Dad was demobbed from the SAAF early in 1946, having just started his second SAAF logbook. He spent the next 2 years or so in Boksburg, near Johannesburg, where his older brother (my uncle Chris, who was a mine blaster), had organised him a job on the gold mines. It was dark, grimy, dangerous, backbreaking work, and not very inspiring for someone who loved to fly. Dad spent his spare time flying light aircraft whenever he could, and it must have been a strange contrast - from high above the earth to deep below it.
But things were soon to change.
The RAF had lost so many pilots during WWII that running a peacetime Air Force was proving difficult, and so they offered commissions to many of the pilots they had trained in the then Commonwealth forces. Dad was one of these, and towards the end of 1947 he left South Africa again, this time to join the RAF (Transport Command) with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. He was posted to RAF Bircham Newton, and pulled off his first "Proficient" rating almost immediately. He was just in time for what is undoubtedly the greatest humanitarian achievement in the history of aviation: the Berlin Airlift.
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