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Nairobi, Kenya
I an ex member of both 7 and 8 Squadron's of the Rhodesian war spending most of my operational time on Seven Squadron as a K Car gunner. I was credited for shooting down a fixed wing aircraft from a K Car on the 9 August 1979. This blog is from articles for research on a book which I HAVE HANDED THIS MANUSCRIPT OVER TO MIMI CAWOOD WHO WILL BE HANDLING THE PUBLICATION OF THE BOOK OF WHICH THERE WILL BE VERY LIMITED COPIES AVAILABLE Contact her on yebomimi@gmail.com The latest news is that the Editing is now done and we can expect to start sales and deliveries by the end of April 2011

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Saturday, June 13, 2009

OSSIE PENTON RHAF


Half a Century in Uniform ~ a book about The Life Story of Group Captain O.D. Penton OLM AFC and how he helped form the Rhodesian Air Force includes Spitfire and Cessna Skymaster Ferries across Africa

This is the life story of Ossie Penton, who has been described as a "Journeyman Pilot." When I started preparing the manuscript I was told by him that he did not "really have a story to tell, I am not an "ace of the base" like Douglas Bader or Neville Duke. To me most of war was like a Cook's Tour.

This is the man who flew 114 missions over Malta, the Adriatic, Albania and Italy. He earned his wings with the South African Air Force and then went "Up North" attached to the RAF and flew with the Desert Air Force over the Italian War Theatre.

In his log one comment epitomised the man. He wrote it after he landed from a ground strafing mission in Albania with several bullet holes in his plane. It read: "Hit several times. The Big Twitch!"

When he finally returned to South Africa he could not leave flying alone and emigrated to the then Southern Rhodesia where he joined the Southern Rhodesia Auxiliary Air Force. With that force he took part in the longest ferry of Spitfires ever undertaken, setting the scene and providing the ground work for another ferry some 25 years later. This was the Ferry of 18 Cessna 337G (Skymaster ~ Milirole Ground Attack platform) aircraft from Rheims in France to Salisbury against United Nations sanctions. Both the Ferries are detailed in the book with the original logs from both recorded. The detailed account of how the Rhodesian Aircraft ferried the Skymaster code named the Lynx ~ the aircraft designed especially for operations in Viet Nam includes photographs only published in this book.

Ossie was a founder member of the Rhodesian Air Force and rose to high rank due to his unique personality and his ability as a leader as well as a pilot. He helped train several of the men who became Officers Commanding of the Air Force.

In addition to recording the story of a unique man the book also shows the political climate and events of a turbulent time in South Africa's and Rhodesia's (now Zimbabwe) history.

Ossie finally retired from flying in 1982 after serving with the fledgling Air Force of Zimbabwe. One of his students was at that time the Air Marshal in charge of the Air Force.

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I welcome comments from everyone on my book Choppertech.
I am interested especially on hearing from former ZANLA and ZIPRA combatants who also have thier story to tell.