4 October 1940

4 October 1940

Northern Front

In the morning, Captain Brian J. L. Boyle (N5852), Lieutenant Andrew Duncan and Servaas de Kock Viljoen of No.1 (SAAF) Squadron take off from the Azaza Airfield to conduct a patrol in the Azaza – Gallabat area.

Above the Metemma border post, the Gladiator Gladiators are cruising three Fiat CR.42 of 412a Squadriglia CT. In the ensuing fight, Lieutnant Servaas de Kock Viljoen quickly managed to hit an opposing aircraft, which fell into flames while the pilot managed to jump. It could be Sergeant Ottavio Bracci who, injured, is forced to parachute. On the other hand, if Captain Brian J.L. Boyle is also able to claim a damaged aircraft, his own plane is hit in combat. Sottotenente Fiorindo Rosmino claims a victory (although not confirmed) on an enemy fighter.[1]

The French attached to No.8 (RAF) Squadron continue their flights with the Glenn-Martin 167F No. 102 (Flight Lieutenant Jacques Dodelier, Warrant Officer Yves Trecan, Flight Sergeant Ronan Michel, Flight Sergeant Robert Cunibil). The mission is a success and according to the report, five Savoia-Marchetti SM.79, a Caproni Ca.133 are sighted on the airfield of Dire Dawa, as well as three Fiat CR.32 and a Caproni Ca.133. An Italian fighter tries to intercept the French aircraft, but without success.[2]

Lieutenant Brian J.L. Boyle and his N5852. The photograph is believed to have been taken on 5 November 1940 at the “Heston” forward field in Sudan. Collection : SAAF Museum, via Tinus le Roux

[1] Brian J.L. Boyle : Logbook ; BROWN J. A. A gathering of Eagles, the campaigns of the South African Air Force in Italian East Africa 1940 – 1941. Cape Town : Purnell, 1970. p. 85 ; GUSTAVSSON H., SLONGO L. Gladiator vs CR.42 Falco (1940 – 1941). Botley : Osprey, 2012. p. 57 ; SCHOEMAN M. Springbok Fighter Victory – Volume 1 : East Africa (1940 – 1941). Nelspruit : Freeworld Publications, [s.d.]. p. 43 et 136 ; SHORES C., RICCI C. « East Africa ». In : Dust Clouds in the Middle East – The Air War for East Africa, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Madagascar, 1940 – 1942. London : Grub Street, 2010. p. 65 et 66 ; SUTHERLAND J., CANWELL D. Air War East Africa 1940 – 1941. The RAF versus the Italian Air Force. Barnsley : Pen & Sword, 2009. p. 68 ; GUSTAVSSON H. « Captain Servaas de Kock Viljoen ». In : Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War : http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/commonwealth_viljoen.htm ; GUSTAVSSON H. « Lieutenant Colonel Brian John Lister ‘Piggy’ Boyle ». In : Biplane Fighter Aces from the Second World War : http://surfcity.kund.dalnet.se/commonwealth_boyle.htm

[2] « 4 october 1940 », No.8 (RAF) Squadron : Operations Record Book (Form 540 and Form 541). Kew : TNA, [s.d.].AIR 27 / 114 p ; MORIEULT Yves. « Les French Flights, des escadrilles françaises au sein de la RAF ». Aéro Journal. Novembre 2003. n°33, p. 14.


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