South African Air Force Memorial… Bays Hill.

Air Force Memorial Bays Hill.

I took a drive up to this Memorial last Saturday and found myself all alone at a magnificent piece of Architecture. With not another soul in sight I wandered around and actually felt the awe and reverence. The monument to those that have lost their lives in the service of the Air Force, I really didn’t know so many had lost their lives in WWII..


I have copied the text below from the SAAFA (South African Air Force Association) web site as I could not describe this area and monument any better than they have. If you wish to see more of their site CLICK HERE.

As you approach the SAAF Memorial, you cannot but stand in awe at its simplistic yet intricate beauty. The design of straight lines and complex triangles radiates a life of it’s own. Walking down the first set of steps from the parking area takes you into a small world of immense significance. No real airman can ascend these steps without the feeling that he is walking on sacred ground, surrounded by the memories of heroes and akin.


The Memorial, dedicated to those that gave their lives in the service of their country, in war and in peace, was opened on September 1st 1963 by the then state President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr CR Swart.


The site of the Memorial commands a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside and is itself a dominant feature in the landscape. The promoters chose this site as it overlooks the buildings and runway of Swartkop, the first Air Force Station in the Republic and the cradle of the SAAF as well as the departure point during World War II for the majority of SAAF personnel going North.


The basic element used throughout the design is that of the equilateral triangle (the form of the contemporary delta aircraft wing profile) and multiples or subdivisions thereof, all proportions being governed by 60, 30, 15 or 7½ degrees angles. This triangular shape was used not only in the form of the building itself, but is echoed in the various components, paving, window lights, door panels, door handles and grille members.




The original bronze eagle together with the original granite inscriptions and certain paving from the Waterkloof Memorial were incorporated into the new design.


The Cenotaph, the centrepiece of the design, is three sided to accommodate the SAAF motto, “Per Aspera Ad Astra”, and the two biblical quotations used by them. It is lighted from above by means of perforations in the roof. The Memorial hall can be opened completely by folding glazed doors to permit public access for placing wreaths on the Cenotaph during the large annual Memorial services. Three triangular pools, one underneath each wing, completes the structure.