Category Archives: News Updates

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The Search for Puma 164 – A Book Launch


Invite you to a book launchwith authors Neill Jackson and Rick van Malsen in attendance to sign books
Venue: Dickie Fritz Shellhole, Dickie Fritz Avenue, Dowerglen, Edenvale
Date: Saturday, 27th August 2011
Time: 13:30
The Search for Puma 164
Operation Uric and the assault on Mapai
The battle for Mapai – and the final closure
September 6, 1979 a lone Puma helicopter flies northward, leaving behind the desolation of the battle for Mapai, in Mozambique’s Gaza Province. …and so it was, almost 30 years later, that Rick van Malsen returns to the scene of that horrendous battle, to search for the crash site of the downed Puma, in an effort to achieve closure for the relatives of the dead.
Neill Jackson was born in Malta in 1953, where his father was stationed with the Royal Marines and his mother the WRENs. The family moved to Rhodesia in 1956. In 1975 he was commissioned as a second lieutenant with 5 (Independent) Company based in Umtali, before serving three years as a Troop Commander with Support Commando, the Rhodesian Light Infantry. In 1978 he was posted as 2IC to 1 (Independent) Company at Victoria Falls and Beitbridge, and then to 1 Brigade HQ in Bulawayo as Intelligence Officer from December 1979 until his retirement a year later, with the rank of captain.
Rick van Malsen was born in Kenya in 1954, immigrated to Rhodesia in 1960 and joined the Rhodesian Light Infantry in 1974, being commissioned the following year. In 1978, as a Troop Commander in 1 Commando, 1RLI, Rick was awarded the Bronze Cross of Rhodesia for valour during combat. At the cessation of hostilities in 1980 he was appointed Battalion Adjutant and attended a staff course at the Staff College at Camberley in the UK. He set up the Army Diving School at Kariba, at the time the most modern facility of its type in southern Africa, before retiring from service in 1984.

Warrant Officer Mykes James Patric Boyd



13.12.1938 – 10.08.2011


Pat was born in Brakpan South Africa and was educated at Nottingham Road Boarding School in the Midlands of Natal, some 65Km west of Pietermaritsburg.

Joining the South African Air Force in 1955, he underwent Basic Training at the newly created Air Force Gymnasium and qualified as an aircraft fitter at 68 Air School at the end of 1959.

In 1963 Pat married Joan Dawson, a union that lasted for the next 48 years until his passing to higher service. He had two sons, Myles and Steven and a daughter Allison.

By the time Pat retired in 1987, he had 32 years of service and had attained the rank of Warrant Officer II. During this time he had served with various Squadrons and Units, including, 12 Squadron, 7 Squadron and 35 Squadron. Aircraft types worked on included the Harvard, Impala, Canberra and the Shackleton.

He went on to join the SA Air Force Reserve, serving as an aircraft fitter on Shackleton 1722 up until the end of 2010 when ill health prevented him from assisting with the remaining crew on the aircraft.

Pat saw service at the front in the War of 1966 – 1989 with 12 Squadron on Canberra’s. He was awarded the Pro Patria medal, 10, 20 and 30 year Good Service Medals. He was also a keen member of the MOTH Order and was a member of the Tommy Rendle VC Shell Hole in Brooklyn Cape Town.

As a member of the SAAF Museum in his Reserve Force role, Patrick’s contribution to the technical division of the SAAF Museum has to be considered irreplaceable.

Obituary – WO2 Kevin Furness

Kev Furness

1951 – 2011

Kevin was born on 05 November 1951, 11 months after his brother Alan at Shabani in Rhodesia, who both eventually lived in Salisbury. After they left high school Kevin went first of all into the British South Africa Police in Harare and then into the Rhodesian Air Force in the permanent force. During his time in the Rhodesian AF, Kevin worked on Vampires and Dakotas at AFB New Sarum.

At the end of or towards the end of the war he moved from what is now Zimbabwe to South Africa and joined the SAAF at AFB SWKP on Dakotas with 44 Sqn as a Flight Engineer on Dakotas and then transferred to 25 Squadron at AFB Ysterplaat.

During his service with the SAAF from 1981 – 2009, Kevin saw service on the Front in the Bush war and eventually finished his service at 35 Squadron and the SAAF Museum.

He married Teresa in 1986. He had 2 children, Peter and Carol.

Kevin had a keen interest in veteran affairs and was an Old Bill at Tommy Rendle VC Shellhole. He was also very active with the ORAFS.

He was project leader on the Dakota 6832 Restoration Project, sadly he never lived to see her fly again.

Memorial to World War 2 SAAF airmen unveiled in Sofia

David Haggie – Image by Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Article reprinted with kind permission – The Author Clive Leviev-Sawyer

Seven South African Air Force fliers who died in June 1944 after being shot down during a bombing mission, and who are buried in the Commonwealth War Graves section of Sofia Cemetery, now have a plaque commemorating them at the South African embassy.

The plaque was unveiled at a June 22 2011 ceremony presided over by ambassador Sheila Camerer, with a dedication ceremony conducted by Anglican chaplain Reverend Patrick Irwin and, in attendance, David Haggie, a nephew of one of the SAAF men and who paid for the placing of the memorial.

The airmen, in two Liberators, were shot down by the Luftwaffe and the aircraft crashed on Bulgarian soil.

Those who died were Major JA Mouton, Lieutenant HH Bunce, Lt DJS Haggie, Lt D Lindley, Lt RG Southey and Warrant Officers class 2 WS Barrett and DT Flynn.

Speaking at the ceremony – where guests included ambassadors and senior diplomats from Allied embassies and representatives of Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry – David Haggie said that for years it had not been easy to get information about the circumstances that led to the fallen air crew being buried in Sofia Cemetery.

For more on this story, and further information, click this link

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Youth Day, 16th June 2011

The Cadets were treated to a special day on Youth Day, Thursday 16 June 2011 at the SAAF Museum, to honour them for all their achievements and to celebrate the day.

Unfortunately the weather did not play along, but they did manage some outdoor activities when the rain eased, scampering back indoors when the rain started again. There was a bit of cricket, soccer, and volley ball with a fence as a net. Very inventive.

Indoor activities were a movie and a team build, where they were given 15 pipe cleaners and had 30 mins to build something. Items ranged from a quad bike, a rescue boat, the Shackleton lifeboat and one team each made eyewear representing a movie character.

Lunch was a bring and braai and then they were treated to a dvd of YDP photos of the year so far, which they thoroughly enjoyed judging from the jokes and laughter.

The end result of a great day, laughter, fun and bonding.

Lee Stanbury

Youth Development Program Leader

Dave Becker – Author, Photographer and Historian

Our condolences to the family of Dave Becker, Aviation Photographer, Author and Historian who passed away yesterday.

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Youth Development Program

The Young Falcons came to the Museum for an aircraft recognition course with Chris Teale and the Youth Development Program joined them.

The YDP took the Young Falcons of a tour through the Museum as well as a tour to Hanger 4.

It was great for finally met some of the Young Falcons who we have heard so much about.

The ended their visit by showing the YDP how to form up which was quite interesting to see.

Lee Stanbury (Youth Development Leader)

KH158 – Update

On Sunday 15th May a memorial plaque for the 12th October 1944 missing in action crew of Liberator KH158 of 31 Squadron SAAF was unveiled, in a ceremony high in the Ligurian part of the Apennine mountains, ENE of Genoa, Italy. The plaque is in place on an old “round house” wall in the grounds of a 1944 partisan meeting house, Faggio Rotondo. This is in the vicinity the 1944 partisan supply drop zone area code “Morris ” and near a regular mountain hiking trail.

The ceremony was attended by my family for my father ,F/O T R Millar RAAF-the bomb-aimer, also family of the pilot, Maj SS Urry SAAF , British , Australian and South African Embassy officials in Rome and Genoa plus the Italian Ligurian officials ,Member of Parliament, Mayors from the nearby towns and local people. The event was covered by the Genoan press.

All of this was made possible by an Italian friend who suggested the plaque in remembrance of my father, F/O TR Millar RAAF and approached the local Mayor with his suggestion. He and another friend, who was involved in a earlier air force commemoration, put most of this event together, with input from myself.

Liberator KH158 is still missing but I feel that this plaque is a culmination of 10 years of research into my father’s wartime life and disappearance .Now more local Italian people and officials know about the loss of the plane and one day someone just might find out information about it’s whereabouts .

The crew were —
Maj SS Urry -SAAF
F/O G E Hudspith -RAF
F/O T R Millar RAAF [my father]
Lt GA Collard -SAAF
Lt NW Armstrong -SAAF
2/Lt PJ Lordan -SAAF
W/O LB Bloch -SAAF
Sgt RC Fitzgerald -RAF

Anne Storm (Daughter)

32 Squadron Badge found in POW camp in Singapore?

Tigers in the Park

The Adam Park Project (TAPP) is a ground breaking battlefield archaeology project looking into the wartime heritage of the Adam Park housing estate in Singapore. It is headed up by the Singapore Heritage Society and the National University of Singapore and partly sponsored by the National Heritage Board of Singapore. The project founder Jon Cooper, alumni of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at Glasgow University, is now currently managing the project.

A very intriguing query was received from Jon Cooper, in that a badge or brooch resembling the SAAF 32 Squadron Badge had been found.

“I am the Project Manager for The Adam Park Project in Singapore and we have unearthed a brooch, enscribed with the number ’32’ and bearing an uncanny resemblance to the emblem of 32 Sqn SAAF at the site of what was an old WW2 POW camp (see attached image). I have found very little on 32 Sqn’s war time record and was wondering how this badge got to Singapore – can you help? were any 32 sqn men sent to Singapore and ended up as a POW?


Steve Mclean, one of our researchers commented ” I’m certain the badge is from 32 Squadron Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and not 32 SAAF.32 Sqn SAAF only existed from December 1939 to August 1940 and, even allowing for sorties up the west coast into SWA, was very much Cape based. They had very limited personnel, all of whom can be traced to other SAAF units later in the war. Thus, as far as I’m aware, none ended up in a RAF unit that might have seen Far East service.

32 Sqn RAAF was very active in that theatre, flying Hudsons and Bristol Beauforts against the Japanese. Their badge was a frontal image of a parrot (parakeet?) with it’s wings spread. Removing the crown and scroll (rusted away? broken off) and allowing for a bit of rust that may have broken off the badge Jon has, the profile is an excellent match.”

More from Jon Cooper:
“32 Sqn RAAF were fighting in New Guinea, Milne Bay & Coral Sea in 1942 but they weren’t in the Malayan Campaign having been activated on 21st Feb 1942, 6 days after the fall of the Singapore. They were sent to the south of Australia in September 42 to retrain on Beauforts and spent the rest of the war patrolling the East Coast. It is easier to imagine one of their men somehow ending up in Adam Park rather than 32 Sqn SAAF however the badge has no sign of broken bits being missing and is much more like the a diving eagle with a bomb than a parrot on a perch.

My theory is that one of the aircrew from the disbanded 32nd SAAF ended up flying for the RAF / RAAF in Malaya – perhaps swapping his Junkers for a Buffalo !!. The timescale fits for this to happen – my biggest problem is proving this – out of the SAAF airmen in theatre – how many were captured and is it possible to track down their service record?
I’m sure which ever squadron it was the story behind how it got to Adam Park will be as equally as fascinating.
I will pursue this line of enquiry with the RAAF historians but in the meantime please ask around the SAAF vets and historians and maybe something will pitch up on the SAAF guys who were in Malaya and their fate.”

Steve McLean responded:

“Herewith a copy of the 32 Sqn badge (SAAF), the outline of the African continent is missing from the Adam Park badge.
There are a couple of reasons I doubt the SAAF connection:
32 Sqn SAAF existed for a short period of time (Dec 1939 – Aug 1940), and remained a small unit throughout it’s short existance. Only 19 aircraft were ever on strength during this period, some for as short a period as 1 week. At it’s peak, it had three Ju86’s and four Ansons on strength.
Following on from above, it featured a small aircrew compliment during it’s existance, most of which remained from inception to re-designation.
As a result of the limited number of aircrew, all can be traced to SAAF units later in the war. Unfortunately no 32 members survive to this day.
However, as with all matters relying on what was, on occassion, elementary record-keeping by the locals 70 years ago in the desire to hastily swell numbers, there does remain the possibility that an ground crew member’s records slipped through the net.
Allow me some time to revisit 32’s personnel records in an attempt to provide a definitive answer that may, or may not, exclude 32 SAAF.”

Jon Cooper again:
“Thank you Steven
Sounds like you have access to an excellent archive –
One thing we noticed about the badge – it seems to be homemade – roughly cast and lacking great detail. The stencilling of the number is pretty shoddy. We have uncovered other examples of roughly cast pendants and pieces of molten metal – looks like the POWs were possibly making badges to order to pass the time.
Alternatively the badge may have been swapped in Capetown on the way to Singapore as many of the Brits stopped off there on their way to the Far East
Again thank you for your time – much appreciated”

We would be very interested in any other theories or comments?