Attie Botha Photographs


Botha, Lt. Adriaan Jacobus "Attie"

Operational service:

East Africa, North Africa 1941 

Killed in action:  14/6/1941

Credit: Thanks to Yuri Maree who made the scans of Attie's Album at the house of the late Flip Botha, Attie's younger brother, 2012

Yuri also provided  the captions...thanks Yuri!

 These photographs originate from the private collection of Attie Botha. It was kindly made available by Flip Botha and scanned by Yuri Maree. I  placed the photographs on this web site in order to share these gems to enthusiasts and the wider public. 

Please respect the copy rights of these photographs and contact me to obtain the necessary permission if you want to duplicate some of this material in other web sites or printed matter.


Tinus le Roux

February 2016


1  Attie with a DH 60G Moth, at Stamford Hill in Durban in 1938/9. This aircraft later crashed at Brooklyn (cape Town) on 22.2.40 klilling the civilian instructor HL Jacques.

2  With a DH 90 Dragonfly, also at Stamford Hill

3  Attie (right) with his close friend from flight training, John Sayers, after getting their wings. Sayers started ops flying in 2 Sq shortly after Attie was killed, and was later Captain and Flt Commander in 2 SQ.

6   DH 82 Tiger Moth

7  Epic and very rare photograph of a SAAF Hurricane in Cape Town (+-1940)

8 Attie in front, this was at Stamford Hill in 1939. Left rear may be a bloke named ROCHFORD


9  Westland Wapitis at Stamford Hill aerodrome in Durban (site of the big soccer World Cup stadium today)


10 Tiger Moth crashes 


11  a stock photo as far as I know, of a SAA Ju52 at Rand Airport. May be "photoshopped"


12  DH 60 Moth at Stamford Hill, with Hurricane taking off behind




14 Unknown pilot at Natal Aviation with DH82 Tiger Moth


15 You're not going to believe this! At Stamford Hill 1939, DH9 no.2005, which is in the SA War museum in Joburg today. 


16 Tiger Moth


17 Natal Aviation staff and aircraft at Stamford Hill. N.A. was one of several private flying schools that trained pilots on contract to the SAAF before the war. 




19 Tiger Moth at Stamford Hill


20 This was some airshow - maybe the start of the President's Cup air race,  At Stamfoed Hill 

Tail in front is DH89A Dragon Rapide, later no. 1560 in SAAF service

BTW - all the civvy planes seen in these photos (and all in SA)  were impressed into military service after the war broke out.



21  Attie left, with a Moth Minor. Man on right is his uncle, who used to be an army officer but resigned This was after he got his A licence and was able to take passengers up. 

PS. just dug this up - it was on 29 December 1939, with Moth Minor ZS-ARE  his uncle J.Botha. Maybe the DVR will have his actual name, that's on my old computer in SA that's on its way here soon. 


22 Shortly before he got his wings, this is a Hawker Hart which he flew at Zwartkops and then Kimberley when the "Service Flying Training School" was moved from ZK to Kimberley. My guess is Kimberley, Zwartkops surface was a bit more developed - this looks like raw veld! This would have been May or June 1940, if Kimberley it was June. 

 PS i've managed to sort out the training process from a book Alan gave me - just before the war started, up to June 1940, training was VERY confused - the JATS started and many training units were closed, renamed, moved etc, and many new ones opened. ,The "Air Schools" were created in Nov 1940, if I remember right. ie. 1 Air School Baragwanath, 21 at Kimberley, 22 at Vereeniging etc. Interesting but minute details


23 Refeulling a Gladiator






26 In a Hurricane cockpit


27 Attie on the right










32 L to R : Attie, ?, Ken Driver, Bob Talbot.

















40 was in Khartoum, Sudan when he and 5 others  first arrived there - forget the date now, early January 1941 IIRC. (PS looked it up, it was 3 January 1941) They went sailing immediately, and these was taken that day. Note the ID bracelet on his left arm in photo 41. His girlfriend had given it to him just before he left for Kenya in Oct 1940 (?)  and that's what his remains were  identified by when they found his crashed Hurricane in the desert. Phillip had it, and I handled it and examined it. regret not taking a photo of it. Still in perfect shape except the chain was broken  (Yuri Maree)




42 Taken from the balcony of the Cecil Hotel in Alexandria, Egypt. It was a popular hotel for officers in from the desert, in fact Montgomery later sort of claimed it. We stayed there too, I have identical photos to this one, taken in 2012. Attie stayed there the night of the 5th June, 9 days before he was killed. He flew a Hurricane to Amriya from Sidi Haneish for some reason, and spent the night in the Cecil (Alex was only 25 km up the road from Amriya). (Yuri Maree)


43 99% sure it's Amriya airfield. Last two times in Egypt we drove right through it - the base was  on both sides of the Cairo-Alex road, and didn't even know it. There's a toll gate right by it now, and I remember that - but it's totally flat, so unless you know where to look it's just another piece of desert! Next time will explore, I have it pinpointed. (Yuri Maree)


44 Poignant photos, the last ever taken of him. 44) was 10 May 1941, after arrival at Sidi Haneish South LG, pitching tents. Records (WD) say it was 49C that day but I think it may have been 39C, from having been there within a week of the date,(38 or 39 seems to be the normal temp that time of year, I recorded temp, sunrise, sunset, wind, etc for several days while there, for background info).  and because I know that in 49C heat, you'll die if you work like that! It gets that hot here in summer. Either way, it was HOT, and they got a bit of a shock as to their new home - that was recorded in several places!. 45) was the next day 11 May when he dug the slit trench outside the tent.  


So 45 was the last photo of him, 11 May 1941 

(Yuri Maree)






Make a free website with Yola