Beaufighter over the Balkans: From the Balkan Air Force to the Berlin Airlift

Beaufighter over the Balkans: From the Balkan Air Force to the Berlin Airlift

by Steve Stevens DFC


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This is the wartime autobiography of one of South Africa’s most famous pilots. Steve joined the SAAF at the outset of World War II with the desire to become a fighter pilot and to fly in Europe to destroy the Nazi’s ambitions of power. However, he was too good a pilot and having gained his wings was posted to become a flying instructor in his native country. After two years he finally arrived in Europe and joined the RAF’s Balkan Air Force flying rocket-firing Beaufighters in support of the partisans who were endeavoring to evict the Germans from their homelands. He joined No 19 Squadron under the command of the legendary Don Tilley and flew many missions against enemy shipping, gun emplacements and tactical targets in low-level, surprise rocket attacks. After the war he returned to Africa, flying light aircraft in a variety of roles, but when Berlin was blockaded by the USSR he returned to fly DC-3 Dakotas throughout the Berlin Airlift.

This is a story told with a compassion that belies the author’s bravery and piloting skills. Throughout the story, his strong Christian belief, as with Leonard Cheshire VC, occasionally surfaces from the heat of battle and narrow escapes from death.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781844156108
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 05/05/2009
Pages: 192
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Foreword     11
Introduction     12
Second World War Commences: Cape Town     15
Days on Our Farm     21
Joining the South African Air Force     24
Learning to Fly: The Long-Awaited Day     27
Winning my Wings     34
Flying Instruction: Hazards     41
Pietersburg     59
Released at Last for Active Service     75
Miraculous Escape     84
Silencing Naval Guns & Destroying a Nazi Headquarters     93
Warsaw Airbridge     108
Sinking the SS Kuckuck & Blitzing Cernik Castle     127
VE Day 8 May & VJ Day 9 August 1945     138
Flying South Africans Home - Cairo to Pretoria     146
War on Disease: Air Spraying in Zululand     151
The Cold War: Berlin Airlift Miracle     161
Epilogue     181
Appendix: From War to Peace     201
Index     203

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