Steve Stevens

 WW2 SAAF Beaufighter Pilot  Steve Stevens DFC tribute page


Hi and welcome to this site!

I discovered Steve's web site on the internet and was fascinated to have received a quick e-mail reply from Steve after I sent him a message. Steve is 95 years old. Although Steve is in bed and suffering from pain, he kindly agreed to be video interviewed at his home by my friend Neil Pugh in October 2014. 

Thanks to Steve for  telling his story in front of the camera and also thanks to his daughter Pamela who helped with communication and arrangements. a Big thanks to Neil Pugh for doing the video interview.


 

 19 Squadron Beaughfighter mk X "K" flown by Steve on 13/2/1945 against an attack on Zuzemberk in Yugoslavia. (profile image courtesy Stefaan Bouwer)


 

Stephen John Stevens joined the South African Air Force in 1940.  He was selected for flying training. With his final qualification tests Steve obtained top marks in his class. He was subsequently chosen for flying instruction and trained many pupil pilots at Flying Schools in South Africa. 

Steve was eventually transferred to the Middle East (1944) for operational service and placed in SAAF No. 19  Beaufighter squadron, based in Italy. From there they flew operations to targets in the Balkans on mainly shipping- and ground attack sorties.  

Steve flew  combat missions until the end of the war, finishing 43 operational sorties. His aircraft was hit at times by enemy fire but he could always return to base safely. 

He participated in a daring raid where the German mine layer ship  "Kuck-Kuck" was sunk. 

Steve was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his exceptional service.

After the war Steve stayed on in the SAAF  until 1950. Besides flying troops from Cairo back home he also flew DDT tsetse fly spraying flights and participated in the Berlin Airlift of 1948/49.  

Steve then became a member of the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and had a long and eventful career in this organization doing mainly Christian missionary work in Africa.

 1940: SAAF pupil aircrew ground school


Steve's medals including the DFC. (photograph:  Neil Pugh) 


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 Steve, 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

November 2014


With sadness to announce that Steve passed away on the 5th of June 2016.

Condolences to his family and friends.


 

Steve showing the books written by him.  (photograph: Neil Pugh)  The books are a free download on Steve's web site HERE.

 

 

MILITARY CAREER


??/08/1940    Joined the SAAF

August 1940  Lyttleton, ground training

 June 1941    No 1 Air School Baragwaneth, EFT, Tiger Moths

                      No 21  Air School Kimberley, AFT, Hawker Harts

                      Qualified for SAAF flying badge

                      No 64 Air School Bloemfontein, Instructors course for elementary flying

                      No 4  Air School Benoni, Elementary flying instructor, Tiger Moths.

                      No 5 Air School Witbank (grounded)

                      No 24   Air School Nigel (Dunnottar), conversion course to twins, Oxfords

                      No 26 Air School Pietersburg, flying instruction on Oxfords

        1944      Released from flying instruction and was flown to Cairo to be assigned to combat operations in Europe

        1944      OTU Shalufa, Beaufighter conversion course

 Nov 1944     SAAF 19 Squadron operational service flying Beaufighters. 43 operations. Stationed at Termoli, Italy. Most sorties were flown to the Balkans. At times Steve'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 Steve's operations below.

 May 1945     End of operational tour, return to the Union

                      SAAF 28 Transport Squadron, transporting troops from Cairo to South Africa

                      Tsetse Fly DDT spraying Mtubatuba, Natal, Ansons

 1948-'49       Berlin Airlift, Dakotas

       1950       Resigned from the SAAF       


VIDEOS


Video 1: How one of WW2's greatest rocket air strike photographs was taken.


 

Video 2: Sinking of the Kuck-kuck.


 

 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW STEVE'S PHOTOGRAPH SET FROM HIS BOOK "BEAUFIGHTER OVER THE BALKANS" AND OTHERS.



OPERATIONAL SORTIES (43) 

Information from 19 Squadron war diary sortie reports


21/11/1944    First op: Met and Photo recce of a bridge on the way to Sarajevo, bad weather, nil visibility at target.

02/12/1944    Attack barracks at Bjelovar

03/12/1944    Attack coastal defence gun at Lussino island

06/12/1944    Attack enemy held town of Gracac

15/12/1944    Attack  M.T. on road Matesevo

17/12/1944    Attack coastal defence guns at Lussin Piccolo (nav: Lt. Huson)

 18/12/1944    Attack on M.T. on road Bioce Matesevo (nav: Lt. Huson)

22/12/1944    Attack on M.T.B. human torpedo shelter and barracks (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

26/12/1944    Attack reported petrol dump Ljuboljana (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

28/12/1944    Attack marshalling yards at Karlovac (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

04/01/1945    Attack town of Obcina (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

11/01/1945    Attack coastal defence guns at Lussin Piccolo (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

15/01/1945    Attack coastal defence guns at Lussin Piccolo (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

16/01/1945    Attack coastal defence guns at Lussin Piccolo (nav: Lt. Mitchell)

20/01/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Sanski Marof

27/01/1945    Attack midget submarines or dump between wreck Lussin Piccolo

03/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards Sunja  and Novska

05/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Popovaca

08/02/1945    Attack marshalling yards at Prigorje

13/02/1945    Attack enemy town Zuzemberk

15/02/1945    Photo recce of Zolla and Gargaro

18/02/1945    Attack enemy town of Trata (Grovenca Vas)

22/02/1945    Attack enemy town of Vrhovine

23/02/1945    Attack enemy village Vace

24/02/1945    Attack on enemy mine layer ship (Kuck-kuck) in Fiume

27/02/1945    Attack enemy buildings held in Domzale

11/03/1945    Attack on enemy HQ troops in 4 houses Zalga Vas

14/03/1945    Attack rolling stock in Karlovac

15/03/1945    Attack on Gargaro, photo Chiapovao and Tarnova

16/03/1945    Attack  Chiapovano

19/03/1945    Attack  enemy city Trbovlje

21/03/1945    Attack HQ in Podvinje

23/02/1945    Attack barracks at Postumia

25/03/1945    Attack enemy village Zolla and Gargaro Britovo

01/04/1945    Attack strong point

03/04/1945   Attack houses at Trebca, Zuzemberk area

05/04/1945    Attack Eusvaca + Grablje

08/04/1945    Attack  Ogulin

10/04/1945    Attack M.T. between  ? and Zenica

25/04/1945    Attack on enemy village of Klinga Selo

27/04/1945    Attack Zolla, aborted

30/04/1945    Attack Zolla, aborted

04/05/1945    Attack troop areas at Radovljica, last squadron ops

19/05/1945    Departed 


 

SAAF Beaufighters 

 

 

 Steve and Kay on their wedding 1947. They were married for 65  years. Kay went to heaven in 2012.



PHOTOGRAPHS


Steve doing a "beat-up" to his Christian friends camping at Henly-on-klip near Johannesburg, 1942. During that time he was an elementary flying instructor at No.4 Air School Benoni. When Steve saw these photographs afterwards, which was taken by one of his friends, he only then realised the risk he had taken towards his and his pupil's  lives!

 

 

Steve at the Beaufighter Operational Training Unit, Shalufa, Egypt 1944.

 

A  rare SAAF Beaufighter colour photograph, courtesy Julie Geater, who's grandfather was a fellow pilot with Steve in the squadron.

 

The high resolution nose camera fitted to the two South African Beaufighter squadrons. These cameras took brilliant photographs and could be manually controlled by the pilot. Note the 19 Squadron "A" flight logo. 

 

The fabulous photograph of Steve's aircraft during the attack on Zuzemberk taken by Steve's No.2 pilot  Lt. Steve Schonveld on 13/2/1945.


 24 February 1945: Here Steve's rockets rushing towards the German mine layer ship "Kuck-Kuck". It was sunk on that day. Visible in the water are the strike marks of the OC's rockets that caused the fatal sub-waterline hits. Four aircraft flew this dangerous mission and the OC, Lt. Col. Don Tilley, received an immediate DSO when it was confirmed that the ship was sunk. Sortie report below.



Article in the Sunday Mirror newspaper, 2010









Tribute article sent by Pamela Stevens









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