Denis Earp

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Denis John Earp
Born (1930-06-07) 7 June 1930 (age 84)
Service/branch  South African Air Force
Rank Lieutenant General
Commands held Chief of the Air Force
Battles/wars Korean War

Lieutenant General Denis John Earp SSA SD SOE SM (Bloemfontein, born 7 June 1930)[1][2] was a South African military commander, who held the post of Chief of the South African Air Force. Attended Grey College, Bloemfontein. He attended Military College in 1948[2] and joined the SAAF in 1950. After qualifying as a pilot served in Korea with 2 Squadron SAAF. He was forced to bale out over enemy territory and was a POW for 23 months.[3]

Released in September 1953, he was posted to 1 Squadron till January 1957. Then he spent two years as an instructor at Central Flying Service Dunnottar before being appointed as a pilot attack instructor at the Air Operations School.[4]

In 1964 he spent time in England converting to Canberra light bombers and on his return served as a pilot at 12 (Canberra) Squadron at Waterkloof Air Force Base.[4]

In December 1967 he returned to 2 Squadron as commanding officer. Eighteen months later he was appointed Commandant Flying at Air Force Base Pietersburg and after that Senior Staff Officer (Air) of the Joint Combat Forces.[4]

His career took an unusual turn when he converted to helicopters and became Officer Commanding 17 Squadron at Air Force Base Waterkloof.[4]

After that he became Senior Staff Officer Operations at SAAF Headquarters, then Director Operations from June 1 of 1976 to 1978 and Director General Operations at Defence Headquarters in the rank of Major General from June 19 of 1978.[4]

He served as Chief of the Air Force from 1984 to 1988[5]

His son, Lieutenant Michael Earp, was a helicopter pilot who was killed in the Border War on 5 January 1982.[6]:Chp8

Aircraft Flown[edit]

Honours and Awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Hayes, S.V (ed) (1992). Who's Who of Southern Africa. Who's Who of Southern Africa C.C. p. 203. ISBN 0-620-15974-X. 
  2. ^ a b Geldenhuys, Genl. Jannie. We were there. Kraal Publishers. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-9814009-8-3. 
  3. ^ Uys, Ian (1992). South African Military Who's Who 1452-1992. Fortress Publishers. p. 73. ISBN 0-9583173-3-X. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The SADF: Supplement to the Financial Mail". Financial Mail: 35. July 1987. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Lord, Dick (2012). From Fledgling to Eagle: The South African Air Force during the Border War (Kindle ed.). Solihull, England: Helion & Company Ltd. ISBN 0415350158. 
  7. ^
Military offices
Preceded by
Michal Muller
Chief of the South African Air Force
1984 – 1988
Succeeded by
Jan van Loggerenberg