Denis Taylor

 WW2 Spitfire Pilot Tribute Page: Denis Taylor 

Hi and welcome to this site!

I met Denis last year and made visits to his home in Cape Town. He kindly agreed to be video interviewed and also allowed me to copy his war photographs and flying log book. All of these are presented on this web site.

Denis joined the SAAF in March 1942. He finished his training in mid 1944 and was sent up North flying with No. 10 and No. 4 fighter squadrons. He saw operational service in Italy  flying Spitfires doing mostly dive-bombing and ground strafing missions. He eventually had to bail from his Spitfire due to engine failure and  spent the last three weeks of the war as a POW in Germany.

After the war Denis qualified  as an industrial chemist at UCT and had a successful career in the explosives industry until his retirement in 1986.

Wings parade 1943 


This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Denis in some of his units, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of No. 4 and No. 10 squadrons while Denis was with them.

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during ww2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

January 2013


 November 2012 at Slaley wine estate

 

 

 Military Career

01/04/1942   Basic training as an Air Pupil at Lyttleton

23/02/1943   EFTS Benoni No. 4 Air School flying Tiger Moths

11/05/1943   SFTS Standerton No. 25 Air School, Miles Masters

24/09/1943   Obtain wings

19/10/1943   11 OTU Waterkloof, flying Kittyhawks

01/08/1944   SAAF No. 10 Squadron, North Africa, Spitfires

03/12/1944   SAAF No. 4 Squadron, Italy, Spitfires.

20/03/1945  Bailed and made POW




 

 

Denis with his mom. 

 

 

 

 

Denis and me at the Caterpillar club event at Slaley wine estate in November 2012. I am holding an Irvin seat parachute, similar that Denis jumped with nearly 70 years ago.



VIDEO INTERVIEW (October 2012)

 


 

CLICK HERE TO SEE DENIS' WAR STORY

CLICK HERE TO SEE DENIS' FLYING LOG BOOK

CLICK HERE TO VIEW DENIS' 10 SQDN PHOTOGRAPHS

ClICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOGRAPHS OF DENIS' VISIT TO SLALEY WINE ESTATE IN NOV 2012


 

 Denis getting his canvas wall mount; January 2013.



SAAF No. 10 FIGHTER SQUADRON, NORTH AFRICA  1944

Denis was with 10 squadron from July 1944 to October 1944.  The squadron was disbanded during October 1944. They were stationed at Idku in Egypt and then at Savoia near Benghazi in Libya. The squadron had Spitfire Mk. IX's. Their commander was Maj.  "Zulu" Swales, a veteran of the intense Malta air battles.

10 Squadron was a kind of reserve unit and they only flew some uneventful missions over Crete.

 



 

 In the desert at Savoia aerodrome.


F.l.R. Denis, George Segalla, Chick Fryer.
Top: Johnny du Toit.  

 

Spitfire Mk. IX of No. 10 squadron

 

Spitfires Mk IX at Savoia  and unpainted Mk XIII's.. 


 

OC Maj. "Zulu" Swales, veteran of the Malta- and desert battles.



SAAF No. 4 FIGHTER SQUADRON, ITALY  1944 -1945


 

SAAF No. 4 FIGHTER SQUADRON, ITALY  1944 -1945

Denis joined 4 squadron in Italy on 30 November 1944 at Bellaria near Rimini. By then 4 squadron was a well experienced combat unit as they were operational since 1941. The OC at that time was Maj. "Zulu" Swales but he was shortly relieved of his duties and replaced by Maj. Wally Brunton.

Denis flew mainly bombing, strafing and recce missions. The harsh winter of Dec-Jan 1944/'45 restricted normal air activities for some time but in early 1945 operations normalized. The squadron moved from Rimini to Forli and then to Ravenna in 1945.

On the 20th of March 1945 with his 39th mission Denis experienced engine failure and bailed behind enemy lines. He was made a prisoner of war and spent the last few weeks of the war in Germany.


4 Squadron Spitfire IX  (Thanks Brent Best for art work)

 


4 Squadron Spitfires in Italy 1944

 

 Winter, December 1944, Italy


4 Squadron pilots:

Back: Theo Volimer, John Martin, Denis Taylor

Middle: George Segalla, Ray Davey, Wally Brunton (OC), Ray Bosch, "Coffee" Raine, Graco de Graaf, Nico de Jongh

Front: Les Bloch, "Junior" Carter, Tony Harris, "Cocky" Cochraine-Murray

 


OC Maj. Wally Brunton

 

 
 

 

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