                              --0--
  "If the wings are travelling faster than the fuselage, it's probably a helicopter -- and therefore, unsafe."

                                                                      That’s all for now folks! Keep sending those stories. Ed




                                                         Page 14 of 14

				
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