South African Military History Society



The MGH short this month was truly up to the minute military news. Major Hall's brief survey of the "Achille Lauro Affair" was masterly in both presentation and content.

Colonel Peter McGregor was the main speaker for the evening, his subject, "The History and Development of the South African Air Force Museum".

The idea of the formation of a SAAF Museum was brought to the force during a visit to Sir Pierre van Ryneveld's farm on the occasion of the SAAF's 50th anniversary in 1970. Colonel McGregor told the story of Sir Pierre's epic flight down Africa in 1920. Items from this flight were some of the earliest presentations to the Museum. On 26th October 1973 formal approval was given to the opening of the Museum.

The objects and the aims of the SAAF Museum are :

a] To collect, preserve, restore and exhibit articles and records pertaining to the heritage and traditions of the SAAF and Military Aviation associated therewith.

b] To interest and educate the general public, particularly the youth, in Military Aviation.

c] To undertake research into and to accumulate and disseminate information and knowledge relating to the history and traditions of the SAAF.

Immediately after World War II there was a wholesale and indiscriminate disposal of the various aircraft used during the war. This was vividly illustrated by the lecturer with slides showing enormous aircraft scrap heaps.

Credit must go to the SA National Musuem of Military History for being the first organisation to build up a collection of historical aircraft. Unfortunately, limited in scope to that of a War Museum and with a colossal space problem, many possible acquisitions at the time were turned down (such as a DH66 Hercules and a Junkers F-13). Such aircraft are now lost to posterity for all time.

Colonel McGregor had many anecdotes of the amusing incidents that occurred in teh recovery, or attempted recovery, of aircraft and their parts. This on occasion involved raiding scrap heaps and chicken coops. Even when obtained the aircraft presented numerous transport problems.

It was interesting to note the assistance provided in teh rebuilding of aircraft by various SAAF squadrons and the Atlas Aircraft Corporation Apprentice School.

Colonel Duxbury thanked the speaker on the Society's behalf for an extremely interesting and well presented lecture.

Dr Felix Machanik presented Col. McGregor with a model of, and plans of, the Wright brothers' Kittyhawk.

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Date of Next Meeting:

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The Chairman and Committee would like to take this opportunity of wishing you everything of the best for Christmas and the New Year

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Office : 609-8621
Home : 883-1383

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Membership rates for 1986

The Society has been informed by the Museum that they are no longer able to absorb the increase in printing costs of the Journal and that the price charged for each journal will be increased. In order to cover this increase and the increase in postage since the last membership rate increase, membership fees will be increased in 1986 as follows:-
Single: R12-50, Dual=R15-00, Single life=R125, Family life=R150
This increase is unfortunate but unavoidable and we trust members will not be inconvenienced. Invoices will be sent out in the new year. Mike Marsh.

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