View Full Version : SAAF - North Africa 1941/2 pictures

14th Mar 2012, 18:08
Perhaps some family members.





14th Mar 2012, 19:03
Thanks very much for the great pictures.Our family now live In Knysna,South Africa and whilst scrolling through the pictures from here I work,in the BVI/USVI,I spotted a pic of Bob Kershaw,who also lived in Knysna and who was a friend of my Dad`s,who was Harold "Wally" Monsen.I have my Dad`s logbooks and flying notes and only one picture of him,somewhere in the Desert,smiling down from the cockpit of one of the aircraft that he flew,a Corsair.I understand that he also flew Hellcats,Hurricanes and Spitfires.I believe that he also later converted to twins and flew across the Med,I assume to Italy.
He died 6 years ago from kidney failure,but continued to fly after the war and was in the SAAF reserves for awhile in Port Elizabeth.Please let me know if you ever come across any pics of him---it would be deeply appreciated.

15th Mar 2012, 01:52
My dad was USAF at the end of Korea. Some of his USAF friends forwarded the pictures to him and I posted them here.

Sorry, but that's the limit of my knowledge or access to any SAAF WWII photos.

Good luck.

15th Mar 2012, 06:28
Wonderful stuff. Interesting camouflage on a Hurricane on entry 1..

15th Mar 2012, 07:34
Just amazing part of history. One of my instructors was also flying during WWII, but in a different part of Africa and at latter he remained in Africa, and had lived entire of his life at a hotel due to a very personal reason as one of the person had saved his life. The pictures are just great.

15th Mar 2012, 15:06
Thanks very much......I forwarded them on to a friend in SA who scrolled through them and spotted his Dad,Bob Kershaw.He tells me that his Dad often mentioned others in the Album.Wonderful days.Seems strange for the SAAF to be flying US Carrier-based/designed aircraft in the Desert in combat,but I guess they ran out of Spitfires and Hurricanes....thanks once again for a glimpse into what the guys and girls lived in and fought from.Imagine living in tents with constant sand and sandstorms,maintaining weapons and aircraft in enough heat to fry an egg on a wing...

Load Toad
15th Mar 2012, 19:16
The Kittyhawk / Warhawk...wasn't carrier based / designed.

Curtiss P-40 Warhawk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtiss_P-40_Warhawk)

If that's what you were on about?

15th Mar 2012, 20:06
Fantastic photos. Any ideas what squadron they refer to though ? Hurricanes and Nth Africa narrow it down to 1 or 7 sqn SAAF maybe. Haven't found any reference to the 'AX' squadron code on the Hurricane.
The mention of Corsair and Hellcats has to be a mistake. There were most certainly no American carrier fighters in Nth Africa and certainly not flown by Sth Africans.

15th Mar 2012, 20:23
Funnily enough the one close-up pic that we do have is of my Dad sitting in the cockpit of a Corsair somewhere up North and I clearly recall him chatting about what beautiful aircraft they were to fly.He also remarked that the Hellcat was not as pleasant "ton of bricks" to fly but was very tough.We had a couple of other pics taken from another aircraft flying alongside,but I cannot remember what colours they were wearing.Don`t want to waste time but I will ask someone back home to find the snaps and send them to me pdf style.I now recall there is another of him standing on the wing about to climb into the cockpit in full flying kit......there was also something about Coffman starters being used where they were flying at the time....will try to follow on in due course.Have no idea where they got hold of what are Carrier based aircraft....

15th Mar 2012, 20:32
I think the Hellcat was the British version of the Grumman Hellcat---F series?Will try to check for anyone interested...

16th Mar 2012, 16:03
Cracking pictures, my father and his Sqdn were also based at Edku, with many of the landscape shots looking similar only from a different position. He told me he was with a lot of SA flyers,
My dad was with 213 Sqdn then, on the 10th of April 1942 he writes in his diary

"its the Sqdn Birthday tomorrow Motto "When Aroused we Sting", then writes in the page for the 11th of April 1942:-
" Hancock and Wallace shot down Jerry", Lofty force landed in Edku, called all the blokes out and we lifted the kite and dragged him out..he was dead, poor lofty, what a great shame!
on nearly every page of his diaries he records the loss or death of some member of his Sqdn, no wonder he took so long to satrt to tell me and my brother what he did, saw and went through, it seems all the old guys I have spoken to who were in that 39/45 conflict were nearly all the same, and could not talk about what they saw and took part in.

Was Edku some sort of Salt lake with wet bits in it?

Edku was also mentioned on the Nat Geographic channel a few weeks ago in relation to that camp being the first base for the very newly formed Special Air Service, with two of the originals telling tales of waiting until flying personel we away from the tents that they then requisitioned for themselves along with various comfort things like beds and chairs. quiet possibly a very large camp to have held so many different services.

Peter R-B

17th Mar 2012, 08:13
The above photos are indeed No. 1 sqn SAAF. Found reference to 'AX' codes confirming this, and there are mentions in the photo captions which I didn't notice before. As to the American aircraft issue, the Corsair didn't come into service with the US until 1943, and the Hellcat until 1942ish, and then all the American carriers were in the Pacific fighting the Japs, non in the Med. Loerie, if you have your dad's logbooks as you say, then they should say exactly what aircraft he was flying, and when, and where.
Edku, or also refered to as Idku was an important allied airbase on the Egyptian coast and many squadrons were based there at some time or another.

17th Mar 2012, 08:25
Peter, I have read up on 213 sqn quite a bit in the past, and have an specific interest in the squadron. Was your father one of the pilots, I have many of them noted, or groundcrew ? And, might he been with the squadron when they were on Cyprus in the summer of 1941, or again in late 1943 ?

17th Mar 2012, 12:20

Good morning to you, on St Patricks day, also the day when all three teams are in action. I hope many will think about one of the greatest No8's in Rugby, Mervin Davies, who passed away yesterday , he was the last captain to be in charge of Wales when they won the "Grand Slam"

My old Dad, by trade was an Electrical engineer, when he joined up as a volunteer, he was processed to be navigator, it seems most of my older rels were all pretty good at reading maps and stars, with one Uncle also a Nav in 617 Sqdn albeit at the end of the WW11, and one who was killed in an aircraft crash, but it seesm from what I have gleaned from Dads Diaries , pictures with comments written on and various letters to my Grandmother(his mum) and his sister(my Aunt) that he was posted to 213 Sqdn, he served in Cyprus,Malta, Crete, Sicily and Sardinia have all been mentioned quite a few time after Egypt, Edku, and Kalbrit then was posted to 148 Sqdn at Kalbrit( thats what it looks like in his Diary) which he write "left Edku at o730hrs with others in a wagon via Cairo to Kalbrit about 250 mils arrived at 1730hrs, But I am unsure of what he did there for he makes comments about struggling for electricl stores and then makes ref to going out and straffing and sinking a gun runners Ketch, but then talks of going out with a pilot called or nicknamed "Wally" at which time they shot down an Itiy(Italian) near to Alex( I presume Alexandria) this kill was not confirmed until several days later.
Not long after 148Sqdn he seems to have been posted as a Flight Serjeant to 272 Sqdn, where he was navigator to a highly decorated Pilot called Robert Bannahn,.. they led a flight of 272 Sqdn Beaufighters to attack and sink the italian Liner "The Rex"

It seems a very disjointed way of making entries into a daily record, but I sit here typing this in my little office without any possibility of sudden death, perhaps my old Dad possibly was busy with other things along with all his pals, but it does seem that nearly daily pilots and crews were missing or confirmed KIA, he writes about these boys as though they were very good friends, I see a sort of depression comming through in some of the wordings that he is using in his entrys at this stage he was 22 years Old.

I will PM you with the names of the pilots who he writes about as being missing, for somewhere there may just be a son or daughter, who may read this and I dont feel it would be right to print such info,

My regards

Peter R-B

17th Mar 2012, 14:10
Peter, a happy St Patricks day to you also. From what I have gathered, your father was groundcrew with 213sqn, but had been trained as a navigator. 213, being a Hurricane squadron, had no need for aerial navigators, so probably exercised his skills in ground maintenace on the Hurricanes. 148sqn at Kabrit, was a Wellington sqn, and from the dairy entry descriptions you mention it seems he was able to exercise his training as a navigator/gunner. As 148 sqn was dispanded in December of 1942, he was moved over to 272 sqn were he was able to continue as a navigator/gunner on the Beaufighters.
So it appears that he may have been with the squadron during their time on Cyprus in 1941. What are the chances he had photos taken on Cyprus during this time ?

18th Mar 2012, 16:17

I have tried to send you a PM, but I cannot see it in my message bank, If you have got it then say so and I will type out again.

But I have read more info on my dad than I have previously seen in all his bits and pieces, so thank you for that info, is that something that I can get on the net, or is it from your personal records and knowledge due to your interest in 213, and is your interest in 213 from any past relative type connection. Do you have a picture of the 213 Crest and Motto.

Many regards

Peter R-B

19th Mar 2012, 05:13
Hi Peter. The message came through thanks and I will reply in detail later in the day.

18th Apr 2012, 17:35
Hi, I made the web site and put these sets of pics on the net.

Loerie, I am most interested to get in contact with Bob Kershaw's son, can you please help me here?

I am still in contact with a vet who flew with Bob in SAAF 1 sqdn.