Jack Wight - RAF, SAAF...?

Discussion in 'Biographies' started by Antipodean Andy, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    The book I'm reading at present, Bush Pilots Do It In Fours by Roy Watson, has the author starting to fly DC-4 freighters up the east coast of Africa. His colleague and mentor is a Captain Jack Wight who "flew Spitfires in 1941". No other detail given but I am intrigued.

    Can anyone add anything?

    I am of course assuming the name is correct and not altered for the book. All accurate so far.
  2. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    If he was a Captain then he was SAAF, as they didn't use the other Commonwealth air force's ranks. But will have a look around
  3. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    That's what I was thinking, Kyt, but the Captain could also have related to him being in charge of the DC-4. I kinda jump between both thoughts at the moment.
  4. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    I have hunted high and low Andy for your man ... but nothing ( except references to the book :noidea: ) as it's a novel ... do you think maybe he's a mix of more than one man ?? ... or poetic license ??
  5. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Unless he was a Canadian ......... :plane:

  6. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Can't find anything matching, mate - but may need more info. Like the unit that Watson was in etc. Time, context etc
  7. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    I saw that as well, Annie. Thanks for posting it. I have managed to work out some dates even though the book (autobiography) doesn't specifically mention any.

    The author, after 30 years of flying GA, ends up with a freight business run by a Russian but based in Jo'burg. Their new office is stated as being in the newly finished Sandton Square area. Coincidentally, this is where I stayed last year when I was in Jo'burg for work. Anyhoo, the Square was completed in 1994 so that gives a date stamp.

    The author has just mentioned, during a short ferry flight with Wight in a DC-4 (and definitely after several years of freight ops in Angola etc) that Wight is in his 70s. This would fit for him being in his mid-late 80s now.

    So many Spit squadrons in 1941!

    There's a thought. Of all the C'th nations represented here by members, am I right in saying we don't have any South Africans?



    I have joined this forum so that I can tell you what I know about Jack Wight!!
    I was searching under his name and all I came across was this site and your post.

    Jack Wight taught me to fly at Rand Airport Johannesburg in 1972. At the time he owned and ran a flying school called Astral Aviation.His son John was a pilot at SAA who got involved in some dodgy business on the side and ended up in jail in Madagascar. I know Jack was involved in a prison breakout/rescue attempt that failed but that eventually he did get his son out.

    Jack had a fascinating life and career.He flew in the Biafran War I think on the side of the Biafrans in DC3,DC6,DC7 and anything with wings, he also flew for Jack Malloch with Air Trans Africa doing sanction busting flights for Rhodesia. After I knew him in the 70's he flew for InterOcean Airways in Beira,Mozambique.This would have been 1985-1992(approx) and he must have been well into his 70's by then.

    I left SA in 1993 and never heard anymore but have just read an entry on the Pilots website Pprune(Where are they now forum) which says Jack died in a C-172 crash. It does not say where or when but I think safe to assume he would have been well into his 80's by then.

    I hope this helps and would ask that if you uncover anything else you could Email me.

    Kind Regards

  9. Kyt

    Kyt Άρης

    Welcome to the forum, Gavin. And thank you for sharing some details with us.

    I wonder whether this is his son:

    University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
  10. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Hi Gavin

    Many thanks for your information and welcome aboard! To be honest, I kept hitting dead-ends while looking for information so, for want of a better explanation, gave up and moved onto the next shiny thing that drew my attention. I really should run a book on the various things I need to follow up more.

    I am amazed at what you have provided as it fills some holes. Do you know what the SAAF records are like? Is it possible to research a particular person's details easily or...?

    What do you do for a crust? I guess if you're on Pprune and still flying, you're probably commercial?

    Many thanks again, if I come across anything at all, I'll let you know.


    Thanks for the welcome guys!!


    Absolutely spot on. How did you ever come across that?
    I did not know that he served his whole sentence must have been a godawful experience.Africa is not a place to be caught doing naughties!!!


    I cant help with SAAF records as I was never in.Jack may even have been in Rhodesian Air Force.
    Actually my flying career came to a grisly end in 1991 when the Dak I was in crashed on landing at a bush strip in Mozambique.(I wasn't driving that day just along for the ride!!) I was medevaced to Johannesburg in DC4 of Interocean Airways who were also doing food relief there.
    Sadly I lost a leg and an eye and that was the end of that.I have been in London for many years working as a Navigator for SITA providing Flt Plans for many airlines and maintaining an aviation database.

    I sure miss the flying and especially aviation in Africa which was nothing if not interesting!!

    Regards to you all

  12. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Sounds like you're more capable than the rest of us, Gavin!

    I'll see if I can be cheeky and get in touch with the SAAF archives somehow.
  13. Roy58

    Roy58 New Member


    Hi Andy,
    I came across this forum after doing a google on Jack Wight. Apologies for the 18 months late reply. Jack, together with his erstwhile WW2 SAAF colleague, Johnny Human, converted me to DC3's back in '79. I had just joined a rather crazy operation, Protea Airways, as a rookie F/O after 2 years instructing around the circuit at Rand Airport, & this was hopefully my next rung up the ladder to that coveted airline job!
    Protea Airways was a lot like Buffalo Airways, Yellowknife, of the new TV series fame, except of course we flew the tropical wilds of Africa as opposed to the frozen wilds of Northern Canada!
    Jack was one of those pilots that they don't make any more. A true natural, humble but could keep you riveted with some of his experiences, ranging from the Western Desert of WW2 to landing overloaded DC6's at night on widened roads that passed for runways during the Biafrian war. Never boasted though, you had to coax it out of him carefully. A true, modest, softly spoken gentleman, always a hit with the ladies even when he was well into his 70's.
    I was shocked to hear of his passing. At least he died doing what he always loved. Do you have any more info?

  14. Antipodean Andy

    Antipodean Andy New Member

    Many thanks, Roy. I have not added any further info to my little bio I have on him so your post is most valuable. Are you still flying?
  15. Roy58

    Roy58 New Member

    Unfortunately only printing machines. Moved over to Oz 12 years ago after becoming another SA crime statistic!
  16. garthwight

    garthwight New Member

    Jack Wight (John Roger Wight) 2 Squadron SAAF 1941-1943, flew Kittyhawks P40 and Spitfires MK V & IX, died in an aircraft crash C172 Rand Airport FAGM 1999 aged 78.
  17. Arwat

    Arwat New Member

    Sorry that I did not reply sooner, but I have just seen it for the first time.
    Yes, I did write the book 'Bush Pilots do it in Fours".
    Jack Wight was my mentor, teaching me everything about those wonderful big aeroplanes.
    He also taught my son to fly, and was a wonderful friend. He flew spitfires in 1941 and that was all he mentioned to me about the war. It was something he would never expand on, but he did talk a bit about the war with my son when they were flying. He was born on 16th March 1922 and tragically left us in an unfortunate mishap on 19th April 2000.
  18. garthwight

    garthwight New Member

    Hi there, I am Jack Wight's son, I have all his log books and all his WWII diaries!
    Any info you need just let me know.

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