It is with great sadness that we announce that Major Stewart 'Bomb' Finney, DFC and Bar, ex-SAAF (1940-1945) passed away peacefully in his sleep on Tuesday evening, 16 September. He was 94 years of age. 'Bomb' Finney was'one of our few direct links to the Second World War. For many of us born in the immediate aftermath of the war, a tumultuous event that impacted on our youth and helped form our primary interest and focus in history, this loss is particularly heavy.
Maj 'Bomb' Finney was our guest speaker on 12 February 2009, in spite of his advanced age at the time (89 years old)! It was a most memorable evening and a lecture not easily forgotten. Not only was Maj Finney an excellent speaker, but his memory and recall of events remarkable for his age, accented by a lively sense of humour which was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. (Anyone interested in reading a summary of that particular lecture, can download the Military History Society's Cape Town branch newsletter at http:// rapidttp.co .za!milhisU9!c09marne. html).
Maj 'Bomb' Finney was a brave soldier, a hero and a legend in his own right. He was popular amongst his fellow South Africans 'Up North' not only for his flying skills but also his leadership, particularly of No 1 Squadron SAAF in Italy.
Maj Finney flew Hurricanes in the Western Desert from 1941 and completed three combat tours, ending as the commanding officer of 2 Squadron in Italy 1945, on Spitfires. He was shot down and wounded in 1942. He was the recipient of. the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar, one of only fourteen SAAF fighter pilots to achieve this distinct honour.
'Bomb' Finney added to the lives of all who knew him with his endless curiosity, his sense of humour, patience and kindness. He was always dignified, respectful and courteous - a true gentleman - and, in turn, he was respected and honoured by his peers and the community at large. Under that unhurried, soft-spoken exterior was a man with iron resilience and lightning reactions. Post-war, he studied to become an engineer and had a long and successful professional career until his retirement. The nickname 'Bomb' was acquired when working for a munitions factory.
To the bereaved family go our heartfelt, sincerest condolences and shared sorrow on the passing of a man amongst men, a husband, father, grandfather, comrade, friend and colleague - he will be sorely missed by us all.
RIP 'Bomb', and blue skies forever!
Johan van den Berg, Chairman: SAMHS (Cape Town Branch)
[My grateful acknowledgement of the kind assistance provided by fellow-member Ray Hattingh (Branch Honorary Secretary) and personal friend of the late Stewart Finney; as well as to fellow-member Tinus Ie Roux who had the foresight and the initiative to interview survivors who flew in combat in the Second World War over the past couple of years. He maintains, at his own cost, webpages dedicated to our flying heroes of yesteryear. To read about and listen to 'Bomb's' wartime experiences and reminiscences, please visit: http://www.bombfinney.yolasite.com]
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