THE AIRFORCE - SQUADRONS
40 Squadron"Exercitui Oculus" (Eyes of the Army)
40 Squadron was formed at Waterkloof Air Station in May 1940 as an Army Co-op Squadron under the command of Major JT Durant, who was destined to become Air Chief of Staff in 1946. One flight was equipped with Hawker Hartbees and left for Wadjir in Kenya in June 1940, their task being to support the 1st South African Division against the Italians.
The Squadron returned to the Union in August 1941 to re-equip with Hurricane Mk1s. Thereafter, they commenced operations in the Middle East in February 1942. From 20 March 1942 they began a long association with the 8th Army. On 20 October the squadron, now equipped with Hurricane MkIIs, moved up to Burg El Arab for the Battle of Alamein, and moved then on through the North African, Tunisian and Cicilian campaigns, they were never far from the 8th Army. In June 1943 they once again re-equipped, this time with Spitfire Vs. On 18 October they received a signal from the 8th Army which read 'Your magnificent efforts greatly appreciated - many thanks!", this was after a particularly strenuous phase in the Italian campaign. On the 2 April 1944 the Squadron's long and close association with the 8th Army came to an end when they moved to San Angelo to operate with the 5th Army for the remainder of the Italian campaign. At 1h00 on the 9 May 1945 the entire German Armies in Italy surrendered unconditionally. However, the squadron, the only one in the Desert Air Force, continued to operate throughout the ensuing mopping up operations in Northern Italy and Austria. When they moved to Moderndorf in Austria they became the first complete unit in the UDF to be stationed in pre-war German occupied territory. On the 20th October 1945 the Squadron handed over all aircraft and equipment to 225 Squadron RAF. Thus, after five years and five months, a Squadron with a proud record of wonderful achievement was now but a name. 'The eyes of the Army' were closed.
In 1953 40 Squadron was re-established at Rand Airport, Germiston, as an ACF Squadron flying Harvards. A move was made to CFS Dunnottar in 1965. During August 1982 the Squadron was re-equipped with Impala aircraft and returned to their original home ground, AFB Waterkloof.
The Squadron was disbanded on 29 April 1985.
Other Squadrons based at N/A:
1 Squadron, 10 Squadron, 103 Squadron, 109 Squadron, 11 Squadron, 112 Commando Squadron / 1 SWA Squadron, 114 Commando Squadron, 12 Squadron, 120 Squadron, 24 Squadron, 25 Squadron, 26 Squadron, 27 Squadron, 3 Squadron, 30 Squadron, 31 Squadron, 4 Squadron, 42 Squadron, 5 Squadron, 6 Squadron, 7 Squadron, 8 Squadron, 86 Multi-Engine Flying School, 88 Maritime Operational Training School, 89 Combat Flying School
Other Disbanded Squadrons:
1 Squadron, 10 Squadron, 103 Squadron, 109 Squadron, 11 Squadron, 112 Commando Squadron / 1 SWA Squadron, 114 Commando Squadron, 12 Squadron, 120 Squadron, 24 Squadron, 25 Squadron, 26 Squadron, 27 Squadron, 3 Squadron, 30 Squadron, 31 Squadron, 4 Air Servicing Unit, 4 Squadron, 42 Squadron, 5 Squadron, 6 Squadron, 7 Air Servicing Unit, 7 Squadron, 8 Squadron, 86 Multi-Engine Flying School, 88 Maritime Operational Training School, 89 Combat Flying School