Category Archives: News

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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?

Rooivalk stars at Air Capability Demo

The recently upgraded and redelivered Rooivalk attack helicopter participated in the simulated operational exercise during the Air Capability Demonstration held by the SAAF at the Roodewal weapons range today.

The Air Capability Demonstration (ACD) is normally held twice a year in which the SAAF is able to demonstrate its operational capabilities, including co-operation with the others arms of the SANDF. It is also the only time invited dignitaries and guests are able to witness live weapon firing at close range.

Differing from previous years, the ACD did not concentrate on humanitarian missions, but rather on what Chief of the Airforce, Lt. Gen. Carlo Gagiano, described as “speed and dust!”

Proceedings commenced with introductory speeches and background information, followed by 70 minutes of incredible noise caused by the live firing of rockets, mortars, cannon, machine gun fire and the dropping of bombs, all with the continuous clatter of rotor blades overhead.

Read the full article at here.

Gallery with 40 photos can eb viewed here.

Dean Wingrin
Webmaster: The Unofficial South African Air Force Website

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Major General Msimang and the Youth Development Program

(All images by Alan Wienburg)

On Saturday 02 April 2011, Major General Msimang, Chief Director: Policy & Planning from the SAAF Air Command visited the SA Air Force Museum Youth Development Program participants.

He has a great enthusiasm for young people and he greeted and introduced himself to each and every youngster present. He gave an inspiring message to them relating to technical careers in the SAAF and said that he would be following each and everyone’s career in the South African Air Force.

He commended the FSAAFM (Friends of the South African Air Force Museum) for initiating the project and he assured the members of the YDP that it has his full support .

He would be back in the future accompanied by senior colleagues to spend a day with them so that they could experience themselves, the impact of the program on young people aspiring to make the SAAF a career of choice.

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SAAF to hold Air Capability Demonstration

SAAF to hold Air Capability Demonstration

The South African Air Force will mark the return of the Rooivalk attack helicopter in style when it hosts an Air Capability Demonstration (ACD) next week. The first of the bi-annual exercises will be held at the Roodewal weapons range on Thursday 12 May 2011.

The Rooivalk has undergone a major revamp by Denel Aviation to bring its structure, systems and avionics up to a single standard acceptable to the airforce. The first five aircraft were handed back to the airforce at the end of March.

Amongst the line-up of participating aircraft are Hawk and Gripen jets, C-130 Hercules, Casa and Cessna C-208 transports as well as Oryx and Augusta A109 helicopters. The demonstration is meant to illustrate the employment of air power by means of academic profiles.

Various simulated exercises which includes a South African Army element comprise scenarios ranging from mortar attacks, light artillery drops, air supplies, counter attacks by jet fighters, photo reconnaissance to fire fighting. A Department of Defence media release states that “this serves as a splendid opportunity for the Air Force to demonstrate its strength and ability to secure the South African air space and the citizens of the country.”

It is also the only time invited dignitaries and guests are able to witness live weapon firing at close range. The Unofficial SAAF Website will be in attendance and will, of course, be reporting on the event with photographs.
The Roodewal Weapons Range is situated in the Northern Province, roughly halfway between Polokwane (previously Pietersburg) and AFB Makhado, near the town of Louis Trichardt.

By Dean Wingrin


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Friends Meeting Monday, 9th May 2011

Dear Friends

You are cordially invited to the April meeting of the Cape Town Friends on Monday, 9 May 2011 at 19.00 for 19.30 hrs.

Our quest speaker will be WO1 Chris Pedler, Chief Flight Engineer 35 Squadron. I think you will find his talk more than fascinating. He has agreed to talk about his many experiences regarding the handling of in flight emergencies and some of his bush war experiences.

A special welcome is extended to the Junior Friends, as they will find this talk fascinating.

The usual cold refreshments will be available.

See you all there.

Kind Regards

John Coutts.

PS For those who have still not paid their subs. Please settle with me at the meeting to avoid the R20 re-registration fee.
There will be a Committee meeting at 18.00 hrs.