Air Cadets at Lake Umsingazi

Pat Sligo ------ 29 September 2011

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The air cadets of the Technical High School division of the Natal Technical College, had their first camp at Lake Msingazi during the Michaelmas holidays in Sept 1947, when I was lucky enough to be one of those accepted. Two of us, B. Burnet and I, were from the Matric class, and the other cadets, about 30 in all, were from Standard 9 and 8 (JC) years.

The first flight we had as air cadets in a Sunderland was over Durban and surrounds in 1947, and the second, was when we flew from Congella to Msingazi for a 7 (or 10?) day official cadet camp with 35 Squadron at their old base which was still operating. We had a couple of flips whilst we were there.


Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

The cadets disembark after their first flip in Durban.

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Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

The trip to Msingazi is featured in the local press.

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Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

The cadets at Msingazi after a flight in a Sunderland. Pat Sligo is on the extreme left of the picture.

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A few things that I always remember about that first flight was (1) the start-up, when we were going around in circles in the Congella basin having started one outer engine - there was very little directional control until the other outer engine could be started (2)those big propellers just ticking over while we taxied down Maydon Channel at a steady pace, and (3) then the sheer power and noise of all 4800hp from those Pratt and Whitney engines as we took off in choppy water with the propellers throwing a fair amount of water over the top of the engines and wings.

Believe me, there is just nothing to compare with that surge of power, the noise, vibration, and spray with water being thrown everywhere when a big flying boat takes off - it's great stuff!


Pictures courtesy Pat Sligo.

Sunderlands at Lake Msingazi, left, and a machine at Durban.

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Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

Cadets playing soccer at Lake Msingazi..

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Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

The cadets strike their tents at the conclusion of their spell at the 35 Squadron camp at Lake Msingazi.

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Picture courtesy Pat Sligo.

Back in Durban

A Sunderland of 35 Squadron does a low flypast on two engines at the 1947 airshow in Durban.

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