World War 2 Stories for Sheffield

                        David Richards 

Pupil Pilots Under Advanced Training

By Actiondesk Sheffield

People in story: David Richards
Location of story: South Africa
Unit name: 25 Air School, Standarton, Transvaal, R.S.A.
Background to story: Royal Air Force


This story was submitted to the People’s War site by Bill Ross of the ‘Action Desk – Sheffield’ Team on behalf of David Richards.

As a team, we maintained Miles Master aircraft for the use of pupils and instructors for the purpose of making pilots, and the use of Advanced Fighters. My reason for writing this story is to remember those pupil pilots who never made pilots because of either pilot or instructor error.

Air No 25 indicates numerous air schools throughout South Africa and Rhodesia. We lost quite a number of pupils through accidental problems; pupils trying aerobatics too early, instructor stupidity such as instructors being overheard on the land wireless.

We drank tea on the evening before long distance formation flying towards the Dragonberg Mountain Ranges. Pupils called out over the wireless, “We are too low!” The instructor replied, “I know what I’m doing in formation.” But both outer pupils collided with mountains. These are the boys I talk about, being killed before they get their ‘wings’. God bless them, as they should be remembered, if only for trying to be pilots to serve their country. The actual number lost all over the camp, I will never disclose, but it was a large number. As a praying person, I pray that their memories will not be lost.