South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 524
January 2020

Contact: Charles Whiteing
Telephone: 031 764 7270
Mobile: 082 555 4689


The Chairman, Charles Whiteing welcomed all present to the December meeting, the last for 2019. He then introduced the speaker for the only talk of the meeting as after the talk there was to be a cocktail party to celebrate year end.

The speaker was our traditional December presenter, Colonel (Ret) Steve Bekker with more of his hilarious recollections of life in the SAAF! The title of his presentation was, HELICOPTER PILOTS, A SUB SPECIES OF THE HOMO SAPIENS GROUP?

The scope of his talk dealt with such subjects as;

1 Floppie and the finger where a helicopter pilot who shall remain nameless, whilst having partaken of too many brews around a camp fire in the bush, challenges his colleague to shoot a hole in the can he is holding with his issue 9mm pistol. After the shot had gone off and the can had gone spinning from his hand he realised that he only had four fingers on his right hand!!!!!

2 Carl and the bicycle. Carl had spent the evening in the mess at Ondangwa and suddenly decided that he needed his bed and left on his bicycle for his tent in the rows. A short time later someone came into the mess and remarked that there was someone lying in the road under a bicycle! Upon investigation it was found that Carl had fallen off onto the road and feeling the chill of the night air had pulled the bicycle over himself imagining he was in his bed and the bike was his blanket.

3 Basil rolling his car

4 How to mow the roof. There was always a love/hate relationship between the jet jockey’s(fighter pilots) and the chopper pilots and on this particular night the rivalry spilled over and an unnamed chopper pilot, suitably inebriated, found a motorised lawn mower outside the mess and proceeded to drag it onto the tin roof of the vlammies sleeping quarters and begin to mow the corrugated iron roof to the accompaniement of many sparks and very loud noise to the consternation of the fighter pilots in the building!

5 Pegleg

6 The Pillow and the thunderflash.

On a more serious note Steve pointed out that 37 Honoris Crux medals were awarded to members of the SAAF.

24 of them went to the Chopper fraternity (65%).

5 to the Fighter fraternity.

1 to LAC and

7 to other musterings.

Only 6 Honoris Crux Gold were awarded to SAAF members of which one Alouette pilot, Major Arthur Walker was awarded this prestigious medal twice.

Steve wrapped up his presentation with the amusing story of how the Captain of the Oceanis directed rescue operations from the pub on dry land whilst the helicopter pilots of the nine Pumas rescued 225 persons.

Col. Bekker was thanked for his most humorous presentation prior to everybody adjourning to the ante room for the much enjoyed cocktail party.

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16th January 2020

6th February 2020

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South African Military History Society /