This year sees the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain during the Second World War. The South African Air Force Museum recently participated and provided a Bosbok aircraft in the flypast that preceded the commemoration service that was held in Johannesburg on Sunday the 12th of September 2010.
Although no South African Air Force units participated, a total of twenty-three South Africans served in the Royal Air Force and participated in the Battle of Britain during the Second World War. The complete list is, Flying Officer Nathaniel John Merriman BARRY, Pilot Officer Percival Ross-Frames BURTON, Flight Lieutenant George Frederick CHATER, Pilot Officer Colin Anthony Gordon CLARK, Flying Officer Ivor Benison DIFFORD, Pilot Officer George James DRAKE, Flying Officer Claude Waller GOLDSMITH, Pilot Officer Leslie William GRAHAM, Pilot Officer Richard HAVILAND, Flying Officer Ian Bruce David HAY, Flight Lieutenant Geoffry David Leybourne HAYSOM, Flying Officer Michael Rowland HILL, Flying Officer Petrus Hendrik HUGO (DFC), Squadron Leader Ceasar Barrand HULL (DFC), Pilot Officer Albert Gerald LEWIS (DFC), Flight Lieutenant Adolph Gysbert MALAN (DFC & Bar), Pilot Officer Edward James MORRIS, Pilot Officer Johannes Roelof Stephanus OELOFSE, Pilot Officer Frederick Hyam POSENER, Flying Officer Basil Gerald STAPLETON, Flying Officer Brian van MENTZ (DFC), Sergeant Thomas Young WALLACE (DFM), Pilot Officer Arthur Basil WATKINSON
Of these twenty-three, historically the most notable have been:
- G.D.L. HAYSOM, which was released after the war as a RAF Group Captain.
- P.H. HUGO, who retired from the RAF in 1950 as Group Captain and was credited with a total of 22 aerial victories during the war.
- A.G. LEWIS, who shot down five ME109’s in one day during the Battle of France and seven in one day during the Battle of Britain. He was released after the war as Squadron Leader and credited with a total of 18 aerial victories during the war.
- A.G. MALAN, released after the war as Group Captain and credited with a total of 35 aerial victories during the war.
- E.J. MORRIS, who retired from the RAF in 1968 as an Air Commodore.
Read more about Battle of Britain by Christopher Szabo
Researched & written by Captain Leon Steyn,
Research Officer, SAAF Museum.