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3 Wing SAAF
Douglas Boston 24SAAF Libya.jpg
Douglas Boston light bomber of 24 Squadron, 3 (SA) Wing: 1943
Active 1939 to 1945
Country  South Africa
Branch South African Air Force
Role Light Bomber Wing
Commander Col. H.G. Wilmot (28 Aug 1941 - )[1]
Ceremonial chief Col H.J. Martin ( - May 1943)[2]
Commander Col. J.T. Durant (28 April 1943 - )[2]

No. 3 (S.A.) Wing was a South African Air Force commanded formation during World War II that served in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. It was formed on 28 August 1941 and initially consisted of Royal Air Force and South African Air Force squadrons under South African command, known as No. 261 Medium Bomber Wing but became a fully fledged South African formation on 23 September 1942 when No. 55 Squadron RAF and No. 223 Squadron RAF were transferred from 3 (S.A.) Wing to No. 232 Wing RAF and it became known as No. 3 (South Africa) Wing.[3] This left 12, 21 and 24 Squadrons SAAF as its assigned units.[lower-alpha 1][4]


A 3 (SA) Wing Boston taking off in the Western Desert, 1942

It was designated as a light bomber wing and its squadrons flew Boston Mk IIIs and Marauder Mk II bombers in North Africa until 1943. The Wing was assigned a company of infantry for ground protection which was initially provided by South African forces and by a Free French company as from end April 1942.[5]

Organisation and Squadrons


  1. Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Longmore proposed the formation of the first South African Air force Wing and later, perhaps a SAAF Group within the RAF organisational structure. Such a Group however never came into existence and although the SAAF fielded two operational wings in North Africa, they were never deployed as a group or as an independent air force.[4]


  1. Brown, James Ambrose (1974). Eagles Strike: The Campaigns of the South African Air Force in Egypt, Cyrenaica, Libya, Tunisia, Tripolitania and Madagascar: 1941 - 1943. Cape Town: Purnell. p. 66. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Brown (1974) p. 401
  3. Brown (1974) p. 66-67
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brown (1974), pp. 14
  5. Brown (1974) p.135
  6. Shores, Christopher; Massimello, Giovanni (2012). A history of the Mediterranean Air War: 1940-1945. Volume 1: North Africa: June 1940-January 1942. London: Grub Street. p. 293. ISBN 9781908117076. 

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