List of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan facilities in South Africa

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This article contains a list of the facilities of the Joint Air Training Scheme which was a major programme for training South African Air Force, Royal Air Force and Allied air crews during World War II.[1]

An Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) gave a recruit 50 hours of basic aviation instruction on a simple trainer like the Tiger Moth. Pilots who showed promise went on to training at a Service Flying Training School (STFS). The Service Flying Training School provided advanced training for pilots, including fighter and multi-engined aircraft. Other trainees went on to different specialties, such as wireless, navigation or bombing and gunnery. In South Africa, the Elementary Flying Training School and Service Flying Training School were renamed Air Schools.[1]

Training schools[edit]

Air School Base Major types of aircraft Training Established Opened Disbanded Motto Unit publication Comment
1 Air School Baragwanath Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 1 EFTS)
30 Apr 1944 29 Feb 1944 ”Start Well, Finish Well”
2 Air School Randfontein Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 2 EFTS)
2 Oct 1944 ”Knowledge is Light”
3 Air School Wonderboom Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 3 EFTS)
16 Feb 1941 25 Sep 1944 ”Tertius Primus Erit”
4 Air School Benoni Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 4 EFTS)
1 Sep 1941 24 Jun 1945 ”Vier sal eerste wees” ”Big Ben”
5 Air School Witbank Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 5 EFTS)
13 Oct 1941 15 Dec 1944 ”Wings for Victory” ”Tiger Rag”
6 Air School Potchefstroom Tiger Moth Elementary flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 6 EFTS)
4 Aug 1941 6 Aug 1946 ”Eendrag en Vryheid” ”Hotchpotch”
7 Air School Kroonstad Tiger Moth Elementary flying 22 Dec 1941 Jul 1942 16 Jan 1945 ”Nil Sine Labore” ”The Dust Sheet Buildings taken over by SA Army
21 Air School Kimberley Hind, Hart, Oxford Service flying 11 Nov 1940 30 Apr 1941 1 Feb 1945 ”Pro Patria” ”21” Now Kimberley Airport
22 Air School Vereeniging Hind, Hart Service flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 2 SFTS)
”Ad Unum Ad Astra” ”Clamp”
23 Air School Zwartkop Air Station Hind, Hart Service flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 3 SFTS)
”Superna Petimus” ”Tale-Spin”
24 Air School Nigel (Dunnottar) Hind, Hart Service flying 11 Nov 1940 ”Per Artem Ad Astra”
25 Air School Standerton Hind, Hart, Master, Harvard Service flying 11 Nov 1940
(ex 5 SFTS)
”Ex Unite Ad Victoria”
26 Air School Pietersburg Hind, Hart Service flying 11 Nov 1940 ”Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Hors Sarit”
27 Air School Bloemspruit, Bloemfontein Hind, Hart Service flying 11 Nov 1940 ”Finis Coronat Opus" Now AFB Bloemspruit/Bloemfontein Airport
41 Air School East London, Collondale Hart variants, Battle, Northrop Nomad, Oxford, Anson Service flying, Bombing & gunnery Now East London Airport
42 Air School Port Elizabeth Battle, Northrop Nomad, Oxford, Anson, Harvard Service flying Located on the south side of Port Elizabeth Airport. Part preserved as SAAF museum branch, remainder used by Army
43 Air School Port Alfred Oxford, Anson, Harvard Service flying Still in use for civil flying training as 43 Air School
44 Air School Grahamstown Oxford, Anson, Battle Navigation & bombing 11 Nov 1940 12 Jan 1942 "All for the Same Cause" Taken over by SA Army, now 6 SA Inf Bn
45 Air School Oudtshoorn Oxford, Anson, Battle Air Observer (Type B) 11 Nov 1940 20 Aug 1945 "Primus Inter Pares" "Sprog" Civil airfield & SA Army
47 Air School Queenstown Anson, Oxford Air Observer (Type B) 11 Nov 1940
(ex 7 AONS)
30 Apr 1941 7 Apr 1945 "The Signal" Civil airfield & SA Army
48 Air School Woodbridge East London Tiger Moth, Tutor Elementary navigation 14 July 1942 1 Sep 1942 1 May 1945 "Sic itur ad astra" and "Bobaas" "B.O.N." Now industrial area and Army base
61 Air School George Anson General Reconnaissance 11 Nov 1940
(ex 1 S of GR)
30 Apr 1941 14 Jun 1945 "Duff Gen" Civil airfield until replaced by George Airport
62 Air School Tempe
All types Flying Instructor Training 11 Nov 1940
(ex CFS)
19/24 Feb 1945 "Facta Nostra Vivent"
63 Air School Tempe
Ground Instruction 11 Nov 1940 Jan 1941 Absorbed into 75 Air School Lyttelton
64 Air School Tempe
Dominie, Anson Electrical & Wireless Operator 5 Feb 1941 20 Dec 1945 "Ut Servient Discimus" "Sparks"
65 Air School Youngsfield
Cape Town
Oxford, Anson, Wapiti Air Armament 11 Nov 1940 30 Apr 1941 13 Apr 1944 Resurrected 1 Jun 1944 – 10 Sep 1945
66 Air School Youngsfield
Cape Town
Anson, Valentia, Harvard Oxford Navigation & bombing 11 Nov 1940 30 Apr 1941 1 Apr 1945 Became SA Army base. Latterly used to house refugees from xenophobic violence.
67 Air School Zwartkop DH Dragon, Envoy Photography & Photographic Training 11 Nov 1940 Currently SAAF AFB Swartkop
68 Air School Voortrekkerhoogte Technical Training 11 Nov 1940
(1 STT)
1 Oct 1962 Currently an SAAF base
69 Air School Germiston Technical Training
(Airframes & Engines)
11 Nov 1940
(ex 2 STT)
Dec 1944 Absorbed into 68 Air School
70 Air School Alexanderfontein
Technical Training 11 Nov 1940
(ex 3 STT)
Sep 1943
71 Air School Milner Park
Basic Workshop Training 11 Nov 1940
(ex 1 Basic Training Centre)
1 Feb 1945 "The Fledgling" Now part of University of Witwatersrand campus
72 Air School St George's Park
Port Elizabeth
WAAF Basic Training 11 Nov 1940
(ex 2 Basic Training Centre)
Situated at Park Lane junction with Park Drive, last remaining bungalow from camp now home to Sea Scouts Group[2]
73 Air School Wonderboom
WAAF Technical Training 11 Nov 1940
(ex 3 Basic Training Centre)
75 Air School Lyttelton
77 Air School Pretoria WAAF Basic Training 15 Jul 1942
(ex WAAF Basic Training Centre)
30 Jan 1943
100 Air School Voortrekkerhoogte Regimental training
11 Operational Training Unit Fighter Operational Training Zwartkop, Reunion Natal, St Albans Port Elizabeth Kittyhawk, Hurricane 1 July 1943 September 1945 "Learn and Live" "Tale-Spin" (ex 23 Air School)
29 Operational Training Unit Twin Engine Conversion Nigel & Darling Ventura, Lodestar, Oxford, Anson July 1943 June 1944
4 Wing Gliding Training Quaggaspoort
Grunau Baby, Slingsby Kirby Cadet, Minimoa 1940 1943 Gliding field after the war. Later became SA Police Dog School
Air School 27 Squadron SAAF Fisantekraal Lockheed Ventura Advanced flying 1943 1951 relocated AFB Ysterplaat airfield sold in 1960 to Durbanville municipality, since 1993 in private hands with two flight schools

Training aircraft[edit]

The JATS used the following types of aircraft for training:[1]

Minor aircraft types used in any significant numbers included the Curtiss H-75A-4 Mohawk IV, Hawker Hartbees, Hawker Fury, Martin167F Maryland and Westland Wapiti.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Becker, Dave (1989). Yellow Wings: The Story of the Joint Air Training Scheme in World War 2. Pretoria: The SAAF Museum. p. 102. 
  2. ^ Markman, Ivor (2006). "St George's Park - Women's Auxiliary Air Force Camp". Retrieved 13 February 2016.