Wilbur Wannenburg

SAAF Liberator Air Gunner Tribute site: Wilbur Wannenburg 

Hi and welcome to this site!

I met Wannie in April this year at his home in Cape Town. Thanks to Elize Grobbelaar of  SAAF museum Ysterplaat who gave me Wannie's contact detail. Wannie kindly agreed to be video interviewed and also allowed me to scan his war photographs. He  gave me copies of his war story and all his service documents. 

 Italy, 1945

Cape Town , 2013

Wilbur Wannenburg joined the SAAF in February 1944 and qualified as an Air Gunner in October '44.  He was transferred to SAAF No. 34  heavy bomber squadron, stationed  at Celone airfield near Foggia in Italy. The squadron flew B-24 J Consolidated Liberator aircraft. Wannie served a successful  combat tour of  25 operational sorties until the war ended in May 1945. 

After the war Wannie  had a long and successful career in the City Council of Cape Town and retired in 1984.

Thanks Wannie for your kindness during my visits and also thanks for allowing me to video interview you and to copy all your war photographs.

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 Wannie in 34 squadron, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. Most welcome will be any photographs of No. 34 squadron while Wannie 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

May 2013



                                                                         SAAF 34 Squadron Logo         


 Military Service

07/02/1944    Sign up to the SAAF

21/02/1944    75 Air School, Pretoria, Air pupil course

14/09/1944    43 Air School Port Alfred, Air Gunnery course, 19 hours on Anson aircraft

27/10/1944    Obtain Air Gunner qualification badge, promoted to F/SGT

27/10/1944    Transferred to MAFD

23/11/1944    To Middle East, SAAF Base Depot in Almaza, Egypt

06/12/1944    Transferred to SAAF Advance Training Centre in Italy

16/12/1944    SAAF No.34 Squadron, Celone, Foggia, Italy 25 ops in Liberators. Mainly night bombing missions but also a few day supply drops. Flew missions to Udine, Pola, Flotsam, Verona, Graz, Brecia, Casarsa, Treviso, Monfalcone, Bruck, Pragersko, Villach, Dabova, Arsa, Novska and Freilassing in the following countries: Italy, Austria, Germany, Yugoslavia and Croatia.  

16/12/1944    Promoted to WOII

20/08/1945    Posted to SAAF BD, Egypt

25/01/1946    Return to South Africa

12/03/1946    Demobilized


After the war. 

Note Wannie's 34 squadron badge pinned on his left pocket. 





Wannie flew many missions with this Liberator, "F", ser. no.  KL367


  • Back standing left to right:
     Lt Clarry Land – (Wireless Op),
    Lt Puxley ( Pux) - ( 2nd Pilot),
    Capt Val Andries - ( Pilot),
    Pilot Officer Jeff Willis RAF – (Bomb Aimer),
    Lt Andy Anderson -( mid upper Gunner),
    Lt Bill Holden – (Navigator)

    Front left to right:
    WOII Wilbur Wannenburg ( Wannie) – ( beam Gunner) and 
    Sgt Paddy Walsh RAF - (Rear Gunner)


 Wannie getting his Air Gunner half-wing at  Port Alfred, 43 A/S.

 Grenville Doke and Wannie at Almaza SAAF base camp Egypt.

Capt. Andries with crew:  Wannie in his beam gun position. 

Back LtoR: PO Jeff Willis (RAF)- Bomb Aimer; Lt Bill Holden(SAAF) - Navigator; Capt Val Andries(SAAF) - Skipper; Lt Clarry Land (SAAF) - Wireless Op;

Lt Andy Anderson ( SAAF) - Mid Upper Gunner; 

Front LtoR: Lt Puc Luxley ( SAAF) - 2d Pilot; Sgt Paddy Walsh (RAF) - Rear Gunner;

Up in the Beam: WOII Wilbur(Wannie) Wannenburg (SAAF) - Beam Gunner.

Consolidated Liberator 24-J 

Thanks to Brent Best for the art work.

Hits since 20 May 2013 

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