Earlier this year the SA Air Force Association (SAAFA) launched its SAAF 100 book project to “reflect on milestones and highlights in the development of military aviation/air power in South Africa over 100 years through the eyes of the print media”.
Project originator and now co-ordinator, Marthie Visser, chair of the SAAFA Whale Coast branch, reports progress with numerous newspaper and magazine articles submitted to her and the team named by the Association to assist. Marianne Mostert of the SAAFA national office is, along with Visser, a collection point for contributions be they originals, copies of original articles or scanned copies. Bill de Pinho and Craig Stanton carry “research” titles with Philip Weyers the liaison between the Association and the air force while Hugh Paine has the writing and editing responsibilities.
Top of the list for contributions to date are rescue efforts of helicopter crews off the Transkei coast when the Oceanos sunk in 1991 and the blood, sweat and flying expertise other rotorcraft crews brought to the fore during the loss of SA Navy frigate SAS Paul Kruger (F150) in 1982.
She and her team are going to rope in the expertise of the SAAF Museum and other military museums in their search for more tales of airmanship and bravery. Additionally, SAAFA chairman Mike Louw reports “contact was made with Documentary Services (Archives) of the Department of Defence (DoD) to assist and give advice on access to relevant material from various sources”.
The book project team has contacted and been given good advice by a leading South African publisher and are hopeful of gaining access to squadron line books for more hands-on information.
As yet, no publication date has been set but the retired brigadier general is quietly confident she and her team of part-timers will successfully finish the job that started with an appeal to all SAAFA members at the beginning of 2021.