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Thread: SAAF Unit Identity Sought

  1. #1
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    Default SAAF Unit Identity Sought

    An RCAF press release dated 9 September 1944 stated, in part, "More than a dozen Canadians fly with a South African Air Force bomber squadron in daily attacks on the German retreat paths [in Yugoslavia]. Among these are WO George Blake of Manchester Avenue, Toronto, P/O Guy Pelletiier, Moncton, New Brunswick, WO Norm Britton, Saint John, New Brunswick, F/L Gordon Cook, Lethbridge, Alberta, F/O Bill Wickens, Revelstock, British Columbia and F/O Bert Knapp, Sackville, New Brunswick."

    The SAAF history "Eagles Victorious" mentions a F/L Wickens (who might or might not be the man above) as operating with No.16 Squadron SAAF, but as a Beaufighter unit it hardly meets the description of a "bomber squadron". Is anyone aware of a SAAF squadron in the Italian/Adriatic theatre that had an unsually high concentration of RCAF aircrew ?

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    Could it be 25 Squadron, SAAF, Balkan Air Force (Ventura/Marauder)?

    Regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Hi Hugh,

    You may want to try to track down Stefaan Brouwer, who seems to be your equivalent on matters SAAF.

    He's been active recently over here:

    http://forum.12oclockhigh.net/showthread.php?t=26623

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    Default Saaf b-24

    Both 31 and 34 Squadrons of the SAAF flew operations in the area with the Liberator B.VI.
    Equally, they were not all South Africans. W/O Bill Bailey, British, who flew a full tour with 31 Sqn as a rear gunner, appeared recently at an Aces High event at Wendover.

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    Peter
    Yes ,31 & 34 SAAF based at Celone, Foggia, Italy did fly Liberators B-24 supply drops to Yugoslavia and bombing missions to eg Ploesti oil fields .

    31 & 34 SAAF had South African, British & Australian crews . Many RAF & a few RAAF were seconded in September after the Warsaw airlift losses in August 1944 , although my RAAF father [F/O T R Millar] was seconded to 31 in late July '44 [from 104 RAF ] as the Leading Bombaimer .He took part in the Warsaw airlifts in August .Some 31 & 34 SAAF - RAF and a few RAAF flew to Warsaw in September '44.

    They also flew supply drop missions to partisans in Yugoslavia and Italy .

    48 - 31 & 34 SAAF men were killed on a supply mission to Italian partisans on 12th Oct 1944 - RAF , SAAF and 3 RAAF .

    I have no knowledge of Canadian [RCAF] airmen in 31 SAAF in mid -late 1944 . Others may know ? Canadians were in 178 & 148 RAF in Italy

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 13th August 2011 at 16:41.

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    Default 25th SAAF

    Hello,
    I am WO (Later FO) George H Blake's grandson. He and WO (later FO) Norm Britton served as airgunners on the same plane with the 608 RAF in their first tour, and with the 25th SAAF in their second tour. I have my grandfather's log book, diary, and other documents if anyone is so interested in detailed information on their operations. According to his stories, the men he served with were predominantly Canadian , Newzealanders, and Australian.

    George

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    I am Harold Knapp, son of F/O Bert Knapp mentioned in the SAAF identity message. I would appreciate any information about my father.Thanks

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    I have information about 31 & 34 SAAF but not 25 SAAF .
    A book by Steven Mc Lean "Squadrons of the South African Airforce and their aircraft 1920-2005 " has a chapter on 25 SAAF ,their planes and bases but not personnel .
    ISBN 0-9584929-4-8

    Anne
    Last edited by aestorm; 30th December 2013 at 09:39.

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    I found a copy of the actual article from the Toronto Star in Sept. 44. The original release was from the HQ Balkan Air Force. As, to my knowledge, the 25th SAAF was the only SAAF bomber squadron in the BAF, and the article specifically states "More than a dozen Canadians fly with a South African Air Force bomber squadron", then I would assume that all of these members were with the 25th SAAF.

    When I get a chance, I will scan the articles and post them.

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    It is believed that a F/O James Hornoi RCAF pilot J/28640, KIA with 178 Sqd RAF on 8 Jan 1945, buried Belgrade War Cemetery had a brief(?) spell with 31 SAAF in late 1944

    There may have been 2 or 3 more RCAF who served with either 31 or 34 SAAF but unable to verify at present

    PZULBA - Out of Africa (Retired)

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