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Old 04-07-12, 09:02 AM
sabrigade sabrigade is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Johannesburg, based in Juba,South Sudan
Posts: 584
Default The South African Aviation Corps



On the 22nd of April 1914, six officers were granted commissioned appointments as probationary lieutenants and were gazetted in the Active Citizen Force. They had all completed a flying training course at the Alexanderfontein Flying School in Kimberley and then a course at the S. A. Military School in Bloemfontein.

Provision for an “Air Arm” had been made in the New Union Defence Act of 1912. This was after a visit by General Beyers had taken place to Germany where he had attended manoeuvres with the Imperial German Army.

The flying officers were sent to the Royal Flying Corps Central Flying School at Upavon in England for advanced training. At the outbreak of war on 4 August 1914, the pilots requested and received permission to join the Royal Flying Corps. They flew to France with the British Expeditionary Force. At the end of 1914, they were recalled by the Union Defence Force for service in German South West Africa.

As far as I can ascertain, the South African Aviation Corps was formally gazetted as part of the U.D.F. in Government Notice No 130 dated 29 January 1915 and published in the Government Gazette of 5 February 1915.

The ground staff for the GSWA campaign had been recruited in South Africa. Workshops, two steel hangers and an aerodrome had been built at Walvis Bay. The unit was commanded by Major G.P. Wallace and it consisted of 17 officers and 150 men. They were supplied with steel-framed Henri Farman aircraft. Three flying officers had been attached from the Royal Naval Air Service and two BE2C aircraft had accompanied them.

Air operations commenced from 6 May 1915 and the Farmans were initially used for reconnaissance tasks. They were later also used as bombers with fitted racks. They first saw action at Karabib and operations later moved to Omaruru, Kalkveld, Otavi and Otjiwarongo. When the unit had to move northwards, advance working groups were required to prepare landing grounds in the thick bush that was found in the Northern areas of operations.

After the German surrender in GSWA on 9 July 1915, personnel were placed at the disposal of the Royal Flying Corps.

Last edited by sabrigade; 04-07-12 at 09:39 AM.
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