View Full Version : Was he SAAF or RAF?

Stirling Fan
13th January 2023, 20:53
Hello All, and Best wishes for the New Year.

I am researching A H Cooper, who appears in the London Gazette as the recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross in the January 1944 New Years Honours List. This citation gives his service number as 520162 and indicates that he was a Flight Sergeant in the South African Air Force.

Subsequent entries in the London Gazette show that on 22 March 1951 he transferred between branches[ with no mention of his previous branch] by moving to the Medical Technician Branch, retaining his existing rank of Flt Sgt and his seniority. His service number is again given as 520162. In June’51 he is granted a permanent commission as a Flying Officer, retaining the same service number.

He then progresses through Flt Lt to Sqn Ldr by January 1962. In November 1970 he retired from the RAF.

His service number is never shown with any prefix to indicate South African origin.
He retains the same number despite gaining a commission.
He appears to move seamlessly from the wartime SAAF to the post-war RAF.
520162 would apparently have been issued as an RAF service number to a civilian joining in October 1925, which would have made him about 63 on retirement in 1970.

Any thoughts or useful information on how to confirm/deny his membership of either Air Force, and what his previous branch may have been would be greatly appreciated.

1st February 2023, 14:39
Hello Stirling Fan

No D.S.C. for him in the database on here, but he was Mentioned in Despatches in January 1944:


No D.S.C. on his mention in the LG in 1951, either, when he's under Medical Technician Branch.

If you download the pdf file of the LG in the link above he's in the M.i.D. list which starts at page 286, and he's under 'Flight Sergeants' on page 297, but not part of 'Warrant Officers, 2nd Class, South African Air Force' which is the entry directly above. 'Flight Sergeants, South African Air Force' are listed on page 299.

As I understand it the LG lists the awards by rank and service (those in the RAF first, then those in the Dominions such as RAAF, RCAF, SAAF etc for each rank), starting with the highest rank, then the next rank and service and so on. Flight Sergeants starting on page 297 would the first of the RAF Flight Sergeants, then the Canadian Flight Sergeants, New Zealand Flight Sergeants and South African Flight Sergeants who are on page 299.

I think that's right...