Lukie Berchowitz

Tribute page: WW2 SAAF air crew Lukie Berchowitz

Hi and welcome to this page!

I met Dave Berchowitz via the internet. Thanks to Dave who kindly sent to me scans of his father's war photograph album and air gunner's log book. The album has a most interesting and rare set of photo's shot during the East African campaign.

Dave also sent an interesting and well researched writing written by him of his dad's war experience. This document is also published on the site.

Solomon Berchowitz joined the SAAF in early 1940 and finished the Air Gunner's course at Youngsfield, Wynberg. 

In early 1941 Lukie was posted to 41 squadron for operational service, stationed in East Africa.

During this time Lukie had an eventful tour as a Hawker Hartebeest gunner and flew a substantial amount of operational sorties.

41 Squadron was a key player in the Ethiopian campaign with Army support duties. Sorties flown were mainly for enemy reconnaissance, -bombing and -strafing.  

Lukie returned to the Union in October 1941 and embarked on a pilot's course. He qualified as a pilot in 1943 and was then involved with pilot training until the end of the war.

Lukie : getting his Air Gunner wings  December1940


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 Lukie, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. 

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

July 2016

Hawker Hartebeest displayed at the  military museum in Johannesburg.

Gunners position in the Hawker Hartebeest aircraft

Click HERE to view Lukie's Flying Log Book.

Click HERE to view Lukie's photograph album.

Click HERE to view  Lukie's war story. 

Returning from a raid: East Africa 1941

Squadron Logo designed by Lukie

Flying instructor 1943-1945

Harvard trainer

Message from Janice Harmse posted on Face Book 18 Sept. 2016

I would like to share my dignifiable experience which I was privileged enough to be a part of...

Yesterday I had a 2 hour interview with a 101 year old war veteran, his name is Mr Shuttleworth. This man was a pilot in the 2nd World War who fought alongside my grandfather Mr Luke Solomon Berchowitz, who was also a pilot as well as an air gunner, both men were part of Squadron 41.

Mr Shuttleworth's memory astounded me, the remarkable recollection of events and the detail thereof. I must be honest, I have never had a personal interest in learning about history and the wars, but given this opportunity to listen to someone's personal story from WW2 places me in a completely difference place, to learn more and understand the depths of his stories.

Mr Shuttleworth is a proud man, strong and courageous. He has moved me! Sitting in his lounge, having tea and biscuits (which he, as a gentleman insisted on preparing all on his own). Getting to know his life story. The amount of memories from 101 years of life is quite extraordinary, something us "modern day" people can learn from and about.

This morning, I received a phone call from him, thanking me for my visit and the time I spent with him. We continued chatting about the article which my Uncle David Berchowitz had written in year 2010, "A SAAF Air Gunner in East Africa 1941", was described by Mr Shuttleworth as "a story which could have been my own". He further describes Lukie Berchowitz as "a man with great character", based on the letters, notes and captions on photographs he wrote home. Unfortunately he cannot recall Lukie in person.

In our phone call today, he asked to see me again before I leave the Northern Cape, to show me what he does from day to day. He developed a Youth Hostel in Kimberley called Gumtree, which he is actively involved with. He is also part of the Rotary Club in Kimberley. His reason for such involvement is to continue keeping busy mentally, physically and psychologically and keeping his mind stimulated. This is absolutely amazing! I feel honoured to NOW be a part of this special person's life.

And I thank my Uncle David Berchowitz for involving me in his hard work and passion for exploring this part of his father's life (Mr Lukie Berchowitz), and the great lengths of detail to which he goes in putting all the parts of the puzzle together. Also, thank you to my mom Jackie Berchowitz for putting your trust in me.

I walked into Mr Shuttleworth's house with ignorance and cluelessness, yet leaving with inspiration, admiration and a new friend. My life has been enriched and this is what I live for, everyday.


Janice Harmse & Lawrie Shuttleworth

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