Pierre van Ryneveld
Hesperus Andrias van Ryneveld
KBE CB DSO MC
|Born||2 May 1891
Senekal, Orange Free State
|Died||2 December 1972
Pretoria, South Africa
|Allegiance|| British Empire
|Service/branch||Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
South African Air Force
|Years of service||August 1914 – 2 May 1949|
|Commands held||South African Air Force
Union Defence Forces
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
After the war, van Ryneveld was called back to South Africa by the Prime Minister Jan Smuts in order to set up the SAAF. He flew back home, across Africa, in a Vickers Vimy - a pioneering feat for which he and his co-pilot Quintin Brand were both knighted.
Colonel van Ryneveld established the SAAF in 1920, and directed it until 1933, when he was promoted to Chief of the General Staff (CGS), in command of the Union Defence Forces. However, for the next four years the SAAF remained under van Ryneveld's direct control as no one was appointed as the Air Force's director until 1937.
Honours and awards
The Pretoria suburb of Pierre van Ryneveld Park was named in his honour and the airport just north of Upington in the Northern Cape is also named after van Ryneveld. Sir Pierre van Ryneveld High School is in Kempton Park, Gauteng. The SAAF's annual air power symposium, is known as the Sir Pierre Van Ryneveld Air Power Symposium.
The citation for his Knighthood reads as follows:
- 14 May 1920 - Lieutenant-Colonel Hesperus Andrias Van Ryneveld, DSO, MC, late Royal Air Force - Appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire in recognition of the valuable services rendered to Aviation by the successful flight from England to Cape Town, South Africa.
- Ellis, Johan (2000). "Oswald Pirow's Five-Year Plan for the Reorganisation of the Union Defence Force, 1933-193". South African Journal of Military Studies 30 (2).
- The London Gazette: . 14 May 1920. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
- South African Air Force Museum - General Sir Helperus Andreas (Pierre) Van Ryneveld
- Prominent People - van Ryneveld, Pierre
W R Read
|Officer Commanding No. 45 Squadron RFC
24 April – 18 August 1917
A T Harris
South African Air Force established
|Director Air Services, South African Air Force
From 1933 to 1937 SAAF remained under van Ryneveld's direct control
1920 – 1933
Title next held byF Hoare in 1937
|Chief of the General Staff of the Union Defence Force
1933 – 1949