Prime Minister Ian Smith was among official guests who gathered at Government House in Salisbury on Tuesday (28 November) to watch a flypast of aircraft marking the Rhodesian Airforce's 25th Anniversary.
Prime Minister Ian Smith was among official guests who gathered at Government House in Salisbury on Tuesday (28 November) to watch a flypast of aircraft marking the Rhodesian Airforce's 25th Anniversary. The event was preceded by the presentation of new colours to the Airforce. Some units represented part of Rhodesia's strike-force against guerrillas.
The formation of the Rhodesian Airforce, on 28th November 1947, followed 13 years during which a special Air Unit, which had been established on a Territorial Force basis, worked as a training division of the Rhodesia Regiment. During the Second World War many airmen from Rhodesia served with Britain's Royal Air Force in three "Rhodesian" squadrons...numbers 237, 266 and 44...and the Southern Rhodesian Airforce was absorbed gradually by the RAF. In the immediate post-war period, many airmen returned to Rhodesia after de-mobilisation from the British Force and formed the nucleus of what was to become the Rhodesian Airforce following the 1947 Government Gazette Notice which established it as a permanent unit.
Today the Rhodesian Airforce comprises 45 combat aircraft, ranging from Canberra bombers to Hunter and Vampire fighters. There are also 11 Alouette helicopter squadrons used extensively on patrols against guerrilla activity.