Owen McCarthy

 Fighter Pilot Owen McCarthy: tribute web site

Hi and welcome to this site;

I met Cathy Schröder (nee McCarthy), daughter  of Owen McCarthy via my niece Annette Kunz. Cathy was so kind to let me scan her father's log book, war photographs and other documentation. Ian Noble-Jack was a nephew of Owen and he assisted with photo copies of Owen's log book and documentation. 


Rhynas Owen McCarthy joined the SAAF as pupil pilot  in March 1941. After qualifying as a fighter pilot he was sent to the Middle East  and joined up with No. 5 fighter Squadron stationed in North Africa. 

Owen had an eventful combat tour and was claimed shot down by the German ace Hans Joachim Marseille. This was a mistake from the German: according to the 5 squadron war diaries Owen was attacked and shot up that specific day but came back to make a safe landing at base with a category 2 damaged aircraft. 

During this time 5 Squadron participated in the fierce Alamein battles and  also with the advance that chased the Germans off African soil.

In 1943 the squadron moved over to Italy  but Owen's tour expired in  November that year when he was sent back to South Africa.

Owen flew operations in Tomahawk and Kittyhawk aircraft in different kinds of sorties including dive-bombing missions. 

After the war Owen  had a successful  career  as a CA in a large fruit processing company.


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 Owen in 5 squadron, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of No. 5 squadron while Owen 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

August 2013

Military Career 

07/03/1941    Joined SAAF

14/03/1941    75 Air School ground training

10/11/1941    3 Air School Elementary flying training, Tiger Moth

05/01/1942    23 Air School I.T.S., Hawker Hart/Hind

03/03/1942    23 Air School A.T.S., Hawker Hart/Hind

24/04/1942    Qualified for wings

24/04/1942    Promoted to 2/Lieutenant

25/05/1942    26 Air School, Pietersburg, Miles Master

03/07/1942    M.A.F.

28/07/1942    SAAF Almaza Base Depot,  Egypt

10/08/1942    233 Wing Depot, Egypt, Operational training, Tomahawk

26/08/1942    SAAF 5 Squadron

31/08/1942    First Operational flight

07/09/1942    Aircraft damaged by aerial attack, made safe landing at base, cat II damage, Claimed by Marseille as a kill.

12/09/1942    Engine failure, forced landing outside base

24/10/1942    Promoted to 1st Lieutenant

20/04/1943    Part of rudder shot off by ground fire, Cape Bon

21/05/1943    Squadron taken a break from operations

29/08/1943    Squadron move to Italy, perform numerous ground attack sorties causing substantial damage.

20/11/1942   Operational Tour Expired, return to South Africa, total of 113 sorties and 186 ops hours.

03/04/1944    CFS Bloemfontein

20/08/1944    7 Air School Kroonstad

15/11/1944    6 Air School Potchefstroom



In the desert 1942 





Thanks to collector Paul Roos who own's the medals and sent me the photographs. Thanks also for the fine restoration and display of the medal group.

Medal set: 1939-1945 Star, Africa Star, Italy Star, War Medal, Africa Service Medal


Name stamping on the War medal and the Africa Service Medal.


 Silver bracelet plate, probably made in Cairo.



 5 Squadron Tomahawks in the desert

 5 Squadron Kitty-bomber in Italy

 Photograph in Owen's album showing 5 squadron pilots mocking with the enemy regime...




Documents forwarded to me by Ian Noble-Jack, thanks Ian.

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