South African Air Force - Cap Badge

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Norman Williamson
7/21/2001
Note that the badge has SAAF - SALM on the bottom of the scroll. The "S.A.L.M" stands for: "SUID AFRIKAANSE LUG MAG", which, translated into English becomes:- "SOUTH AFRICAN AIR FORCE"

Some background information on the script:

The town and seaport of Cape Town in South Africa was originally colonised towards the end of the 17th century by the Dutch East India company as a stopping-off point for ships on their way to India and the Far East. The settlers came from Holland, called themselves "Afrikaaners" and their language became known as "Afrikaans". However, the natives of South Africa gave the settlers a very hard time, and they were forced to move inland and away from Cape Town. In those far-off Victorian days, Britain was always looking for somewhere to extend the British Empire, and so promptly moved into Cape Town with a large army and forced the natives to move inland and away from the seaport. There was then a war between the British and the Afrikaaners (whom by now had been christened the "Boers" by the British) which lasted for several years. Eventually peace was restored in 1901, with power being shared between settlers from England and the Boers/Afrikaaners, the official languages being English and Afrikaans - hence "SAAF" and "SALM"

The background on this badge and its owner:

The Commanding Officer of Number 47 Advanced Air Navigational School where I graduated (Queenstown) was a Colonel in the S.A.A.F. His 2 i/c was an R.A.F Officer. The School instructors (all commissioned Officers) were a mixture of R.A.F and S.A.A.F, as were the Staff Pilots. The Ground Maintenance Crew were all R.A.F men. The clerical and mess hall staff were all women and they were members of the South African Women's Air Force, but they did not have separate cap badges - the ones they wore were the same as the S.A.A.F men, exactly like the one I sent you a photograph of recently. (Note: pictured above)

How did I come to have a S.A.A.F cap badge in my possession? Well, in 1944, I was an Air Cadet at 47 A.A.N School, Queenstown, for just over 4 months, and during that time became friendly with a South African W.A.F girl. When I graduated and the time came for me to leave the Air School we exchanged one of our 2 cap badges (I had to report it "lost" at the next kit inspection - ha ha!) We wrote to each other occasionally for a few months after that, but overseas mail was very uncertain in war-time. Later on when I got engaged to a local girl, Joyce, who I had known since we were both 18, I wrote and told my S.A. girl friend. Some time later she wrote back and said she was also engaged, to an R.A.F airman who lived in Northern Ireland, and we never corresponded again. I married Joyce early in 1945, whilst the war was still on. We had over 51 years of happy marriage, and were blessed with 2 children and 2 grand-children. I have been a widower for 5 years now, and have often wondered what happened to my South African friend. Did she stay on in South Africa after the war, or did she marry her fiance and move to Northern Ireland?

Thanks to Norman Williamson for this information and image!

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Aviation Wings and Badges of World War II