Sunday, 6 October 2013

Mount Hampden 28 Elementary Flying Training School and Post-War

By Mitch Stirling (Air Rhodesia)

John Wynne Hopkins' painting of a DH.82A Tiger Moth of the 28 EFTS Mount Hampden.
Under the command of Squadron Leader N E Hendrikz, 28 Elementary Flying Training School of the Royal Air Force was opened in April 1941 "near a small kopje called Mount Hampden." Their "Trainers of the Empire" or "Tigerschmidts", as they were sometimes called, had a red and white checkerboard pattern painted on the aft fuselage to distinguish them from their counterparts at Belvedere and Cranborne — a design borrowed from an aerobatic team of 56 Squadron Royal Air Force in pre-war England. As the war progressed, Tigers were shipped in large numbers from England and Australia, until a grand total of 412 machines were in use throughout the colony. They were basically redesigned Gipsy Moths with bigger engines, wings staggered backwards and increased dihedral on the lower mains. Most importantly, the upper wing cabane was moved forward to allow the front seat pilot wearing a chute to get out in a hurry. They were heavier than the Gipsy and, on the good authority of some old pilots who flew both types, they were "not as nice to fly."

Moth Major DH60G VP-YAW s/n 5124 — impressed 1939
The majority of the aircraft were brand new "out of the box" from the de Havilland and Morris Motor factories in England, although a few were ex-EFTS machines from bases in England. The Australian built Tigers arrived in Southern Rhodesia via Cape Town. Local Rhodesian businessmen and farmers were invited to name a "Moth" of their choice, in return for a very generous financial contribution to the war effort. This added greatly to the rapid induction of aircraft into the newly formed Rhodesian Air Training Group.

The names Rumbavu and Inez were selected by John McAllister Smith.

In the space of four years, 18 Tigers were lost in training accidents in Southern Rhodesia. High density altitude was largely to blame, as well as navigational error on the part of many foreign pupil pilots who were unfamiliar with the Rhodesian topography and tropical weather. One machine from 20 SFTS Cranborne ended up in the Hunyani river, with fatal results. 

In order to reduce aircraft attrition and solve the recurring problem of pilot error and controllability, anti-spin strakes on the tails were fitted during the war. But the harsh climate took its toll and eventually all Tigers with over 2 000 hours were scrapped in 1943. Wood and canvas proved to be a bad combination in the fierce African sun and rain. Nevertheless, a number of machines survived the war and appeared in the civilian register after 1945. Others were transferred, via Induna, to the South African Air Force; some were rejected as being in very poor condition

Accident T 7673 and Australian built 680 in May 1942

It was fashionable at the time to name aircraft after famous universities — such as Oxford, Cornell and Harvard. Hundreds of Harvards were deployed at the more advanced Service Flying Training Schools in Southern Rhodesia where they acted as a bridge between basic trainers and the high performance fighters of the day. Nearly all Commonwealth fighter pilots learned their basic skills on the early Harvard and later variants — those tough, robust aircraft which required some gentle handling and a delicate touch on landing.

The iconic Harvard.

At the beginning of 1943 the Canadian built Fairchild Cornell became the trainer of choice at 28 Elementary. This handsome machine — a monoplane that offered more forgiving flight characteristics than the Harvard and a more stable platform than the Moth — was introduced as a supplementary trainer to the Tigers, at which point their production in Canada peaked at 150 units per month Over the next few years a total of 346 Cornells Mk1 and Mk11, with a confusing mix of RAF and RCAF serial numbers, arrived in Rhodesia via the Cape. Their enclosed glasshouse cockpits, with excellent all-round visibility, gained immediate popularity, although their perspex canopies could be uncomfortably hot in direct sunlight. The engines were six cylinder inverted, in-line, 200 hp Rangers. Other features were: fixed pitch two blade wooden props, fixed undercarriage with large wheel span, dual controls, full night flying capability, steerable tail wheel with brakes on the upper half of the rudder pedals, mechanical hand operated split flaps and elevator trim tabs. They became very successful trainers, requiring only 880 yards of take-off distance at Mount Hampden's 5000 ft amsl runway. With an unstick speed of 65 mph and a rate of climb of 600 fpm they were virtually vice-less in the air and simple to maintain on the ground. But they still demanded a great deal of precision and care in handling from all trainees who were on their way to becoming combat pilots.

PT-26 Cornell FV 564

Personnel from many Commonwealth countries were represented at 28 EFTS as well as Yugoslavs, Czechoslovaks, Poles and Frenchmen. Many Greek airmen were there as well and, under Flight Lieutenant Jack Collins, they were one of the largest Allied contingents trained at the Rhodesian Air Training Group. The gallantry of the Royal Hellenic Air Force in the defence of Athens has been well documented and their pilots and link-training instructors at Mount Hampden proved to be amongst the best.

Aerial Mount Hampden training area (South 17.740° East 30.921°)

The 28 EFTS, RATG Serials

compiled by Dave Newnham

Last update 15-Aug-2013

The RATG Serial listing contains many aircraft where location of service data is not available. Whilst many of these may have served at No. 28 EFTS, Mount Hampden; only those 'known' to have served with the unit, are shown.

De Havilland Tiger Moth
Serial c/n Detail

N9248 82343 Received 3-May-43. Sep-43 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale no bids 
accepted. 15-May-47 5FTS coded A:X. 16-Mar-48 4FTS. 29-Jul-49 394MU. 4-Jan-50 SOC

R4793 82737 Dispatched Feb-40. 25EFTS. 13-Feb-42 crashed Mount Hampden & SOC

R4812 82744 Dispatched 7-Feb-40. 25EFTS. Sep-43 28EFTS. 9-Aug-44 SOC

R4831 82763 Dispatched Feb-40. Sep-40 25EFTS. 28EFTS. 9-Feb-43 SOC

T5550 83269 Dispatched May-40. 28EFTS. 5-Jun-42 SOC

T6501 84842 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 2-Nov-45 SOC

T6505 84846 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4714

T6506 84847 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 14-Jun-44 SAAF4706

T6507 84848 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4700

T6509 84850 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 1946 Sold NTU? 5FTS. 15-Aug-51 4FTS. crashed

T6510 84851 Dispatched 5-Aug-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4693

T6700 85000 Dispatched 6-Sep-41. 28EFTS. 14-Jul-44 SOC.

T6711 85011 Dispatched 6-Sep-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4696

T7031 83312 Received 24-May-43. 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale bid not accepted. 1946 Sold VP-YDT. 12-Mar-47 SOC

T7166 83625 Received 3-May-43. 28EFTS. 1946 Sold VP-YDX. 12-Mar-47 SOC

T7484 83918 Dispatched 30-Nov-40. 28EFTS. 17-Oct-45 SOC

T7512 83923 Dispatched 30-Nov-40. 28EFTS. 14-May-43 Struck by T7938 Mount Hampden. 14-May-43 SOC

T7513 83924 Dispatched 30-Nov-40. 28EFTS named "Mary Ann" coded 1. 9-Aug-44 SOC

T7543 83964 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF

T7545 83966 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 14-Jun-44 SAAF

T7547 83968 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 31-Oct-43 SOC

T7665 84049 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 9-Aug-44 SOC

T7666 84050 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS named "Rorch". 17-Aug-43 SOC

T7668 84057 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 9-Mar-43 accident. 17-Aug-43 SOC

T7669 84058 Dispatched 14-Feb-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4694

T7670 84059 Dispatched 14-Feb-41. 28EFTS. 9-Aug-44 SOC

T7672 84061 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4707

T7673 84062 Dispatched 17-Jan-41. 28EFTS. 14-May-42 Struck by 680 Mount Hampden.

T7786 84159 Received 3-May-43. 28EFTS. Mar-45 21SFTS. 2-Nov-45 SOC

T7926 84290 Dispatched 21-Apr-41. 28EFTS. 9-Aug-44 SOC

T7928 84292 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 1946 Sold VP-YDK. 12-Mar-47 SOC

T7933 84297 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale offer not accepted. Jul-46 Sold VP-YDM. 12-Mar-47 SOC

T7937 84301 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4701

T7938 84302 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 14-May-43 Struck T7512 Mount Hampden and WO

T7941 84305 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. Rebuilt from VP-RAG. 31-May-44 SAAF4695

T7943 84307 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 6-Sep-44 SOC

T7945 84309 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4709

T7978 84331 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 6-Sep-44 SOC

T7980 84333 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 19-Jan-42 SOC. Jul-42 Instructional airframe 0013M

T7986 84339 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4718

T7987 84340 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF

T7988 84341 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 17-Aug-43 SOC

T7991 84344 Dispatched 26-Apr-41. 28EFTS. 12-Jul-43 SOC

T8023 84364 Dispatched 25-Mar-41. 28EFTS. 12-Jul-43 SOC

T8107 84419 Dispatched 11-May-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4702

T8108 84420 Dispatched 12-Jun-41. 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4705

T8114 84426 Dispatched 12-Jun-41. 28EFTS coded 4. 31-May-44 SAAF4712

T8235 84508 Dispatched 12-Jun-41. 28EFTS. 6-Sep-44 SOC

T8241 84514 Dispatched 12-Jun-41. 28EFTS. 9-Aug-44 SOC

T8244 84517 Dispatched 12-Jun-41. 28EFTS. 2-Nov-45 SOC

527[DX438] 527 To DX527. 1943 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4699

528[DX439] 528 To DX528. 1943 28EFTS. 7-Jul-43 SOC

529[DX440] 529 1943 28EFTS. 31-May-44 SAAF4747

541[DX452] 541 To MC541. 1943 28EFTS. 1946 Sold NT
U? 21-Feb-52 SRAF

542[DX453] 542 To MC542. 1943 28EFTS. 1946 Sold. NTU? May-49 4FTS. 4-Jul-52 Sold VP-YJK

543[DX454] 543 1943 28EFTS. 1944 SAAF4717

544[DX455] 544 1943 28EFTS coded 4. crashed

545[DX455] 545 To DX545. 1943 28EFTS. 17-Apr-46 Sold VP-YED. 12-Mar-47 SOC

676 676 1943 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale offer not accepted. 1946 Sold CR-ABN. 12-Mar-47 SOC

678 678 1943 28EFTS. 1-Jun-45 SOC

680 680 1943 28EFTS. Landed on top T7673 Mount Hampden 14-May-42 repaired.

683 683 1943 28EFTS

686 686 1943 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale offer not accepted. 19-Feb-46 Sold VP-YDU. 12-Mar-47 SOC

691 691 1943 28EFTS. 28-Feb-46 Sold OO-CCC. 12-Mar-47 SOC

DX544 605 10-Sep-42 SOC. 1942 Rebuilt with wreck of CR-AAG [unconfirmed]. Mount Hampden.
 Oct-45 For sale offer not accepted

DX595 697 28EFTS coded 14. 3-Mar-44 SAAF4663

DX651 739 1943 28EFTS. 20-Nov-45 Sold CR-ABI. 12-Mar-47 SOC

DX652 740 1943 28EFTS. 29-Jan-46 Sold VP-YDJ. 12-Mar-47 SOC

DX653 741 1943 28EFTS. 2-Mar-46 SOC

DX654 742 1943 28EFTS. Oct-45 For sale offer not accepted. 19-Feb-46 Sold CR-ABL. 12-Mar-47 SOC

DX656 744 1943 28EFTS. 20-Mar-46 Sold VP-YDS. 12-Mar-47 SOC

Fairchild Cornell

EW492 T43,4551 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS. Jan-46 32ARD

EW548 T43,4607 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

EW566 T43,4625 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15066 FV165 Oct-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15067 FV166 15-Mar-44 to 28-Jul-44 25EFTS. 29-Dec-44 to 15-Mar-45 27EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15076 FV175 15-Mar-44 to 19-Oct-44 25EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15088 FV187 15-Oct-43 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15112 FV211 Jan-44 28EFTS. 15-Mar-44 to 19-Oct-44 25EFTS. 29-Dec-44 to 15-Mar-45 27EFTS. 22-Feb-45 27EFTS cat3A

15114 FV213 Jan-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15118 FV217 19-Nov-43 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15119 FV218 Mar-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15122 FV221 Jan-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15123 FV222 May-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15128 FV227 Aug-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15129 FV228 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15130 FV229 Jun-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15134 FV233 15-Mar-44 to 19-Oct-44 25EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15136 FV235 17-Dec-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15138 FV237 17-Nov-43 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15140 FV239 Mar-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15167 FV266 2-Dec-43 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15168 FV267 Jan-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15170 FV269 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15171 FV270 Apr-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15173 FV272 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15175 FV274 17-Dec-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15176 FV275 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15177 FV276 17-Dec-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15178 FV277 May-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15179 FV278 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15180 FV279 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15182 FV281 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15183 FV282 Jan-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15184 FV283 17-Dec-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15185 FV284 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15186 FV285 Mar-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15187 FV286 Jan-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15188 FV287 Mar-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15189 FV288 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15190 FV289 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15217 FV316 Mar-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15218 FV317 Mar-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15219 FV318 Mar-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15220 FV319 Apr-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15221 FV320 May-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15222 FV321 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15223 FV322 Feb-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15226 FV325 Mar-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15229 FV328 May-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15230 FV329 23-Mar-44 to Aug-44 26EFTS. Aug-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15233 FV332 Jun-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15234 FV333 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15235 FV334 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15238 FV337 Apr-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15239 FV338 Jan-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

15332 FV431 Jun-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Mar-45 accident (fatal)

15368 FV467 Apr-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

15372 FV471 Apr-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV522 FV522 Feb-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV534 FV534 Oct-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV536 FV536 Oct-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. Dec-45 31ARD and SOC

FV556 FV556 31-Jul-44 to 19-Oct-44 25EFTS. Oct-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

FV557 FV557 Oct-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV564 FV564 Jan-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV567 FV567 Feb-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV571 FV571 Aug-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

FV578 FV578 Jun-44 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FV586 FV586 Feb-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS

FV589 FV589 Jan-45 to 10-Mar-45 28EFTS. 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FW984 FW984 16-Apr-45 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

FW987 FW987 Oct-44 to 22-Jun-45 28EFTS

North American Harvard

Harvard Mk.1
N7076 49.824 Dispatched Nov-40. 20SFTS. 17-Mar-42 crashed Mount Hampden. Oct-45 31ARD. Nov-45 SOC

Harvard Mk.2A
EX163 88.9242 Feb-43 RATGHQ CF. 28EFTS. 20SFTS. 02-Jul-43 accident cat3

EX401 88.10157 28EFTS. 20SFTS. 4FTS coded B:D. Apr-53 SRAF

EX403 ? 28EFTS coded 7. 20SFTS. 04-Apr-46 SOC

EX514 88.10609 28EFTS. 20SFTS. 5FTS coded X:N. Dec-48 4FTS coded D:A. 15-Jul-51 crashed Bulawayo

Extracts from Operations Mount Hampden Air Station in 1943 [with author's comments in brackets] are as follows:

Flt/Lt Marcou posted from HQ RATG for duties as a flying instructor.

[George Marcou HMC DFC, later Wing Commander, owned the house called "Shenstone" at Mount Hampden after the war. It was previously owned by Mr and Mrs F G Brooks who built a commemorative chapel on the farm (1945-48) in memory of their son F G "Nibs" Brooks and two family members who were killed in the air during the war. The beautiful stained glass window at the little "St Francis of Assisi" chapel depicts an eagle on a gloved hand and was created by the same man who designed and painted the RAF window in Westminster Abbey. Merilyn Walsh in Australia (a Brooks family relation) still has the Bible from the chapel lectern, dated 1709.]

F/O A Stamatelatos ceased to be attached and moved to 20 SFTS.

[Angelos Stam — he shortened his surname — was a well-loved civilian instructor after the war and died in a crash at Nyajena Tribal Trust Land during Rhodesia's bush war.]

P/O Sougleros (Royal Hellenic Air Force) posted to Initial Training Wing for inclusion No 23 C course.

F/O A K Murrell and P/O A Birch posted from 33 FIS Norton to 28 EFTS to begin flying instruction duties. Flt/Lt R J D Christie attached from 25 EFTS for flying instruction.

[Sgt Murrell won the DFM in 1941 as an air gunner in Eritrea and, by 1943, he had re-mustered as a pilot. His pilot in Eritrea at the time had been Ronald John Douglas Christie service number 80038, 33 FIS and 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron GDP (General Duties Pilot). Ken Murrell's civilian career included time with the Department of Civil Aviation and DC3 operations with Hunting. He was Chief Pilot Rhodesia United Air Carriers in the 1970s and recipient of the Pat Judson Memorial Trophy for services to aviation. Tony Birch was a well known examiner in the Rhodesian Department of Civil Aviation in later years.] 
Flt/Lt R W Ashby posted from 33 FIS for flying instruction duties.

[Rolf Wallace Ashby, service number 80137, flew Hurricanes in 237 (Rhodesia) Squadron and was later killed as a passenger in the Vickers Viking of Central African Airways in Tanganyika 1953, after a catastrophic wing failure. Captain Perry St Quinton and all on board perished.]

F/O P A Pennant-Rea, appointed Flt/Lt and posted to 20 SFTS.

[Service number 80185 Sqn/Ldr. Demob 30/11/1945. Transferred UK Technical Training and Permanent Staff Corps. Later Rhodesian Department of Civil Aviation, awarded MBE.]

P/O M C Ward [Michael Cuthbert, educated St George's College] was reposted 28 EFTS from 33 FIS Norton for flying instruction duties.

P/O J B J Thompson promoted to war substantive rank of F/O.

60 days detention for L A C Simpson for low flying.
Relief landing grounds Oldbury and Rainham in the Mount Hampden region were selected, to reduce congestion and decrease wear and tear on the main aerodrome. 

[They opened in 1943 and operated daily from 06:15 to 12:00. Afternoon and night flying continued at base. There is no trace of them now, though Rainham Farm is in the approach to runway 06 at Charles Prince Airport.]

A court of enquiry was held into the accident involving a collision which resulted in the death of Sgt E T Rees on 9 March 1943.

A board of enquiry into non-fatal crash of Tiger Moth [Rumbavo R 4828 had been donated by John McAllister Smith.]

No cadets under 5' 7" on course 23 C were allowed entry to multi-engine training. All pilots under 5' 7'' were posted to single engine Service Flying Training Schools.
A parade was held on 1 April 1943 — the 25th anniversary of the formation of the RAF and the 2nd anniversary of the opening of Mount Hampden Air Station.

Short parade 2 June in honour of the King's birthday. 

Major Barrow, late Inspector of Schools in the Education Department, lectured in the cinema hangar on the "Failure of German Strategy."

Flt/Lt G S Parker lectured on Civil Airline Operations.

Wing Commander J C Reynolds AFC, previously CFI Norton, assumed command of No 28 EFTS after Hendrikz.

[The Southern Rhodesian Women's Auxiliary Air Service, founded in 1941 and led by Mrs Dulcie Roxburgh-Smith (later MBE) was represented at 28 EFTS as well. She was one of the first women in Africa to qualify for a pilot's licence and had logged a very respectable 500 hours of flight time. The role of the "WAASIES" in support of husbands and brothers and sons in the RAF was invaluable.]

The Prime Minister, the Honourable Sir Godfrey Huggins KGMG FRCS (Eng) MP visited the station accompanied by Minister for Air, the Honourable E Lucas Guest OBE MP and Air Officer Commanding RATG Air Commodore J W B Grigson DSO DFC.

Sqn/Ldr C H Prince, Chief Flying Instructor 25/28 EFTS and 20/22 SFTS, served in the Middle East.

[Charles Hilton Prince service number 80025, Awarded AFC. Commended for valuable service in the air 2/1/1944. Became airport manager at post-war Mount Hampden and was awarded the Pat Judson Trophy in 1964.]

Charles Hilton Prince awarded Pat Judson Trophy.

At the end of the war RAF Mount Hampden Air Station was closed down with a final wings parade on 30 October 1945, although RATG itself continued operations until March 1954. The airfield was neglected and long grass grew on the runway. Buildings and Bellman hangars were used as accommodation for new immigrants. The destruction of many old war birds was a heartbreak for many ex-servicemen as there were aircraft graveyards scattered around the country, mainly in Bulawayo and Salisbury.

But private flying began to re-emerge in 1946 and, with an abundance of experienced flying instructors, activity centred around the resurrected Salisbury Flying Club at Cranborne. War surplus Tigers were commissioned: VP-YCY (EM841) VP-YDM (T7933) and VP-YDN (DX684). The DX or MX prefix indicated Australian built.

By 1952 VP-YJU (T6653), VP-YJP (T6292) and VP-YNV (SR94) were in use at the Belvedere and Civil Aviation Flying Clubs and more Tigers joined the civil register at various flying clubs around Southern Rhodesia. Some went to the Bulawayo Light Plane Club at Kumalo. Others went to the Gwelo Light Plane Club, the Victoria Flying Club at Fort Victoria, the Ayrshire Flying Club at Raffingora and Makoni Flying Club at Inyazura. Karoi, Gatooma, Midlands, Enkeldoorn, Marandellas and Wankie — all had their own Flying Clubs.

Wartime Tigers even travelled north of the border to Northern Rhodesia, Tanganyika and Kenya. Des Tennett bought Australian built VP-YDC (DX 644) from David Bishop for operation at the Luchenza Flying Club at Thyolo, Nyasaland (at its peak there were five Tigers based at Luchenza). 7Q-YDC was later badly damaged in an accident, but was rebuilt and eventually sold to Bindura Gliding Club. It is currently registered as VH-WHW with Darling Downs Tiger Moths at Toowoomba, Queensland.

Many Tigers became the property of private individuals.

For example: VP-YDK (T7928) was owned by H Liddel of Salisbury. VP-YDX (T7166) and VP-YJU (T6653) belonged to A H G Hampshire. VP-YCY (EM 841) and VP-YCZ (EM 741) went to Gammon Bros, Umtali. VP-YDL (EM 791) went to W Byron-Moore and then to James Murdoch-Eaton of "Carnbrae". He was one of the oldest private pilots in Southern Rhodesia, instructed by Percy Newton, who himself owned VP-YEP (DX681). VP-YDO (DX 706) went to D J Rooney and Co and then to Roy Smart of Lesbury Estate, Rusape. VP-YDJ (DX653) belonged to B Brown, Inyazura; Willy Posselt had VP-YDR (T6380); VP-YEE (MC 538) went to J H Forsyth. VP-YDD (DE 533) to M H Kassim; VP-YDG (R5217) to V W Hampton; VP-YDI ((T6947) to R C Griffin, all of Salisbury. The Bulawayo boys had a few Tigers as well — Dan Eardley, T H Metcalf, N Hendrick, T C Ricketts, R F Dowell, W J Winter, W G Fishlock and W Murray-Smith.

Others went to the Southern Rhodesian Air Force and Southern Rhodesia Air Services VP-YCT (DE 214)

SR 26 (RATG DX 658) taken in 1972, when the re-established Southern Rhodesian Air Force marked its 25th anniversary. 

With encroaching suburbia at Belvedere and Cranborne, and work in progress at the new international airport at Kentucky, The Flying Club (the renamed the Salisbury Flying Club) moved to the Marlborough racetrack sometime before 1955. Here it operated as the "Marlborough Flying Club" during the week, and over the weekends at Belvedere. VP-YMY (ex South African) was a Marlborough Tiger, before Chip Kay and Des Tennett of Luchenza Flying Club bought it; later it was written off near Lilongwe.

VP-YMY at Luchenza.
VP-YOC (SR 36) of Nyasaland Flying Club was written off by Dr Russell Jack Harvey at Luchenza in a fatal accident.

VP-YHD (T7538) belonged to T Greenhill, Salisbury and then Rhodesian Aviation Maintenance Services (RAMS).

VP-YEN (T6117) ex RAMS machine, first solo for Doug Elliot.

VP-YJV (T6529) with Frank Wingrove and Harry Atkinson. It belonged to T R Nicholson of Salisbury and then D Rogers of Bromley, before Marlborough Flying Club.

YJK (28 EFTS Australian MC542/DX453) belonged to D B Bellinghan and the Enkeldoorn Flying Club, before being written off at Marlborough Flying Club

Marlborough from the air

Christmas at Marlborough with family Robinson

Marlborough Flying Club and Tiger

Lounge Marlborough

Nothing changes!

Frank Wingrove, instructor

Elizabeth Robinson with Frank Wingrove and VP-YJV.

Family Robinson and Doug Elliot exploring the abandoned Mount Hampden.
With grateful thanks to Liz Elliot (nee Robinson) and Harold Wienand for some wonderful pictures of the Marlborough Flying Club days and to Dave Newnham for his excellent archive of 28 EFTS operational records and aircraft registers. Dave is forever generous in sharing his research into the "Definitive Rhodesian Civil Aircraft Register." Any updates and additions to his records will be gratefully received. 

As always, many thanks to John Reid-Rowland for his editing skills and for his information on the Brooks family to whom his wife Jane is related. And to Robin Norton for the photo of Tiger SR 26.

John Wynne Hopkins' Tiger Moth at Mount Hampden graces the introduction to the article — one of his many beautiful pieces of military art which have been much admired in exhibitions around the United Kingdom and further.

Please note — some of the author's comments [in brackets] are unsubstantiated, although every effort has been made to verify them. The readers' comments are welcomed, and encouraged, to help complete the aviation picture of "Our Rhodesian Heritage."


Thanks to Mitch  for sharing his photograph and memories with ORAFs.
Comments are always welcome, please mail them to Eddy Norris at

Visit  to view this article on line.  To view the Blog Home Page - Please Click Here (Please visit our previous posts and archives

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At 8 October 2013 at 11:55 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Basil Bates Writes:-
My Dad’s log book starts in May of 1944, when he was stationed at Belvedere flying Cornells. I presume a number of different Cornells because there are a lot of different numbers noted . These numbers may not be individual aircraft but some are 15109, 15090, 15270,15087, 15067,15069 and more. His log book is signed by F/Lt G Miller, O.C. “A” flight No 25 E.F.T.S. R.A.F. On 31/8/1944, there is a note that he had been grounded temporary for 1 month as Belvedere was being closed down I presume from 25 E.F.T.S. He was then posted to R.A.T.G. H. Q. lecturing at KG VI. Shortly after he was posted to Ndola R.F.C.U. His next entry is in Jan. 1945 flying SAAF Ansons, Dakota’s, Lodestar’s, Ventura’s and Rapide’s out of Ndola. He has a note on the Ventura as “a terrible a/c – rough as hell - burnt out in the Sudan killing the crew.” In early August he contracted small pox from his batman using his razor. He officially left the R.A.F. on May 6th 1946. Unfortunately his war service log books were loaned to a person unknown to me, never to be seen again. What a shame!!

My dad started flying again on Jan 20, 1957. He flew a Tiger Moth VP-YDV, and a Piper Cub VP-YHL, out of Belvedere. He also flew a Tiger VP-YJU, a Cessna 180, VP-YOT, a Piper Cub, VP-YFT and a Fairchild – no registration. He was at this time a member of the Mashonaland Flying Club with Charles Prince and the boys. He then started the Umvukwes Police Reserve Air Wing with ES Micklem, Sept 1961, when the Auster Aig VP-YSF was purchased from Buitendag from Karoi and flown to Mt. Hampden. Rough landing!! Then follows an entry flying a Piper Tri-Pacer VP-YKS, belonging to R. Price ( Centenary I think). Jan 5th 1962 shows the second pilot in the Auster Aig as C. Prince! W.A.R. Macdonald D.F.C. R.A.F, a friend of my Dad’s, had a Tiger Moth VP-YOI and a Cessna VP-Y UG, which they used to fly to Mozambique to visit another friend from their Malta days in the R.A.F. My Dad’s last entry was in Oct. 1964.

Hope this gives you something interesting to research

[Basil Bates swam for Rhodesia (breaststroke record) and played Rhodesian schools hockey. Eddy Norris]

At 8 October 2013 at 12:03 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Nick Baalbergen (Intaf) Writes:-

Another fascinating story. I presume that the RATG was the structure under which the Elementary flying Training Schools operated? The RATG operated from the Government building known as 'The Stables', in Jameson Avenue - the Air Force insignia could still be seen over the doorway in the early 1980's.

Your story mentions that many Tiger Moths found their way into civilian use at Flying Clubs throughout the country, Marandellas is mentioned as one of those. In the early 1960's, a Tiger Moth was still in use at the 'Marandellas Gliding Club', where it would 'tow' gliders to flying altitude.

At 8 October 2013 at 12:05 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Glyn Hall Writes:-

The article gives the impression that the Mt Hampden airfield completely shut down and never reopened after the war in 1945 but I recall flying from there a number of times and there being an active club in the early 1960's.
One would take off over the Lomagundi road making sure you had enough height to clear the power lines that ran along side the road and kept climbing because there were some exceedingly high Gumtree's in a row on the Cambitzi's farm which was on the flight line. I remember one occasion I was taken up in a Chipmunk and we actually clipped the gums. I used to pedal out to Belvedere airport as a kid and flew in Tiger Moths several times as they were being flight tested after servicing. After Belvedere closed down I would pedal out to Mt Hampden.
My cousin, John Kay, used to belong to the Mt Hampden flying club and I recall him hiring an aircraft (Cessna 172? ) which we flew up to Kariba in.
I also seem to recall that it was still operating in the 1980's on a visit to the country, I went out to see Anthony Cambitzi, an old school friend, who was running the farm and vaguely recall it still being there.

At 15 October 2013 at 09:10 , Blogger Rhodesia Remembered said...

Jim Baker (Copper 34) Writes:-

VP-YOT was a Cessna 210 not a 180. I owned it for about 18 years and when I was booted from my farm I sold it to Guthrie Aviation. They have totally refurbed it and it looks and fly’s as good as new. It was flown from the States from the factory by Paul Rex for RUAC I think. They sold it to Nolan Payne and he to Alan Murray from whom I bought it.

During the hondo (war) I flew a Cherokee Six 300. Main claim to fame I did 118 stretcher casevacs and numerous sitting cases.


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