Category Archives: Projects

Buccaneer 416 restoration project

Category : Artefacts , Projects

 With the kind permission of Johan Conradie.


Neels Theron and Paul Claasen, 25 May 1965

Both these photos reflects historical occasions. 1st Photo 25 May 1965, the delivery of the 1st Buccaneer – 413 at the newly formed 24 Sqn at RNAS Lossiemouth, Scotland. Standing with Bucc 413 is Neels Theron and Paul Claasen.


1 March 2014, nearly 49 years later, the two Old Timers, Neels Theron(75) and Paul Claasen(83)


2nd Photo 1 March 2014, nearly 49 years later, the two Old Timers, Neels Theron(75) and Paul Claasen(83) visited the Bucc 416 restoration project at AFB Ysterplaat, once again standing alongside a 24 Sqn Bucc. For both of them this was a wonderful experience to once again stand alongside this wonderful aircraft, kindling some fond memories of the aircraft and especially the Rolls Royce engines they loved so much, sharing some of their experiences with the young generation who are busy restoring 416 to her former glory.

Buccaneer 416 restoration project SAAF Museum

Donation of Aeroshell W120 for the Griffons

Category : Contributors , News , Projects

The South African Air Force Museum and the Crew of 1722 take the opportunity of thanking Mr Freddi Stafford of SOS Oil for the desperately needed generous donation of a drum of Aeroshell W120 oil for our four hungry Rolls Royce Griffon 57A’s.

TAF Skimmerfoil arrives in Port Elizabeth

Tandem Airfoil Flareboat Skimmerfoil

On Wednesday 4th July 2007 an unusual new exhibit arrived on a flatbed at the SAAF Museum in Port Elizabeth.  The Skimmerfoil Jörg IV is an extremely interesting craft which brought a uniquely new dimension to the Museum.

The TAF (Tandem Airfoil Flareboat) Skimmerfoil is referred to as a WIG (wings into ground) craft.  Its inventor is Günther W Jörg, who is still involved in  Airfoil Flareboat Technology (Airfoil) in Germany. In 1979/80 successful test runs with 4-6 seaters were carried out in South Africa.



Spitfire Replica Project


By Rob Tribelhorn – Project Leader

A full size scale model of the WW2 Supermarine Spitfire MK-IV fighter is being constructed in the Bellman Hangar.

Port Elizabeth’s Spitfire Project

In about March 2010 the former curator of the Museum, Lt. Col. Tinus Janse van Rensburg initiated building a full size Supermarine Spitfire and asked me if I thought it was feasible to construct it out of wood.

We had a set of 1/9 scale plans so he arranged with the Nelson Mandela Municipal University to enlarge the fuselage formers to full size. These were printed on paper and laid out on sheets of five ply plywood.

I then cut these out with a jig saw and mounted them on a plastic pole at the correct spacing.

I proceeded from there to follow the 1/9 plans, making the necessary changes required to fit a person seated in the cockpit.

In 2011 Fred Muller joined me and we proceeded to construct the fuselage with whatever timber materials we lay our hands on. This consisted of shutter board, 3 ply plywood and pine planking sawn to the correct widths for the ribs and main spars.

The cockpit was constructed as realistic as possible using spare gauges and made-up parts from the WW2. I had to rebuild some of the gauges and make up others match and position all the gauges as close as possible to the real aircraft.

The fuselage took shape and we progressed to the wing section. This element was problematic as I had to design and manufacture the undercarriage frame with steel tubing obtained from Peter Boshoff the AMO.

Together with Col. John van Rooyen’s assistance, we welded up a frame and fitted undercarriage legs and installed these into the timber wing section. Peter Boshoff then donated two Yak Oleo legs which, with some lathe work were fitted.

Finally, we obtained two Vampire wheels and tyres from Pretoria but these were without tubes. I then purchased two passenger car tubes and made up two valves to fit.

The undercarriage was finally fitted to the wing section and ready to be attached to the fuselage which was being completed in between this work.

50L of Polyurethane liquid for foam was kindly donated by the Chemical Company BASF, enabling us to cast parts to then carve and shape out Spitfire air scoops.

The exhaust outlet stubs donated by E.P. Mufflers, a local exhaust manufacturing company.

The cockpit received its undercarriage control, throttle and pitch control constructed to match the Spitfire as closely as possible. The tail wheel assembly was remodeled as the weight of the aircraft was too great for the initial parts constructed.

The wing ribs have been cut and assembled by Wally Viljoen who recently joined the team with timber donated by Pennypinchers.

Work in progress consists of planning the spars and commencing with construction of the two wing sections.


11 July 2014 Update:

Cpt Kelbrick-Rob Tribelhorn-s

A representative of the RAF Officers Club in Johannesburg paid a visit to the Museum and that organisation made a donation towards the manufacture of the aluminium structure for the main wings.


The four Blade propeller with a diameter of 3,2 m (10′ 9″) was manufactured thanks to kind assistance by Plastics By Graymaur which filled up much needed technical gap for the propellers moulding.


Wayne Williams of Graymaur visited the Museum during a family member birthday party and was so impressed with the project that he offered to make a mould of the propellers using their hi-tech 3D computer CNC Router machine.


Aircraft will be painted in the standard camouflage of Ocean grey/green with a light sea grey underside and have Sailor Malan’s markings when he was a Group Captain. The markings are being researched right now to ensure correctness. Jon Adams is doing some research for me as well as he knows Sailor’s son whom he will bring down with the rollout.




Bofors Ant-Aircraft Gun – PE

The restoration of a WW2 40mm Mk 1 Anti-Aircraft field gun is taking place in the Parachute loft. Permission to visit this work in progress must be obtained and guided by a staff member.
The Bofors gun is an anti-aircraft autocannon designed by the Swedish defense firm Bofors. It was the most popular medium-weight anti-aircraft system during World War II, used by most of the western allies as well as various other forces. They remain in service to this day making it one of the longest-serving artillery pieces of all time.

Airspeed Oxford Restoration

By Paul Stringer


When Airspeed Oxford G-AITF (ED290) arrived at the SAAF Museum in Port Elizabeth, it was hoped that with assistance from the SAAF and interested local commercial sponsors, the aircraft might be put back into the air – or at the very least into a taxi-able condition.

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The engines were completely overhauled and had run on a test rig for 1,5 hours by the early 1990’s. Progress was then hampered over following years due to the Museum moving into a Second World War Gunnery Training Hall that needed a lot of renovation work, and priority being given to other static exhibits, a Vampire FB 5 being one of them.

The fuselage and centre section had been stripped in 1995, but it was only from 2000 that suspect structure, cockpit controls, instruments, hydraulics and pneumatics were completely renovated into operational order. A rudder was fabricated by Friend of the Museum Rob Tribelhorn to replace the one that was missing when the aircraft was received from the RAF Museum. Rob also did a lot of work on the wings, replacing damaged skin and recovering them.

However, no attention was paid to the wing internal structure or mechanics at this time due to lack of adequate funding, and therefore, even the prospect of taxiing faded. Recently, another Friend of the Museum, Paul Stringer, has taken over the project, concentrating at this stage on progressively cleaning/repainting the remaining parts and re-attaching them with the airframe, to complete the Oxford to good static display condition as soon as possible.

Currently coated in the overall yellow of a training aircraft for the Joint Air Training Scheme, it is planned to add a gun turret, and finally spray it in the camouflage/ yellow colours of an aircraft from 42 Air School, a navigation, bombing and gunnery training school that trained both RAF and SAAF aircrew from Port Elizabeth during World War Two.


The Fallen

Image by Anton Crone

In the last Great War, South Africa committed 120,000 soldiers to the battlefields of North Africa & Europe.

11,900 soldiers did not return.

The Fallen is a 60-second war film by South African director Bauke Brouwer. Set during the Second World War, the production has been chosen as a finalist for Filminute’s sixth International One-Minute Film Festival.

The Capetonian is amongst 25 nominees vying for two awards including Best Filminute, where the winner is selected by a jury, and the People’s Choice award, which goes to the film voted by the public as the best.

The winners will be announced on 30 September.

You can view this film here


See another article on this production here.

In the last Great War, South Africa committed 120,000 soldiers to the battlefields of North Africa & Europe.

[album: Fallen/]

40mm Bofor Anti Aircraft Gun

This 40mm Bofors Anti-aircraft gun began life in 1942 and saw action in the Western Desert during World War 2.

The intervening years were not kind to her and she had deteriorated due to harsh weather conditions and lack of attention.

A decision was taken to restore the gun by the Friends of the S.A.A.F. Museum and a dedicated work  party of volunteers committed themselves to the task.  A cost analysis was compiled for the necessary sundries and restoration commenced in early 2002. Each Saturday the team met and “the gun” as she became known, was stripped of all removable components.  Every part was meticulously cleaned, removing multiple layers of dirt, paint and rust, right down to bare metal.

Numerous components were missing and had to be scrounged from various sources or in some instances, hand-made.

Much research was done including contact with numerous military museums to establish the correct colour scheme.

Every part of “the gun” was treated with a rust inhibitor, painted with an undercoat and finally sprayed the correct colour finish.

In early 2004 a visit was made by the team to the Naval Dockyard in Simonstown to enlist the assistance of the Naval Gunnery Command in the skills of re-assembling a 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun.  Much was learned and the team of volunteers began the assembly process in April.

By August 2004 the task was complete and two and a half years of dedicated work had finally paid off.

The 40mm Bofors Anti-Aircraft Gun Project is the culmination of hard work, dedication and commitment by the Friends of the S.A.A.F Museum to preserve our heritage for future generations.

The next project tackled by the ‘Gun Smiths’ was a Sperry Searchlight, which makes a superb companion piece to the Bofor Gun.

Reconnaissance Car (Marmon Herrington)

Reconnaissance Car (Marmon Herrington)

Restored by Eric Tyler

The South African Reconnaissance Car, also known as the Marmon-Herrington Armoured Car, was produced in South Africa during the Second World War.

Initiated in 1938 by the South African Government, the first version was based on a Ford 3 ton chassis, imported from Canada, and fitted with a four wheel drive conversion kit from the American company Marmon-Herrington. The armour was produced by the South African Iron and Steel Industrial Corporation. Final Assembly was carried out by the Dorman Long Company.

The MkI, of which model 135 units were built, entered service in 1940. This was a 2 wheel drive model, armed with two Vickers guns. This saw brief action against the Italians in the Western Desert, but was rapidly consigned to training duties.

The MkII and MkIII were 4×4 models, and were used extensively during the North African campaign, mainly in a reconnaissance role. The normal armament was a co-axial Bren Gun, and one or two Anti-Aircraft machine guns, and a Boyes Anti-Tank rifle mounted in the turret.

Many armament modifications were carried out in the field, and among the variations was the installation of the 20mm and 47mm Breda, the German 37mm Pak, the French 25mm, the 20mm Oerlikon cannon and the British 2 pounder Anti-Tank gun.

A MKIV in Bloemfontein.

In 1943 a completely redesigned MkIV entered the fray. This had a 2 pounder gun as standard armament, with a .30 Browning machine gun mounted next to the 2 pounder. Another .30 Browning was normally fitted to turret as an Anti-Aircraft weapon.

A number of other models were built. In 1943 a MkIVF was introduced due to the difficulty of obtaining the Marmon-Herrington conversion kit. This unit was based on the Canadian F60L four wheel drive 3 ton truck chassis. Interestingly, the vehicle was still referred to as the Marmon-Herrington.

In 1942 the Mk V, an 8 wheel prototype based on a German design, was built. This single unit was followed by the MkVI, of which two units were built. MK VII and MKVIII were similar, but had different armament.

The units were used by many armed forces, and saw service in the Greek Army until the 1990’s.


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