Vol. 1 Issue 3 - FLYING SPIRIT by sdsdfqw21

VIEWS: 280 PAGES: 16

									                                                                                  October 2010 Volume 1, Number 3

   FLYING SPIRIT     The Official National Newsletter of the SAAF Association

                                  The SAAF Museum did it again!                               Article and photos by
                                  Stefaan Bouwer
                                  Even though the SAAF did not participate in most of the Air Shows during 2010, they
                                                                                th                     th
                                  pulled out all the stops to celebrate their 90 Anniversary. Their 90 Birthday Show
                                  was held at Swartkop on 14 August 2010. SAAFA was present at their usual vantage
                                  point, just below the Shackleton. The weather for this time of the year is good in that
Contents                          there is little chance of rain.
                                  The flying started with the usual Golden Eagle’s
The SAAF Museum did it again! 1   parachute drop, the first since their tragic loss of
Grey College                  3   Brian Slade from a Dakota prior to the Virginia Air
The Market Place              3
                                  Show, this time from a Cessna Caravan. For the
Feeding The Eagles            3
In Memory of :                4   first time there was a Para Glider display which
Korea’s Little Angels         6   was to have been followed by a Vampire and
Springbok Cigarettes          7   Gripen.     A technical problem grounded the
Luke’s Jets                   8   Vampire for the whole show, so the Gripen C
Out and About                 9                                            single seater showed off its lines for the first
Heroes Remembered            13                                            time in a SAAF show in South Africa.
The Kopp-Etchells Effect     13
Our Readers Say              14

Contact Us                        To slow down all the Gripen hype, the
                                  Casa 212 gave a very tight and docile
The Editors                       display. This was slowed down even
SAAFA NHQ                         more by a Tiger Moth display. Again
P.O. Box 21223                    the yellow contrast stark against the Air Force greys. Both these aircraft displays are so
Valhalla                          tight that the spectators see mainly the undersides.
                                                                      The next display is becoming a regular, and since it
Tel: 012 651 5921                                                     consists of three Generals flying the Museum
Fax: 086 218 4657                                                     helicopters, is now known as “The Generals’ Flight”.
Email: nationalhq@icon.co.za                                          The Puma, Alouette III and Alouette II gave a
Website: www.saafa.co.za                                              synchronized display before peeling off to display
                                                                     Then the SAAF sped up the tempo to a max with the
                                                                     Mirage III CZ Black Widow blasting itself across the
                                  sky. It was so fast that I am sure the spectators that used their cell phone cameras to
                                  record the shows got quite a few photos of empty sky. Once finished, a beautiful
                                  formation flight consisting of Jet Trainers followed, sadly without the Vampire.
                                  These formation flights are a huge favourite,
                                  both overseas and local, mainly due to the
                                  different shapes and colours. The Hawk in the
                                  RSA colours followed giving a high and far off
                                  show as far as the spectators were concerned.
                                  Always a favourite with the public and
                                  surprisingly the children. Amazing to hear the
                                  little kids of all colours shouting: “Look, there is
                                  our flag”!!
                                                       Page 1 of 16
                                             The next display also started as a formation. The Museum Dakota led a
                                             formation of Harvards from SAA, Flying Lions and the SAAF Museum. The
                                             Dak then displayed, followed by Tora Tora Tora. For those that have not
                                             seen it, it is a simulated attack sequence by all the Harvards. This time
                                             there was no pyrotechnics. I am sure because of the fire hazard due to the
                                             dry grass. The first in the sequence is of the Harvards peeling off for their
                                             attack, followed by some of the attacking Harvards. Then followed the
                                             Silver Falcons with their usual polished display.
                                               The Flying Lions did their usual two displays. A sequence I have not seen for
                                               a long time was a slightly banked formation flypast to show those graceful
old girls profiles to the crowds (aircraft profiles – not pilots).
Brad Bennets entertained the crowds with his Extra 300 like few
can. He flew that aircraft all over the sky. A photographer
colleague told him we were opposite the end of the runway and
he flew laterally past us. Maj Gen Des Barker showed off the
Museum’s Bosbok, always a soft spot with me, as it was the first
SAAF aircraft I flew in way back in 1975. Still gives a real tight
A surprise was the Cheetah D that turned up for a fast and
powerful display. Not seeing that often in our skies the crowd was
left on a high. It also performed a touch and go with the red and yellow contrasting beautifully with the brown sky. The
Kudu followed while we were moving to the south of the runway, but I managed to get the take off. Just before the
lunch break, again a Swartkops regular noisemaker, the Albatross gave a few beautiful flypasts to show off those
distinctive curves.
A throwback from the 2010 contingency plan was displayed to the crowds showing off to what extent the Defence
Force exercise for any eventuality. A supposed hijacking was intercepted, forced down and the various elements of the
SAAF and reaction force neutralized the baddies and released the
The Hercules then gave a flypast, showing off the SAAF 90 badge on
the nose. Soon after the A109 and the Oryx did an initial dual display,
dancing in the skies, before the A109 did its individual sequence,
followed by the Oryx. Part of the Oryx’s performance was to douse the
“fire” with a Bambie bucket, giving the dry grass some welcome water.
The L-39 and Impala MkI did their familiar docile dual display, still far
off and high. Both separated to have an individual display. The SU-29
did a short display and with the Extra 300 was one of the only two
aerobatic aircraft appearing during the show.
                                             Mid-afternoon a SAA Airbus 319 appeared with our Silver Falcons for one of
                                             the highlights. Amazing how these flypasts can silence the +/- 55000 people
                                             to watch in awe as these big beasts are graciously showing off, while in
                                             stark contrast the little Falcons surround them. Like a big shark with its pilot
                                             fish. With the Falcons breaking away the Airbus did its wonderful display
                                             low and slow while the pilots
                                             gave a running commentary.
                                              Not to be outdone our SAAF
                                              responded with a real colourful
jet flypast, doing repeated runs to show off their different lines. To end off
the four jets did a final salute separately before landing with the setting sun.
What remained was a night show by the Flying Lions.
What can I say? Another dream day in the sun; a stunningly successful and
well organized show. Many hands stirred the pot, but great thanks must go
to Lt Col Willie Nel (OC SAAF Museum), Lt Col Hosepipe Hanekom, Lt Col
Clive Shepherd and all their helpers who organized the day. A great thanks to all those in charge of the media like
Major Prinsloo, Lt Col Chris Oosthuizen and Lt Matsetsi. These guys really grasped what is needed for us photographers
and went all the way to give us the best opportunities. Thanks to all!
                                                                      The article was edited to fit in the space available. Ed

                                                       Page 2 of 16
The South African Air Force and Grey College by Don Johnston
The query regarding Lt Ian Meiring, the son of ‘Jock’ Meiring, Headmaster of Grey College for 26 years until his
retirement in 1948, brought to my mind the contributions made to the SAAF by Grey College.
I do not believe that any other school has contributed 4 Chiefs of the Air Force, namely, General Sir “Pierre” van
Ryneveld (later C.G.S), Brig Gen “Steve” Melville, Brig Gen H. “Kalfie” Martin (a Rugby Springbok) and Lt Gen Denis Earp.
Brig Gen Robert King and Brig Gen Oliver Holmes were also Old Greys.
In the late 1940’s and the fifties, the Pupil Pilots Training Scheme enticed many Old Greys into the Air Force. In my
1947 Matric Class of 22 boys, 5 of us became pilots in the SAAF, Denis Earp, Hector Vos, Ronnie Rossouw (later SA
Airways), André du Plessis and myself.
There must have been something about Bloemfontein in 1947, as Grey’s rival school Sentraal Hoёr also sent one of its
Matriculants to the Air Force alongside of Denis Earp. He was to become Chief of the Air Force and Patron of SAAFA; Lt
Gen Mike Muller. It has been my privilege to have known both of them in SAAF and SAAFA over a period of more than
60 years.
Pupil pilots were trained on Tiger Moths and Harvards at Tempe Aerodrome, 4 per intake, by OFS Air Services which
was owned by Captain Jannie Wessels (SAAF), whose brother, Louis, had been a pilot killed in action in the Western
Desert. The Chief Instructor was Captain Dick Southworth, who later started Basutair. Another instructor was Vic
Gregorowski (later a Captain in SAA), all Old Greys.
Most of those of us who received our wings and trained in Bloemfontein, joined 8 City of Bloemfontein Squadron,
based at Bloemspruit. A large number of squadron pilots into the 50’s were Old Greys, amongst them, that I can recall,
Fichardt, Du Preez, Worringham, Boting, Vos, Rossouw, Theron, Erwee, Edeling (later a Judge) and myself.
Two of our instructors at CFS were Old Greys, “Horse” Sweeney (wounded in action), and George Krohn (killed in
action) in Korea. Denis Earp (P.O.W) and André du Plessis, also served in Korea. André became a Viscount Captain in
Rhodesian Airways and his aircraft was shot down by ZAPU terrorists after takeoff from Victoria Falls with a total loss of
life. Ironically George Kohn’s name appears on the Korean War Roll of Honour at the SAAF Memorial whilst some 20
meters away and some 55 years later his brother Alec’s name appears on a niche in the Wall of Remembrance.
Old Greys have played and still do play a part in SAAFA. Denis Earp is a patron, Alec Krohn was a Regional Vice-
President, Chris van der Post is Chairman of Cape Town Branch, Peter Searle is Vice Chairman of Outeniqua Branch
whilst I was Chairman of Johannesburg Branch, and am a Past National Vice-President.
                     It is with sadness that we report that Hector Vos passed away shortly after receipt of this article. Ed

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Feeding The Eagles – 12 Squadron SAAF by the late R.C.K.H.T. (Dick) BATE
At Shandur we were told that we were the nucleolus of ground personnel that was being gathered. The aircraft that
we were to be maintaining would be the Maryland, which at that time meant nothing, except that it was a new aircraft
for the Western Desert; it was rumoured that 12 Squadron was to be formed before going into operations in the very
near future. It must be recalled that at our time of arrival at Shandur the German Forces had already over run Greece
and were attacking the Island of Crete which is ± 300 miles off the North African Coast, north of the main British Naval

                                                      Page 3 of 16
Base at Alexandria. The Italians had over run and captured Albania, so that the whole of the North Eastern Mediter-
ranean was in Axis hands.
                                           Egypt is a very cosmopolitan country, particularly in the bigger cities; the
                                           evacuees from Greece were received in a friendly country. On our arrival,
                                           as with all other Allied Forces, we were welcomed in gratefulness in that we
                                           had come to help fight the menace of the Axis Forces in the Mediterranean.
                                           In the street cafes we would be given a handshake and invited to have
                                           drinks with them, this in their gratitude. In the meantime, we had been
                                           warned that amongst the Greek and Cretian evacuees there would be Axis
                                           informers, who would try and get as much information as they could, we
                                           had to be very careful.
                                           On our arrival at Shandur, 24 Squadron had already moved into operations,
                                           this included all the maintenance and bowzer crews, they had taken
                                           everything and everybody that they could. Shandur was a deserted camp,
                                           nobody to show us around; we had to find out everything for ourselves. The
                                           latrines were desert lilies and long drops, behind hessian walls; everything
                                           was abnormal to the new arrivals. Those who had been left behind had
                                           their own troubles to contend with and we did not see much of them.
                                           Aircraft and flying crews started arriving and the aircraft had to be serviced
                                           and maintained, we got on with it, with some disconcerting experiences,
              Shandur: 1941                which shall be told later. We had to start learning all about the aircraft, the
                                           Maryland, no aircraft manual etc. but in the true South African manner
tried harder. We found out how the aircraft worked, for the armourers this was a real trial and error challenge and
experience. In this challenge, an experience occurred which had a devastating effect on the aerodrome.
One morning the armourers were doing their normal routine maintenance, when all of a sudden there was a rattle of
machine gun fire, the aerodrome was very smartly evacuated, thinking that we were being raided. After a while
personnel started appearing again, we subsequently found that in dropping the tray to which the browning guns were
attached had a runaway gun fault, the front edge of the wing of the aircraft had been shot away, and eventually bullet
holes were found in the hanger on the other side of the aerodrome. In true air force manner this was investigated,
but this gave us a warning about handling guns. The bombing up of aircraft was done by a winch which pulled the
bombs up into the bomb bay; this was one hell of a hassle. We occasionally witnessed a bit of Guy Fawkes over the
Suez Canal when enemy aircraft flew over by night, dropping flares and the slow "wiss-wiss" of mines being dropped
into the Canal, occasionally bombs were also dropped; the searchlights manned by the Egyptian Forces would spray
the night trying to pick up enemy aircraft. The enemy aircraft, in retaliation would rattle their machine guns on the
search lights and gun batteries. When this got too intense, we found that the Egyptian soldiers manning these search
lights and gun batteries had taken a little operational leave to get out of the way of the enemy attack, so much for the
protection of the Suez Canal.
New ground and flying crews started to arrive and the inevitable circuits and bumps started; during these circuit and
bump routines the crews were also practising flying straight and level and occasionally dive runs on a dummy target
arranged away from the aerodrome. On one of these occasions the pilot and crew were doing a practice dive and
put the aircraft into a steep dive and could not pull the aircraft out of the dive, the engines were found deep in the
Egyptian sand and the rest of the aircraft was found one hundred yards away; what a mess! I found out later that it
was Lt. Blatherwick, whom I had, for many years, known in Cape Town. The following morning after the crash, all
aircraft crews were sent up for some nerve, stabilising flying.
(To be continued)

In Memory of :
ALEX NICHOLL by Jill Walton
Alex was an active man and appeared to be so fit, but a massive heart attack took him
within minutes. His name will come up in conversations for years to come as he was
committed to so many different things - SAAFA, the South African Legion, mainly
fixing and delivering wheelchairs where ever needed, the Riverside Resort where he
worked very hard. He was an active member of the MOTHs and always willingly
helped out the Lady MOTHWA when they needed help. Alex was also Chairman for
many years of 'Eventide' an Old Age Home in Klerksdorp where he was very much
appreciated. From all this I am sure you will know how the community in Stilfontein
will miss him. Rest in Peace Friend – We will always Remember you.                                     Alex Nicholl
                                                      Page 4 of 16
RICHARD HAVARD by Jeremy Havard
On a crystal clear beautiful warm late winter morning at a modest but moving ceremony in the SAAF Memorial
Gardens, Bays Hill, family and friends finally bade farewell to Richard Havard, a strong supporter of SAAFA, RAFA and
the SAAF museum, who passed away after a long illness.
                                                   His son, Jeremy Havard (ex SAAF officer in the 1980’s) had travelled in
                                                   from Australia for this ceremony on the 31st July 2010 had a few
                                                   words to say about Richard and his life that were bound to resonate
                                                   within the SAAFA and greater Air Force community.
                                                    Asking the congregation why we were gathered at Bays Hill in
                                                    Pretoria, Jeremy told of how Richard had grown up without a father
                                                    in WW11 Britain, with his single mother and little brother as German
                                                    bombers and flying bombs laid London and surrounding areas to
                                                    waste. Richard could hear the bombs falling and anti-aircraft guns
                                                    and watched the deadly glow of fires over London from his bedroom.
                                                    At night the Germans used their town, north west of London as one
                                                    of the turnaround points before hightailing it home, often randomly
                 The Havard family
                                                    jettisoning their entire loads of bombs or parachute mines at the
same time. He vividly remembered the unique sound of the German diesel engines and V1 flying bombs passing high
overhead. In the mornings the area was littered with incendiaries, shrapnel and spent shells from the ack-ack set up in
the fields and on rooftops across this part of the North West.
As a little boy his world was full of brave swashbuckling flying types, from the legendary British night fighters like Cats
Eyes Cunningham to the American bomber crews from his adopted friends, the 92 USAAF Bombardment group flying
the B17 Flying Fortresses stationed locally who called this area home and the local English people their adopted family,
made up of young men who often didn’t make it back there night in night out. From this base just 7 miles from his
home, 154 bombers were lost representing the lives of 1540 men, some of whom had become friends to the family
who gave him candy, supplemented the dreadful wartime rations and helped stand in for his missing father. What
would things have been like seen through the eyes of an eight year old?
To Richard the RAF and USAAF pilots and crew became his heroes. At the end of the war, there was almost a sense of
guilt amongst younger boys like Richard who couldn’t serve because they were too young. This established in them a
sense of duty and future service to community that was to last a life time. Richard was no exception. He spent the rest
of his life joining then being part of the Air Force community.
Richard completed his National Service in the RAF in Libya in the very early 1950’s. Soon afterwards he joined the RAF
Voluntary Reserve as a training officer. After moving to South Africa he went on to become highly active in SAAFA and
RAFA affairs, becoming legendary in fund raising and generally making sure everyone was O.K. Jeremy remembers
growing up meeting many prominent Air Force types, from Bob Rodgers to Denis Earp, WW1 fighter types like Col
Stanley Walters, even ‘the enemy’ in the form of German fighter ace Adolf Galland. There were always funds to be
raised, committees to host, donations to veterans and supporting of the museum.
To get an understanding of this sense of generosity of time and effort, Jeremy recollected how whenever borrowing
Richards car whilst visiting there was always a strange box of boiled eggs on the passenger seat. When asked why,
Richard told him that whenever he went out, he had a stash of cold eggs to hand out to disadvantaged people he saw
standing at traffic lights. He was always in the habit of giving. In addition there were items donated to the SA Military
Museum, SAAF related commissioned paintings to the RAF Club in London (and a bust of Jan Smuts), a fridge to the
crew room at 4 Squadron SAAF and off course many items to various service related pubs to which Richard was a well
known visitor and strong contributor to the nightly takings and the
reason why they often closed late.
In these regards he will always be remembered and it is fitting that
his final resting place is here overlooking the cradle of the Air Force
he loved. He is with friends.
Jeremy Havard finished by thanking then dismissing the gathering in
an appropriate way that would have Richard feeling very proud had
he been present before ordering the retreat to another appropriate
place, the Hartbees Club, for a final farewell.
The Havard family would like to thank all who attended for their
kind words and support and particularly the representatives and
organisers from SAAFA, the SAAF Museum and the Royal Air Force

                                                       Page 5 of 16
Korea’s Little Angels amaze South Africans submitted by Chris Szabo
South Africans have been wowed by South Korea’s Little Angels on their National Day and the 60th anniversary of the
Korean War. The Little Angels are visiting every one of the 16 UN member nations that sent soldiers to Korea in 1950-
South Korea’s unique way of thanking UN member countries for their sacrifices of 60 years ago, when they responded
to the call to rescue South Korea from an invasion by the North, was to create The Little Angels Children’s Folk Ballet to
tour the world to promote peace around the world and Digital Journal was invited.
The Korean Ambassador, Han-soo Kim, and Chris Basson from the South African Department of International Relations
and Cooperation pointed to the ongoing and growing links between the two countries. South Korea had much to show
South Africa, having gone from terrible poverty after the war to reaching “developed nation” status, something not
common even in Asia, let alone Africa.
                                                  Pieter Visser, president of the South African Korean War Veterans
                                                  Association told the crowd:
                                                  “For 60 years, the Korean people have been thanking the veterans
                                                  who fought with them. They have continually thanked us by
                                                  …reunions, inviting veterans and their families on revisit tours of
                                                 The South African veterans wished to give a present to Korea, but
                                                 Visser said because they were all pensioners, this posed a financial
                                                 problem. However, the painter, Professor Derrick Dickens suggested a
                                                 sponsorship, which was raised by LG Electronics South Africa. LG, a
Korean company is one of the largest electronics suppliers in the world. The painting shows the two fighters flown by 2
Squadron, the F-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre, this also being the first jet fighter flown by the SAAF.
Dr Bo Hi Park, Executive Director of the Korean War Sixtieth Anniversary Memorial Committee addressed the crowd:
“We have come to say ‘thank you’ to the South African people and the nation of the South African Republic. Thank you
for South African support you gave us 60 years ago, in 1950, when our nation was in great danger, South Africa sent 826
Air Force troops, who served under the United Nations flag, helping to stop the Communist invasion from the North.
Throughout the Korean War, the South African Air Force fought gallantly in many difficult missions, truly demonstrating
a sacrificial spirit to save our country. “
He added:
“They fought as though they were defending their own country.”
According to Park, the South African Air Force’s (SAAF) 2 Squadron:
“Flew 12,067 missions and received a total of 797 medals including the unusual honour of a US Presidential Unit
Citation in 1952. In doing so, losing 34 precious, precious pilots plus two more of other ranks, plus 16 wounded and
nine who were prisoners of war. I salute the South African Air Force.”
“Together with the other 16 UN member nations, you South Africans saved our country. Because of your sacrifice,
today we have freedom, democracy and prosperity.”
                                                 Park then said        something     not    often   heard    at    military
                                                 “At this time, I would also like to ask all the soldiers who are in heaven
                                                 to come down and receive the Korean War Heroes Medal. We have
                                                 prepared a special bouquet for the heroes up in heaven. Let us
                                                 remember all those who gave (their lives). May they join with us as we
                                                 pay tribute to them and enjoy the Little Angel’s performance this
                                                 Park went on to explain why the tragic events of the war were
                                                 commemorated by children. He said:
“The Little Angels are children. Why have we brought the children? Because during the Korean War, children were the
helpless victims.
He pointed out that even during combat, South African soldiers saved the lives of many children. He added:
“It is the children themselves who want to thank the South African Korean War veterans and the South African people.”
                                                      Page 6 of 16
Park, a veteran himself, added a personal note to his address:
“Ladies and gentlemen, in 1950, I also fought in that war. I was a Korean military cadet and I entered the war the very
first day of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. I fought side by side with the UN soldiers. At that time, I finally
realized that only with the help of the South African soldiers and the soldiers from the many other UN member nations
could our nation survive. We owe you a debt of gratitude; a debt of blood we can never, never fully repay.”
The 16 countries were led by the US, which sent the largest contingent and was able to do so rapidly because it already
had soldiers in Japan. The South Koreans believe their troops, trapped in the Busan (also spelled “Pusan”) perimeter,
would have been able to hold out for three more days had help not arrived.
The UK supplied a division and other countries, including Canada, Turkey, Australia, the Philippines and New Zealand
contributed troops numbering over 1,000. South Africa sent a squadron of fighter aircraft along with support personnel.
The UN intervention in Korea was one of the first UN actions, under Security Council Resolution 84. The military forces
were placed under US command.
Meanwhile something far more uplifting than war was taking place at the Sandown Convention Centre at Nelson
Mandela Square in the up market and very beautiful suburb business district of Sandton, Johannesburg. The Little
Angels had come on stage and proceeded to wow the very enthusiastic
audience, winning their hearts with their rendition of Nkosi Sikelel-i Africa
(God Bless Africa), which is no small feat considering the verses are in five
South African languages.
They earned loud applause with their dance repertoire, which varied from
adaptations of ancient court dances to farmers’ dances, traditional
wedding dances and perhaps the most impressive, the Drum Dance,
where each girl alternately hammered one (or more) of six drums.
Finally, the veterans were honoured by the children who hung the Korean
War Heroes’ Medal around their necks. Veteran president Visser said he
had never experienced anything like it.
It is not possible to undo the three million deaths, the loss of homes by five million and the 10 million people whose
families have been separated. Nonetheless if something ugly and evil can be turned to the good, the Little Angels from
South Korea showed one way to do it.

Springbok Cigarettes submitted by Lawrence Milner
                                                    Recently I inherited a book entitled ‘The Interrogator’ the story of
                                                    Hanns Scharff, Luftwaffe’s Master Interrogator by Raymond F.
                                                    Toliver in collaboration with Hanns. J. Scharff. Colonel Toliver saw
                                                    action in the Pacific flying B-29 and P 51 aircraft during the 2 War
                                                    and after the war rose to command the 25 Tactical Fighter Wing in
                                                    England and became the historian of the American Fighter Aces
                                                    Association, among other appointments.
                                                    The book deals with Hanns
                                                    Scharff who was rated as the
                                                    most successful interrogator of
                                                    captured Allied airmen. He did
                                                    not employ any form of
physical torture but, by giving the impression of casual and friendly conversation
he would gain the information he was seeking from the captured airman.
Hanns Scharff had a slightly unusual background – he was transferred to
Johannesburg in 1928 from Germany by his firm the Adler motor car division and
was the Director there for eleven years. He married the daughter of Lt. Col. Claude
                                                                                               Hanns Scharff
Stokes, a Rhodesian who was killed flying for the RFC by Manfred von Richthofen in
          th                               th
August 16 , 1917 becoming the Baron’s 58 victim.
I came across a photograph in the book with the title ‘Springbok Cigarettes’ with the following statement : - ‘South
African Air Force Lt. Deryck W. Birch was brought to Hohe-Mark hospital near Oberursal and awakened to find a fresh
                                                     Page 7 of 16
pack of South African Springbok Cigarettes on his bedside table. Scharff had heard a SAAF prisoner had arrived,
discovered his 21 birthday was that date, so had taken him the cigarettes as a present. Birch could hardly believe his
eyes …….Springbok cigarettes in Germany and there was a war on?’
In their book ‘Eagles Victorious’ by Lt. Gen. H.J. Martin and Col. N.D. Orpen the following action is described:- ‘Cuts in
the railway line, as at Ancona, could be bypassed by enemy motor transport, and 3 Wing attacked both crossroads and
the railway at Guilianova on 16 March, but anti-aircraft fire holed three Baltimores of 21 Sqn and scored hits on one of
12 Sqns Marauders, which broke in two and crashed. One parachute was seen to open and another appeared as
though it might have done so, but all the crew was missing. (Four of the crew lost their lives and the fate of Lts. E.W.
Mould and D.W. Birch was unknown).’
Lt. Deryck Birch wrote after the war….’After dropping the bombs, the pilot leading us, we were flying No.2 position, for
some unaccountable reason turned inland directly into the heaviest flak area. We took a direct hit in the bomb bay,
which severed the elevator and rudder cables. The plane pitched into a steep dive. My seat belt was unfastened as I
had just returned from the rear of the plane and had sat down in the co-pilot’s seat when we were hit. I was thrown
forward very hard into the instrument panel. I felt for sure this was it, and I lost consciousness.
Next thing I knew was when I felt a strong wind on my back and legs and then realized my feet were trapped and were
holding me in the cockpit of the disintegrating aircraft. Then somehow I was loose and I fell free and I saw bits and
pieces of my plane falling right along beside me. I felt dead tired, all my energy was gone, and it was a tremendous
effort for me to find the ripcord on my parachute and pull it, but I did and the chute jerked me up short as it opened.
As I drifted down I saw another chute below me but did not have the strength to try to steer mine towards it. I could
hear dogs barking and in just a few seconds I hit the ground among some trees in an orchard.
Some German soldiers appeared running and obtained a ladder from the locals which they used as a litter to carry me,
as I could not walk due to my injuries. They put my parachute under my head as a pillow. After being turned away
from two hospitals I was finally admitted and awoke after surgery in a caste from the top of my chest to the bottom of
my legs. The next day the two German soldiers came to visit me and reported the entire crew had perished.
                                                  I was eventually evacuated to hospital in Germany and arrived at the
                                                  Hohe-Mark hospital. The Springbok cigarettes and my meeting with
                                                  Hanns Scharff soon followed.
                                                  A year or so after the end of the war, after returning to South Africa,
                                                  who should appear but the pilot of the Marauder, Lt. E.W. Mould! It
                                                  was his chute that I had seen! ‘
                                                  Author comments: ‘The young South African lieutenant from
                                                  Johannesburg who was so surprised when he awoke in Hohe-Mark
                                                  hospital on his birthday in 1943 to discover a fresh pack of Springboks
                                                  and a Happy Birthday note on his table side-table, left his address in
                                                  Schraff’s Guest Book. A letter from the author in 1976 reached him,
                                                  although he had moved from Johannesburg to Scottburgh near
                                                  Durban, Natal’.
This was the reply: “First I would like to say how pleased I was to know where Hanns is living. I still remember quizzing
him when he said he lived in Jo’burg before the war, asking him about certain places and such. Little did I realize that
he was actually interrogating me at the same time.
“I was absolutely amazed that he had managed to obtain a supply of these cigarettes after the war had been under way
for five years and when I asked him about how he had acquired them he never did give me a straight answer. No
wonder he was considered the Luftwaffe’s master interrogator!”
If anyone has knowledge of Deryck W. Birch or experienced the attentions of Hanns Scharff, I would be very happy to
hear from them – Lawrence Milner. (lmagency@mweb.co.za)

Luke’s Jets submitted by Karl Jensen
Luke AFB is west of Phoenix and is rapidly being surrounded by civilization that complains about the noise from the
base and its planes, forgetting that it was there long before they were. A certain lieutenant colonel at Luke AFB
deserves a big pat on the back. Apparently, an individual who lives somewhere near Luke AFB wrote the local paper
complaining about a group of F-16s that disturbed his/her day at the mall. When that individual read the response
from a Luke AFB officer, it must have stung quite a bit.
The complaint:
“Question of the day for Luke Air Force Base:

                                                      Page 8 of 16
Whom do we thank for the morning air show? Last Wednesday, at
precisely 9:11 A.M, a tight formation of four F-16 jets made a low         GRANDPARENTS
pass over Arrowhead Mall, continuing west over Bell Road at
approximately 500 feet. Imagine our good fortune! Do the Tom               My young grandson called the other day to
Cruise-wannabes feel we need this wake-up call, or were they trying        wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how
to impress the cashiers at Mervyns early bird special?”                    old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson
                                                                           was quiet for a moment, and then he asked,
Any response would be appreciated.                                         "Did you start at 1?"
The response:                                                              When my grandson asked me how old I
“Regarding 'A wake-up call from Luke's jets' on June 15, at precisely      was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure."
9:12 a.m., a perfectly timed four- ship flyby of F-16s from the 63rd       "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he
Fighter Squadron at Luke Air Force Base flew over the grave of Capt.       advised "Mine says I'm 4 to 6."
Jeremy Fresques. Capt Fresques was an Air Force officer who was
previously stationed at Luke Air Force Base and was killed in Iraq on May 30, Memorial Day.
At 9 a.m. on June 15, his family and friends gathered at Sunland Memorial Park in Sun City to mourn the loss of a
husband, son and friend. Based on the letter writer's recount of the fly by, and because of the jet noise, I'm sure you
didn't hear the 21-gun salute, the playing of taps, or my words to the widow and parents of Capt. Fresques as I gave
them their son's flag on behalf of the President of the United States and all those veterans and servicemen and women
who understand the sacrifices they have endured.
A four-ship fly by is a display of respect the Air Force gives to those who give their lives in defense of freedom. We are
professional aviators and take our jobs seriously, and on June 15 what the letter writer witnessed was four officers
lining up to pay their ultimate respects.
The letter writer asks, 'Whom do we thank for the morning air show? The 56th Fighter Wing will make the call for you,
and forward your thanks to the widow and parents of Capt Fresques, and thank them for you, for it was in their honor
that my pilots flew the most honorable formation of their lives.
Only 2 defining forces have ever offered to die for you....Jesus Christ and the American Soldier. One died for your soul,
the other for your freedom.
Lt. Col. Grant L. Rosensteel, Jr.USAF

Out and About
                                              Die tak het op 19 September
                                              vergadering gehou en na die
                                              vergadering         is     daar
                                              Hamburgers geëet voordat die
                                              jaarlikse kettieskiet kompetisie
                                              gehou is.
                                                   Die weer het hierdie jaar nie
                                                   lekker saamgespeel nie en die
                                                   boslaan kettieskiet is vervang    Die trotse wenner: Gerhard Schoeman
                                                   met ‘n baan waar die manne
Voorsitter Francois van Zyl probeer sy bes om die bietjie teen die koue wind beskerm was. Daar is behoorlik gekorrel en
nodige punte aan te teken om daardie trofee te wen geskiet vir die trofee maar Gerhard Schoeman is weereens as die
- dit alles onder die wakende oog van die kampioen aangewys.

                                              Aviation Rules and Reminders
       Takeoffs are optional. Landings are mandatory.
       If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger, if you pull the stick back they get smaller. Unless you keep
        pulling the stick back...then they get bigger again.
       Flying is not dangerous; crashing is dangerous.
       The propeller is just a big fan in the front of the plane to keep the pilot cool. Want proof? Make it stop; then
        watch the pilot break out into a sweat.
       The only time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

                                                      Page 9 of 16
CMVO MEMORIAL SERVICE (with acknowledgement to Chris and Janet Szabo)
                                                 The Council of Military Veteran Organisations of South Africa (CMVO) has held
                                                 its annual Veteran’s Memorial Service at Fort Klapperkop in Pretoria on 5
                                                 September 2010 to honour the memory of those who fell in the service of
                                                 their country. Neville Greyling laid a wreath on behalf of SAAFA and Lt Gen
                                                 Denis Earp represented the SA Korean War Veteran’s Association. Crosses
                                                 were symbolically planted by the veterans associations.

Nadat ‘n verwoestende storm veroorsaak het dat die rivier in vloed afgekom het,
was Riverside, waar lede van die Stilfontein Tak, groet, ontmoet, speel, beplan,
partytjie hou en herdenk, bykans total verwoes met baie rande se skade wat
aangerig is.
Die tak se lede het bymekaar gekom en dié wat fisies kon help, het help skoonmaak en rommel weggery terwyl die
ander vir morele ondersteuning en die gereelde versnapperinge gesorg het. Met harde werk, deursettingsvermoё en
                                   baie fondsinsamelings projekte het hulle Riverside weer opgebou tot sy vorige
                                          Die gebou is op 11 September 2010 weer
                                          geopen met die bruiklike makietie soos net
                                          die lede van Stilfontein kan makietie! Daar
                                          is eenparig besluit om die saal die “Alex
                                          Nicoll Hall” te noem om hierdie staatmaker
                                          steunpilaar wat skielik van ons weggeneem
                                          is vir sy harde werk te vereer.

                                                  On Wednesday 8 September 2010, the Johannesburg Branch once again held
                                                  their annual Golf Day to raise funds for benevolence. At stake was the
                                                  SAAFA Floating Trophy which was instituted in 1958.
                                                  The competition was played at the Johannesburg Country Club - Rocklands
                                                  course, which was in beautiful condition considering the fact that the Spring
                                                  rains haven’t arrived as yet.
                                                  Winners this year with 44 stable ford points were Maj Gen Hugh Paine and
                                                  Col Mike Louw of Air Force HQ, both being members of the Pretoria branch.
                                                  The day was a most successful and enjoyable one as was the scrumptious
                                                  dinner served after prize-giving.
The 2010 SAAFA champions Maj Gen Hugh Paine
(left) and Col Mike Louw (third left) with Tom    Well done Tom Borrill and the Johannesburg branch on another great
Borrill Johannesburg chairman (holding the        success.
Trophy)and National President Ken Snowball

SAW HERDENKINGSDIENS 2010 (by Ken Snowball)
Die eerste SAW Herdenkingsdiens, na die inwyding van die SAW Muur van
Herinnering by die Voortrekker Monument, is op Sondag 15 Augustus 2010
gehou. Die diens is deur ongeveer 800 mense bygewoon en meer as 120
kranse is gelê of kruise geplant.
Ken Snowball, Nasionale President van die SALMV, het 'n krans namens die
Vereniging gelê.
In die toekoms sal hierdie diens op die Sondag naaste aan 31 Mei gehou
word. Volgens beplanning sal volgende jaar se diens dus om 10h00 op
                                                                       Afgeneem na die diens - Renier Feldtmann, Ken
Sondag 29 Mei 2011 plaasvind.                                          Snowball en Neville Greyling wie die SALMV by die
                                                                                       diens verteenwoordig het.
                                                           Page 10 of 16
                                                                      After the fall of France on 14 June 1940, Hitler directed
                                                                      his full attention and all the might of the Luftwaffe to
                                                                      On 10 July 1940 the Luftwaffe commenced its attacks
                                                                      against the RAF. The orders were quite clear, destroy
                                                                      the RAF, both in the air and on the ground, in
                                                                      preparation for the invasion of Britain.
                                                                      On 15 September 1940, after the Luftwaffe had suffered
                                                                      heavy sustained losses against the Spitfires and
                                                                      Hurricanes of the RAF, Hitler indefinitely suspended the
                                                                      invasion because the Luftwaffe had failed to gain air
                                                                      superiority over the envisaged landing areas and the
                                                                      English Channel.
                                                                      Winston Churchill praised the RAF with his now famous
Photographed at the Church: Tom Borrill SAAFA chairman Johannesburg   words “Never, in the field of human conflict, was so
Branch, Flt Lt Ben Hodges RAF, Peter McLean RAFA chairman
Johannesburg Branch, Flt Lt Rob Stewart RAF, Maj Gen Hugh Paine
                                                                      much owed to so few”.
representing CAF and Neville Greyling SAAFA Nat Vice President and      Amongst the Commonwealth pilots who flew with the
chairman Pretoria Branch.
                                                                        RAF in this epic air battle were 23 South Africans – the
                                                                most famous being Adolf “Sailor” Malan who was not only a
                                                                fighter “Ace” but also considered to be the leading fighter
                                                                tactician of the RAF.
                                                                All the pilots who flew in the Battle of Britain have had their
                                                                names engraved on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial
                                                                Wall situated on the site of the Capel Le Ferne Memorial to the
                                                                Battle of Britain in South East England. The engraving of the
                                                                South African names was sponsored by SAAFA NEC.

Photographed at the reception are Wg Cdr Clive Mitchell RAF
Attaché to the British High Commission, Andrew Louden RAFA
chairman Pretoria, Maj Gen Hugh Paine representing CAF, Peter
McLean RAFA chairman Johannesburg, Neville Greyling Nat Vice
President SAAFA and chairman Pretoria Branch and Ken Snowball
National President SAAFA.
On Sunday 12 September 2010, 70 Anniversary
Commemoration Services were held where ever the RAF
or the RAF Association is active.
The Johannesburg and Pretoria branches of RAFA joined
forces this year and held their Service at St Magaret’s
                                                        A colourful scene inside the Church with RAF Ensign and Branch Standards
Anglican Church in Bedfordview, Johannesburg followed
                                                        on display.                     Photo taken by Carol van Rensburg
by a reception at the Light Horse Regiment’s HQ in
The Cape Town branch presented their Spring Concert on Saturday, 4 September 2010, in the Cape Town City Hall.
The programme was varied and included performances by the SA Navy Band, the Cape Town Highland Pipe Band, the
Cape Male Voice Choir and soloists Beverley Chiat, an international Soprono, and Matthew Overmeyer, a well known
South African Tenor.
MC was popular radio personality Leslie Mckenzie and the evening was hosted by Regional Vice-President Daan
Badenhorst, in the absence of branch chairman Chris van der Post who was ill.
The evening was a great success and performances were of the highest order with an entertaining and distinctive South
African flavour. Who would have expected the pipes and drums of Scotland playing well known African tunes? The
                                                            Page 11 of 16
 foot-tapping of Pipe Major Charles Canning as he set the tempo for the different African tunes drew lots of applause
 from the audience. No wonder the pipes and drums of the Cape Town Highlanders have become an integral part of the
 fabric of Cape Town.
                                                                             The Cape Town Male Voice Choir, which has been
                                                                             performing for 34 years, had the audience spellbound as
                                                                             their Musical Director, Margaret Barlow, directed the choir
                                                                             through such well known favourites as Let their be Music,
                                                                             Ose Shalom, Joshua and Elijah and the ever popular
                                                                             Amazing Grace.
                                                                             Soloists, Beverley Chiat and Mathew Overmeyer, gave
                                                                             memorable solo performances and combined beautifully
                                                                             when singing duets from the Phantom of the Opera
                                                                             amongst others.
                                                                             The full band of the SA Navy, under the baton of Cdr Kenny
                                                                             Leibbrandt, Director of Music in the Navy, dominated the
                                                                             stage playing a variety of music varying from popular
                                                                             marches to jazz and Zulu tribal dance music with Zulu
Enjoining pre-concert drinks in the Cape Town City Hall are: f.l.t.r. Daan   dancers and members of the audience trying their bit on
Badenhorst, R Adm (JG) Koos Louw, Diana Higgs, R Adm "Rusty" Higgs,
                                                                             stage to the amusement of everybody.
Alderman Ian Neilson Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, Elmarie Neilson and
Ken Snowball.

 As can be expected the concert ended with a mass
 performance of all artists performing such favourites as
 Amigos para siempre, You raise me up, Battle Hymn of the
 Republic and Scotland the Brave.
 Congratulations to the Cape Town branch and all those who
 made the evening such a great and entertaining success.
 Special mention must be made of the tremendous effort
 made by John Heath, Chairman of the Fund Raising
 Committee and his committee, upon whose shoulders this
 tremendous effort fell – well done one and all!

 The Annual Alpine 44 Memorial Service was held at the
 SAAF Memorial on Bays Hill on Sunday 10 Oct 2010.
 The Service commemorates those members of 31 and
 34 Squadrons SAAF who lost their lives 66 years ago
 whilst dropping supplies to Italian partisans in North-
 West Italy on the night of 12/13 October, 1944.
 16 B-24 Liberator heavy bombers of 31 Squadron and 4
 of 34 Squadron took off on what should have been a
 routine mission, however, the weather in the
 mountainous target areas unexpectedly deteriorated
 with heavy cloud and rain. Of the 20 Liberators, only 3
 located their drop zones safely, 11 aborted the mission
 and returned to base, 6 were lost – 5 crashed into the
 Alps and 1 was never found and is presumed to have
 crashed into the sea.
                                                                             Some of the dignitaries attending the Alpine 44 Club Memorial Service.
 This was the single largest loss of aircraft and airmen in
 a single day in the history of the SAAF.
 Official wreaths were laid by Colonel R. Danieli, Defence Attaché, on behalf of the Republic of Italy; Lt Gen C. Gagiano,
 CAF, on behalf of the SAAF; Wg Cdr Clive Mitchell, Deputy Defence Adviser British High Commission; Maj K. Currie Air
 Attaché Embassy of the USA; Brig Gen Ken Snowball on behalf of SAAFA; Mr Mike Russell on behalf of RAFA and Bryan
 and David Jones of the Alpine 44 Club on behalf of 31 and 34 Squadrons.

                                                                    Page 12 of 16
Numerous other wreaths were laid on behalf of the Zonderwater Block; the Association Nazionale Alpini; Corale Valli
Alpine; the Associazione Nazionale Carabinieri; the Warsaw Flights Committee; the Polish Air Force Association and
Polish Combatants Association of South Africa, the Warsaw Underground Army and family and friends.

Heroes Remembered (From Cross of Honour by Ian Uys)
Lieutenant Chris Milbank flew an Alouette helicopter on 12 February 1976, ferrying troops to a
long ridge where an enemy force had been pinned down and surrounded. During the fight that
afternoon two men were wounded and a 'casevac' was requested.
When he arrived at the scene Lt Milbank came under heavy fire from the terrorists, who were
only ten metres from his forces. Despite the vulnerability of the helicopter and the
aggressiveness of the terrorists, especially against helicopters, Milbank immediately engaged the
enemy and so enabled the ground forces to regroup. He continued to engage them until he
was forced to return to base, where his helicopter became unserviceable.
Milbank returned after dark with another helicopter. There was no moon, which would make landing a helicopter very
difficult and dangerous. He set his course up a valley, along a river, then over a ploughed field on the left. Before
leaving he radioed the army commander on site, then he put on his flak vest.
Milbank flew extremely low to avoid enemy fire, taking care to keep his rotor blades above trees and bushes. An army
phosphorus grenade was exploded in the field to guide him in. In a few minutes the two casualties were loaded and
Milbank took off. He was an excellent target for snipers, but fortunately tracers were aimed at another Alouette flying
He was awarded the Honoris Crux for what he considered merely his job. In 1990 he served in a helicopter squadron in

The Kopp-Etchells Effect submitted by Sydney Fryer
When helicopters pass through dust storms, contact of the particles with the rotating blades produces either sparks or
static electricity. This phenomenon has been observed during combat operations in areas such as Afghanistan, where
Michael Yon has documented the effect. He named it after two UK soldiers who died there, Kopp and Etchells.
                                                When operating in
                                                sandy     environments,
                                                sand hitting the moving
                                                rotor blades erodes
                                                their surface. This can
                                                damage the rotors. This
                                                erosion also presents
                                                serious and       costly
                                                maintenance problems.
                                                  To prevent erosion,
titanium abrasion strips are installed on helicopter rotor blades. Titanium is very hard, but less hard than sand. When a
helicopter is flown near the ground in desert environments, abrasion occurs, and at night there is a visible corona or
halo around the rotor blades, caused by the sand hitting the titanium and causing it to spark and oxidize.
This effect can be clearly seen in the accompanying photographs.

                                              Aviation Rules and Reminders
   Every one already knows the definition of a 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. But very few
    know the definition of a 'great landing.' It's one after which you can use the airplane another time.
   The probability of survival is equal to the angle of arrival.
   A helicopter is a collection of rotating parts going round and round and reciprocating parts going up and down --
    all of them trying to become random in motion. Helicopters can't really fly -- they're just so ugly that the earth
    immediately repels them.
   Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

                                                     Page 13 of 16
Our Readers Say
                         LETTER OF APPRECIATION
                        Recently I was grounded by my heart which
                                                                                         CLASSIFIED ADS
                        decided of its own accord to feather itself. This     (somehow they don't always say what
                        came as something of a surprise to me                            they mean!)
                        considering that I am so young and lived such a      FOR SALE
                        clean, wholesome life. It seems in retrospect        Antique desk, suitable for lady with thick
that it was mostly genetic, and I will have to speak to my Dad about this    legs and large drawers.
one day when we meet again!
What was not surprising, but remarkable nonetheless and extremely            Unmarried girls to pick fruit and produce
moving, was the tremendous concern and care shown by my SAAFA                at night.
colleagues, who as we all know are, like me, practitioners of good, clean
living where overindulgence seldom if ever occurs!
                                                                             Man to take care of cow that does not
I received on my discharge from hospital a very large pile of papers, very   smoke or drink.
kindly assembled and delivered by Sydney Fryer, containing e-mails from
                                                                             DOG FOR SALE
all of you. I also had on my cell over 100 sms messages expressing good
                                                                             Eats anything and is fond of children.
wishes. Some of you also were generous enough to send me emergency
food and wine parcels, which were stashed and used to supplement my          LOST
very meagre rations! I am profoundly grateful to you all, and must           Small apricot poodle. Reward.
express again the sentiment that I have voiced in the past that there        Neutered. Like one of the family.
exists nowhere else amongst all of humankind a finer, more
                                                                             DINNER SPECIAL
compassionate and caring group of people than my SAAFA Colleagues.
                                                                             Turkey $2.35:Chicken or Beef $2.25:
Happily I am now well on the road to full recovery, and am permitted to      Children $2.00
consume health drinks such as Windhoek Light, red wine, and any and all
                                                                             FOR SALE
                                                                             Four poster bed. 101 yrs old. Ideal for
My very sincere thanks again to you all, what a tremendous privilege it is   antique lover
for me to count myself amongst your number!
                                                                             EAR PIERCING
Kindest SAAFA regards,                                                       Now is your chance to have your ears
                                                                             pierced and get an extra pair to take
Philip Weyers
                                                                             home too
                                  This photo shows Martin Mocke and         We do not tear your clothing with
                                  Bill Ashton next to "B-Bliksem", a        machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
                                  Marauder bomber of 21 Squadron
                                                                            ILLITERATE ?
                                  (SAAF) in Italy, 1945. Bill Ashton is the
                                                                            Write today for free help.
                                  cartoonist who drew the cartoon on
                                  the plane. He is currently a Moth with Mpumalanga Shellhole in White River.
                                  We are keen to find Martin Mocke or his family, so as to arrange a re-union with Bill
                                  if at all possible. If you could help us by sending this message on, we would be
                                  greatly appreciative. Secondly- Bill seems to think that this specific aeroplane
                                  survived the war and is on display somewhere in South Africa.
                                  Any clues?
                                  Jack Swanepoel – Cell: 082 739 0731 or Email: mone@intekom.co.za

I am looking to find any information regarding a MK IX Spitfire flown by the SAAF around 1945/46 - SN TE 294. It ended
up in a junk yard.
I am looking for any photos of the aircraft in SAAF colours. Also any detailed historical documents that might be
Ken Hazell – Email: vintageaero@shaw.ca

                                                    Page 14 of 16
This is almost a last hope effort. When I was at 1 Squadron when we closed down we were given a lovely video about
the history of the Mirage F1 at 1 Squadron done by S.A.A.F.T.V. As my house was burgled a few years ago I am no
longer in possession of my copy and was wondering if there was any way to obtain a copy on DVD I do know that there
was an extended version and a short version and I am trying to find either although the extended version would be
great. Paying for a piece of my past memories is not a problem I am just desperate to have a copy.
Kind regards
Daryn van Tonder - Cell: 083 291 6485; Tel: 011 463 5550; Fax: 011 463 5551 or Email: darynv@aircraftassessing.co.za
I am researching the above 3 events and am attempting to make contact with next of kin, colleagues, friends etc of
those involved in these operations.
I would like them to contact me for information, diaries, photographs, Battle of Britain, Normandy 6 June 1944 and
Operation Market Garden Postcards, log books, stories etc.
I have attached the names of personnel in each operation that I have obtained to date.
Gary Jones - Tel: 041 363 0752; Fax: 041 363 0753; Email: info@kingsburyfs.co.za or Mobile: 082 301 9127
For the past six months, I have worked practically full-time on a book about South African pilots of the World Wars. My
research eventually led me to the Old No.1 Military Cemetery which is located east of Valhalla, next to the big rubbish
dump. The first thing I noticed was that the entrance on Stephanus
Schoeman Drive and the access road are in shocking condition. The
walls at the gate are broken down, the gate itself is missing, and
rubbish has been dumped all along the road.
The cemetery is divided into two parts. The front section is a well-
maintained Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery with a
concrete fence and a locked, sturdy gate enclosing a neat gravel
surface. It contains several dozen World War 1 graves, and smaller
numbers of World War 2 graves and post-Boer War British graves.
Among the WW2 graves is a group from the Lodestar crash at Kisumu,
Kenya in December 1942 that killed twelve occupants including
General Dan Pienaar. The British graves are from garrisons that stayed
behind in SA after the Boer War ended in 1902.
The back section was a bit of a shock. Before I even found what I was looking for, I noticed the extremely neglected and
vandalised condition of the cemetery. It being July, the environment was brown and drab looking, which did not help,
but I observed the following damage:
         Most tall headstones were pushed over
         All metal posts and chains were missing
         The grass was hip-high, and I am two metres tall! (I must add though, that a crew of five men were busy
          mowing the cemetery area with weed-eaters.)
         Many headstones were broken and smashed - obvious vandalism.
         The cemetery was unfenced. Whether it had always been that way or the fence was removed by scrap iron
          thieves, I don't know.
This cemetery is of great historical significance for the SAAF. It contains, among others:
         The graves of three of the SAAF's first ten pilots: the Daniel brothers, Hector and John, and George Lawson.
          Brigadier Hector Daniel was Chief of the SAAF from September 1936 to September 1939. (All vandalised)
         The graves of victims of the first three fatal crashes the SAAF suffered - Lt.ES Stuart, the army officer who died
          in the first accident with Lt Laurence Van der Bijl (buried in a family plot in Lyttleton); Lt George Lawson, who
          died in the second accident at Robert's Heights; and the observer from the third accident at Dealsville near
          Bloemfontein, Corporal Edward te Brugge. The pilot in that crash, Lt Arthur Blake, is buried in a family plot in
          Boksburg. (Most vandalised)
         The grave of Captain Warren Carey-Thomas, the SAAF Adjudant who was fatally wounded while acting as
          observer during the SAAF's first operational deployment, the Rand Mine Revolt in 1922. (Vandalised)
         The graves of at least four other officers and NCO's who died during the Revolt, including the SAAF's second
                                                      Page 15 of 16
         casualty, Corporal William Johns. (Some vandalised)
        The grave of Major Rolf Gerneke, the CO of 2 Squadron in Korea in 1952 - 53 when the unit switched from
         Mustangs to Sabres. (Vandalised)
        The graves of several SAAF pilots killed in air crashes. (Some vandalised)
        Ironically, the grave of Captain JG Marais, the Secretary of the South African agency of the Imperial War Graves
         Commission before WW2.
        Numerous UDF family member graves. (Some vandalised)
        Several WW2 graves, including that of Pupil Pilot JHS Solomon.
        Numerous British graves from the post-Boer War era. (Some vandalised)
As an avid amateur historian and almost-archaeologist turned airline pilot, my first visit to the cemetery in July was very
disappointing. Appreciating the historical significance of the cemetery, I took some photos, showed them around and
started talking to various parties with potential interest in maintaining the site. Having spent much time in England,
Europe and America, I am of the opinion that South Africa has very little regard for its history. The current politicians
and military leaders are also antagonistic towards pre-1994 history and engage in a policy of deliberate neglect, even
denial that negatively influences preservation.
I gave a CD with photos to Captain Leon Steyn of the SAAF museum and bent the ear of Mr Terry Cawood of the South
African War Graves Project, whom I also gave over 700 photos of SA war graves in Tanzania that I took earlier this year.
He advised me to approach the SA Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in Centurion. The Secretary
is Mr. Charles Ross, a former SA Navy Captain, who is doing excellent work expanding the CWGC's maintenance and
oversight of cemeteries all over SA. When I mentioned the Old no.1 Cemetery, he informed me that they had literally
started working on it the day before. The scope of work includes fencing the cemetery with concrete beams like the
front section, restoring graves and maintaining the landscape.
Because the neglected rear section of the cemetery includes WW2 and post-Boer war British graves, Mr Ross is now
able to maintain it under the auspices of the CWGC. However, he is technically only obligated, and allowed, to maintain
those graves that fall under the CWGC's mandate. Except for the grave of Pupil Pilot Solomon mentioned above, who
died in 1940, none of the other SAAF graves actually do. Mr Ross is willing to assist as much as possible in restoring and
maintaining the entire cemetery, and this is where the SAAF museum and SAAF Association can be instrumental in
                                                         helping preserve an important part of SAAF history.
                                                           I am happy to report that a visit to the cemetery on 6 October
                                                           revealed that work is well under way:
                                                                  The concrete fence has been extended almost all the
                                                                   way to the northwest corner, and post holes have
                                                                   been dug around the entire perimeter.
                                                                  The grass was cut and burned, and is now turning
                                                                   green with the approach of summer.
                                                                  Several graves have been restored, and CWGC
                                                                   headstones installed.
                                                           However, much remains to be done, especially regarding the
                                                           restoration of the SAAF graves. Most of them seem to only
                                                           need having the headstones lifted up and remounted, and
some landscaping work. Mr Ross told me that he would appreciate help from the SAAF Museum and SAAF Association
in accomplishing this. Therefore, I respectfully urge the SAAF Association to partner with Mr. Ross and the CWGC in the
restoration and maintenance of the Old No. 1 Military Cemetery.
Thank you.
Yuri Maree
             Any donations towards this worthy case? Please contact the National office if you can assist in any way. Ed

                                               PUNS FOR THE EDUCATED
King Ozymandias of Assyria was running low on cash after years of war with Hittites. His last great possession was
the Star of the Euphrates, the most valuable diamond in the ancient world. Desperate, he went to Croesus, the
pawnbroker, to ask for a loan.
Croesus said, "I'll give you 100,000 dinars for it".
"But I paid a million dinars for it," the King protested."Don't you know who I am? I am the king!"
Croesus replied, "When you wish to pawn a Star, makes no difference who you are."

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