Unit Information: 1 Squadron, SAAF

Unit Abreviation
Unit Name
1 Squadron, SAAF
Total Deaths
4
Logo
Motto
"Prima" (First)
Description

Formed at AFS Zwartkop in February 1920 with DH-9's of the Imperial Gift. In 1936/7, the squadron moved to Waterkloof with its Harts and later received the Hartbees. On 31 August 1939 it was redesignated 1 Bomber/Fighter Squadron, but in December 1939 the squadron was redesignated 11 (Bomber) Squadron.

The squadron was reformed in February 1940 by renumbering 6 Squadron and equipped with four Hurricane Mk 1's and six Furies. After seeing action against Italy in East Africa during 1940, the squadron moved to Egypt in 1941, fighting in the Western Desert. At this stage, they acquired their nickname - The Billy Boys - because whenver successful in combat, the South African pilots would chatter over the radio 'Jou Bielie' (roughly translated as 'you clever chap')! By June 1943 the squadron was in Malta, then Sicily and thereafter for the rest of the war in Italy, by which time it was flying various marques of Spitfire.

Reformed at AFB Swartkop in 1946, the squadron flew Harvards until moving to AFB Waterkloof in June 1947 with their new Spitfire MkIXe's. These were replaced with Vampires in 1950 and Sabre Mk6's in September 1956. The squadron moved to AFB Pietersburg in 1967, but returned to AFB Waterkloof in late 1975.

The Squadron re-equipped with the Mirage F1AZ's in 1976. The squadron moved to the new AFB Hoedspruit in January 1981. On 25 November 1997 the F1AZ's were retired and the squadron stood down.

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