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African Aviation Series
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01 AT-6 Harvard
02 The Eagles of Zwartkop
03 Canberra
04 Eye in the Sky
05 African Air Forces
06 Chopper Pilot
07 Passion for Flight
08 2 Squadron in Korea
09 Rhodesian Air Force
10 Serve to Save
11 Springbok Fighter Victory 1
12 The men who went to Warsaw
13 85 Years of the SAAF
14 Sweeping circles in the sky
15 Douglas C-47 Dakota in SAAF
16 Helicopters of the SAAF
17 17 Squadron
18 Zero Error Margin
20 Springbok Fighter Victory 2
22 Silver Falcons - 40 Years
23 Cheetah
24 Springbok Fighter Victory 3
25 Springbok Fighter Victory 4
26 Springbok Fighter Victory 5

African Aviation Series No. 3
CANBERRA in Southern Africa Service
Michael Hamence & Winston Brent
ISBN 0958388040

The book is in two parts – the first 50 pages covers the history of the Canberra in Rhodesian Air Force service and the next 39 pages covers the history of the South African Air Force Canberras that served with 12 Squadron. It reveals for the first time South Africa’s interest to investigate and evaluate before purchase of 8 British Handley Page Victor “V” bombers. It is A4, with 96 pages and 7 colour pages and plenty of B&W photographs.


We’re not sure who Michael Hamence is, but Winston Brent is well known amongst the aircraft spotting fraternity for his unique guide to African air forces. The guide is a masterful example of tedious research and the Canberra book reflects a similar level of study. Unlike many locally published books this one contains some amusing anecdotes of Rhodesian Cannies.

Being a spotter Winston pays special attention to tail numbers with a faithful record of all aircraft supplied to the Royal Rhodesian Air Force and South Africa. Whilst the Rhodesian era is related in considerable detail, we couldn’t help feeling that there must be many more stories about SAAF ops. Indeed the book seems to run out of steam beyond the initial acquisition stage during the mid-sixties.

One interesting revelation is the SAAF’s evaluation of the Handley Page Victor Bomber, which the South African government came close to ordering – indeed serial numbers were allocated before the decision was made to go ahead with Canberras. There are also hints in the South African section of more covert operations.

It’s known for instance that SAAF Cannies on occasion flew on behalf of the Rhodesian Air Force and the book makes no mention of this.

There is no mention of Classic Jet’s Canberra which crashed not long after it was flown to Cape Town.

There are some intriguing never before published photos, in particular the shots of the Russian satellite tracking ship, Kapushka, which was intercepted off the Eastern Cape in 1989.

Nevertheless it’s a book which I couldn’t put down and it’s at a reasonable price too.