The South African Air Force (SAAF), formed on 1 February 1920, is the second oldest air force in the Commonwealth. The air arm played a major role in securing victory for the Allies during the Second World War, in the 1948/49 Berlin Airlift, and in Korea in the 1950s.
The South African Air Force (SAAF), formed on 1 February 1920, is the second oldest air force in the Commonwealth. The air arm played a major role in securing victory for the Allies during the Second World War, in the 1948/49 Berlin Airlift, and in Korea in the 1950s. The SAAF assisted Rhodesia in the 1960s and ’70s, made a major contribution to the ‘Border’ or ‘Bush’ war in South West Africa and Angola, participated in the transition to a new democracy in South Africa and continuously supports South African peace missions in Africa. It has also assisted in countless relief and rescue missions in southern Africa throughout this entire period.
However, the SAAF is not just about aircraft and ordnance; it is made up of people and it is in this compilation that these people, airmen and ground crew alike, find their voice. These are their stories, all told in the first person by the actual participants as unvarnished, unabbreviated and intensely immediate and personal recollections. Through their stories of heroism, duty, adventure and tragedy, the reader will follow the history of the SAAF from 1939 to the present day. To complement the stories, the final chapter includes a collection of squadron pub songs from the Second World War, Korea and the Border War.
An accountant by profession, Dean Wingrin has had an interest in aviation since childhood, collecting articles and taking photos at airports and air shows whenever he could. His photographs and articles are regularly published in local and international journals and aviation magazines. He also acts as a consultant to various print, radio, TV and internet journalists and investigative programmes. He served his national service in the South African Air Force and was Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Cape Town branch of the Friends of the SAAF Museum for almost 20 years.
He is founder and webmaster of the popular unofficial SAAF website (www.saairforce.co.za), a site he set up in 1996 as a result of his interest in the SAAF. The website provides a detailed background on the SAAF and its current activities and is viewed as the premier website on the air force. Dean is also a director of the South African Aviation Foundation Museum Ltd, a non-profit company formed to preserve the SAAF’s aviation heritage through, inter alia, physical and financial assistance to the SAAF Museum at Air Force Base Ysterplaat in Cape Town.