Unit Information: 17 Squadron, SAAF

Unit Abreviation
Unit Name
17 Squadron, SAAF
Total Deaths
"Pro Re Norta" (As the Occasion Arises)

Formed on 1 September 1939, 17 Squadron formed part of the Airways Wing at Swartkop, flying ex-SAA Junkers Ju-52/3m's, but was disbanded on 1 December that year.

The squadron was reformed on 8 October 1942 as a general reconnaissance squadron and arrived at Aden in January 1943 to fly Blenheim V's. In May that year they moved to Egypt soon thereafter converted to Ventura GR V's. In October the squadron moved to St Jean and Ramat David in Palestine for convoy escort duties and anti-submarine patrols. Detachments were also operated from Gibraltar and Bone in Algeria. In July the squadron moved to Sardinia. Late in 1944 the squadron returned to North Africa and in 1945, now based in Egypt, it began training for conversion to Wellingtons and Warwick GR Vs. Returning to South Africa in September 1945, the squadron was disbanded at Brooklyn (now Ysterplaat) on 31 March 1946, when they were flying the PV-1 Ventura.

The squadron was reformed in Cape Town on 1 June 1947 flying Ventura and Harvards. In 1955 the squadron was disbanded, but was reformed at Langebaanweg on 1 December 1957 to fly the three Sikorsky S-55s and the surviving S-51 for air-sea rescue duties. In December 1960 the squadron received the Alouette II and in mid-1961 moved to Ysterplaat. Alouette IIIs were received in 1962, with A flight stationed in Pretoria and B Flight at Bloemfontein, while C Flight and Training Flight remained at Ysterplaat.

In 1971, C Flight formed the nucleus for the reformed 16 Squadron. 17 Squadron and its two Flights eventually found it's home at Swartkop. A Puma flight was added in 1992, but in 1994 they were replaced by the new Oryx. However, the last two Pumas were only retired in 1997. Following the 1994 elections, 17 Squadron acquired the SA 365N Dauphin, formerly of the Bophuthatswana (Homeland) Defence Force, for VIP duties, before being dispossed of.

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