Paul Kruger

 Tribute site: WW2 Beaufighter Pilot Paul Kruger

Hi and welcome to this site;

I obtained the contact detail of Paul from my friend Yuri Maree. In late 2014 I visited Paul and his wife, Joan, at their house in Johannesburg and had the most wonderful video interview with Paul. Paul kindly allowed me to photograph his war documents and memorabilia.

Thanks to Paul and Joan for their kindness during my visit and also to Paul for telling his war stories in front of the camera. Thanks to Lyn (Paul's daughter) who helped with arrangements. Thanks to Simon Younger (son of Paul's navigator, Bill Younger) and Joni van Olst (Paul's daughter) who sent photographs.

Pieter Johannes Badenhorst "Paul" Kruger joined the Air Force in 1941. He was trained as a twin engine pilot. He was initially stationed in Cape Town as a ferry pilot. New assembled aircraft were delivered to air schools all over South Africa. 

In 1944 he was sent to the Middle East and received training on rocket firing Beaufighters. He was posted to SAAF No. 19 squadron stationed in Italy. From there 19 Squadron pilots flew operations to targets in the Balkans on mainly shipping- and ground attack sorties.  

Paul and his navigator, F/O Bill Younger, were shot down over Yugoslavia on 9 February 1945. Both became POW's but Bill subsequently escaped.

Paul was kept as prisoner in Nuremberg and also took part in the POW marches right at the end of the war.

After the war, Paul had a long and successful career as a farmer in the old Transvaal province.

                                                                   Joan an Paul:  2014                                                                                                                                      1945 


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 Paul, 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

February 2015




 SAAF 19 Squadron Beaufighter (photo thanks to Simon Younger)

Military Career (unfortunately Paul's log book got lost in the squadron while he was POW in Germany and hence no dates)

      1941        Joined the South African Air Force

        ?             75 Air School Lyttleton, ground training

        ?             6 Air School Potchefstroom, elementary flying training, Tiger Moths

        ?             22 Air School Vereeniging, service flying training, Hawker Harts.

        ?             26 Air School Pietersburg, service flying training on twin engined aircraft, Oxfords

        ?             Brooklyn station, Cape Town, Ferry pilot.

        ?             79 OTU Cyprus,Middle East, conversion and training on rocket firing Beaufighters

Oct. 1944      SAAF 19 Squadron operational service flying Beaufighters. 26 Operations. Stationed at Termoli, Italy. Most sorties were flown to the Balkans. At times Paul's aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Types of sorties included attacks against enemy ships, buildings, transports, armour, artillery and troop formations. See list of Paul's operations below.

09/02/1944    Shot down by enemy fire, forced landed, captured by the Ustasi/Germans. Kept as prisoner of war in Germany until being liberated by American troops in June 1945.



 Paul and his trusted navigator F/O Bill Younger.












Some pilots at 19 squadron: Paul in the middle row left


List of Sorties flown by Paul with navigator F/O Bill Younger (26)

(Information obtained from 19 Squadron war diaries)

 24/10/1944   Attack barracks at Bjelovar (A)

25/10/1944    Attack on Bjelovar, raid aborted due to 0 visibility (Z)

31/10/1944    Search missing aircraft off Caprara island, nothing found. (Q)

04/11/1944   Shipping sweep Podgoriski channel, no ships sighted (Y)

05/11/1944    Attack on barracks at Tirana (Z)

07/11/1944    Attack on barracks at Tirana (Z)

15/11/1944    Attack on barracks at Tirana (Z)

20/11/1944    Attack a bridge at Podgorica (Z)

22/11/1944    Attack rolling stock at Kutina (Z)

02/12/1944    Enemy barracks at Bjelovar (Z)

04/12/1944    Attack buildings in Gracac (P)

06/12/1944   Attack buildings in Gracac (Z)

08/12/1944    Attack marshalling yards at Karlucac, aborted due to bad weather (Z)

15/12/1944    Attack Motor Transports on road to Matesevo (Z)

18/12/1944    Attack 400 ton Schooner at Karlobag (Z) AC struck by debris from explosion in jetty. overcast

26/12/1944    Attack petrol dump at Ljuboljana (Z)

03/01/1945    Attack Marshalling yards at Karlovac (Z) Paul turned back to base due to excessive  oil pressure

05/01/1945    Attack coastal guns at Lussin island (Z)

18/01/1945    Attack MB hide out at Lussin Island.  (Z)

20/01/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Sanski Marof    (E)

24/01/1945    Attack barracks at Gidale Cove. (F)

27/01/1945    27/01/1945    Attack midget submarine dump at Lussino Island(F)

01/02/1945     On way to attack Zuzemberk but prevented by bad weather.

17/01/1945    Attack village of Zuzemberk (Z)

07/02/1945     Attack Marshalling yards at Karlovac (Z)

09/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards and  sent to destroy oil/petroleum  tanks at Banova Jaruga, shot down, made a forced landing. (Z)


Photographs of 16- and 19 squadron aircraft who were on raids to the same targets as Paul's sorties.

Attack  barracks at Tirana.

Attack rolling stock at Kutina

Attack barracks at Bjelovar.

Attack buildings at Gtacac

Attack guns at Lussino Island

Attack village of Zuzemberk

Attack rolling stock at Karlovac

SHOT DOWN  9/2/1945

 War diary monthly report  Feb 1945

 War diary sortie report 9/2/1945

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