3 Squadron SAAF

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3 Squadron
Mirage F1CZ Formation.jpg
Mirage F1CZs in formation
Active 1939 to 1992
Country  South Africa
Branch Ensign of the South African Air Force.svg South African Air Force
Role Fighter Sqn
Garrison/HQ AFB Waterkloof
Motto(s) Semper Pugnans (Always Fighting)[1]
Squadron Identification Code CA (1939–1945)[2] (Squadron OC: Maj C.A. Golding flew with personal identification code CAG in 1944-1945[3])
Squadron Crest 3 Squadron SAAF crest.jpg

3 Squadron SAAF was a squadron of the South African Air Force. It was formed in January 1939 at Air Force Base Waterkloof and was equipped with Hawker Hartbees I and Hurricane Mk II aircraft. The squadron was moved to Port Elizabeth in September 1939 after which it was disbanded. It was again reformed at Waterkloof on 9 September 1940 equipped with Hurricane Mk 1s.


The squadron was involved in fighting in East Africa flying Hurricanes and Gladiator Mk IIs, In December 1942 the squadron was sent to the Middle East and flew fighter defence over the port of Aden with Hurricane 11c and Spitfire V aircraft, coastal patrols were also flown from North Africa. In August 1944, 3 Squadron was sent to Italy and was re-equipped with Spitfire IXs. The squadron was disbanded following the end of the Second World War.[1]

Three Squadron was again reformed at Baragwanath Airport on 6 September 1952 as a part-time citizen force unit flying Harvards, but disbanded once again in 1957. In August 1966 the squadron was reformed at AFB Waterkloof as a unit under the control of 2 Squadron, equipped with Mirage IIIEZs.[1]

In February 1970 the unit received squadron colours and in the same year, was supplied with Mirage IIIDZ's and Mirage F1CZ's in April 1975 when its Mirage IIIEZ, DZ and D2Z aircraft were transferred to 85 Advanced Flying School. The squadron continued to operate the Mirage F1CZ from Waterkloof AFB with frequent deployments to South-West Africa during the Namibian War of Independence. Three Squadron was disbanded when the Mirage F1CZs were retired on 30 September 1992.[1]

World War II deployment[edit]

  • January – December 1941: Fighter squadron, East Africa[4]
  • 1942: South Africa[4]
  • January 1943 – August 1944: Shipping patrols, North Africa[4]
  • August 1944 – September 1945: Ground attack, Italy[4]


Aircraft flown by 3 Squadron
Note: Aircraft type photographs may not necessarily represent aircraft of the same mark or actual aircraft belonging to the Squadron.
Hawker Hartbees or Hartebeeste I
Gloster Gladiator Mk II
Hawker Hurricane Mk I
Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk
Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX
North American T-6 Harvard
Mirage III
Mirage F1CZ


  1. ^ a b c d "South African Air Force website". 3 Squadron. 
  2. ^ Martin, H.J. Lt-Gen; Orpen, N.D. (1978). Eagles Victorious: South African Forces World War II. Cape Town: Purnell. p. 335. ISBN 0-86843-008-0. 
  3. ^ Flintham, Vic (2003). Combat Codes. Barnesly: Pen & Sword Aviation. p. 229. ISBN 978-1-84415-691-7. 
  4. ^ a b c d "History of War". No. 3 Squadron (SAAF): Second World War. Retrieved 10 September 2011.