LUGSKOOL VIER SAL EERSTE WEES
Motto: “Vier Sal Eerste Wees”
Unit Publication: “Big Ben”
4 AIR SCHOOL
Role Elementary Flying Training Location: Benoni
Controlling Group: 24 Group, 31 Group Established: 11 November 1940 (ex 4 EFTS)
Opened: 1 September 1941
Disbanded: 24 June 1945
Station Closed: 22 July 1946
Officers Commanding: WIC A W Vincent, Lt Col A M Miller, Lt Col L Duffus, Lt Col B JL Boyle
Major Aircraft Types: Tiger Moth (1494, 528, 2319, 2260 “47”)
Minor Aircraft Types: Hornet Moth (1525), Rearwin 7000 (1594) Hart T (2057), Audax (1876), Harvard (7522)
Originally planned as 4 EFTS, it was formed as 4 AS on 11 November 1940 but personnel only started arriving at Benoni in June 1941. The first four Tiger Moths were delivered from 15 AD on 6 August, the school opened on 1 September and by 30 September there were 33 Tiger Moths on strength.
On 21 April 1942, 104 Reserve Sqn was formed and was ready to be mobilized in an emergency.
One famous personality at 4 AS was Lt A D “Bobby” Locke the world famous golfer. Another was Lt Col Allister M Miller DSO, OBE, one of the OC’s of the unit, one of the most famous names in South African aviation history. He also had the pleasure of presenting “Wings” to his son Allister, later killed in a Mosquito of 60 Sqn on operations.
During 1945 it was decided to amalgamate 4 and 6 AS and accordingly 6 AS absorbed the 4 AS pupil population on 25 June 1945.
Benoni was then used as a demobilization centre, after which it reverted to a civil airfield. Civil flying was transferred to the current Benoni – Brakpan airfield when Jan Smuts Airport was established and today the buildings house an SA Police College while the airfield is now covered by the houses of Northmead Ext 4.