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Peter Elrick: They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.

WO1. Piet van Zyl (TAS Ret): In 4 hours time 35 years ago we lost 16 friends, may they sleep well. For the 173 survivors we are gratefull for the grace of Almighty. I have tears in my eyes & heart. We salute all,and the ship, lest we forget. Lofty e-mail me.

DK Pillay: What a tragedy to lose shipmates and friends. What a fantastic crew. Rip

Charl Starke: 35 yrs ... seems like the other day

John Richardson: when on TFB I took 8mm cine doing RASwith PK and PS, tried to get on PK

Garth Coetzer: Was at school with Robyn Myers. A nicer guy you couldn't meet. I think he took a lot of the flack for this tragic incident at the time. Events clearer now from this report. We will indeed remember those who lost their lives in the early hours of that morning.

Cherylynn Wium: As always on Sunday 18th I will be remembering those men lost at sea and giving thanks for those brave men who made it back. Never to be forgotten!

Cherylynn Wium: 37 years. RIP never to be forgotten

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The South African Navy received their first batch of ten new build airframes in 1963, which was followed by the order for an additional 8. Of these, only 6 were delivered due to the International arms embargo placed on South Africa during the apartheid era. The Wasps were flown by 22 Flight, from AFB  Ysterplaat. This squadron became 22 Squadron, Maritime Command in 1976.

The helicopters were operated from the Navy’s President class frigates.  The South African Navy withdrew their last Wasp in 1990.

Wasp #93 at AFB Ysterplaat, SAAF Museum

The Westland Scout and Wasp AH.1 helicopters were developed from the Saunders Roe P.531 design. The first prototype flew on 29th August 1960.

The Saunders-Roe P.531 development aircraft was viewed as a viable helicopter to be used aboard frigates. With the difficulties of landing on deck in heavy seas, many different undercarriage configurations were tried., and eventually the four wheel castoring “Tea Trolley” design was picked and after some lengthy testing an order was placed for the “Sea Scout AH1” in 1961.

The name was changed to “Wasp” and the aircraft was put into service in 1963.

Around 98 Wasp helicopters were built for the Royal Navy and unlike the Scout there was more interest from overseas goverments and another 42 aircraft were built for export. These helicopters were purchased by: the Indonesian Navy(4)The Royal Netherlands Naval Air Service(12) The Royal New Zealand Air Force(6)The South African Air Force(16)The Brazilian Navy(4).

The Wasp was kitted out with ASW (anti submarine) equipment which included depth charges, 2 Mk.44 homing torpedoes or 1 Mk.46 torpedo.

Website author with Wasp #93 at the SAAF Museum in 2002.

Note the forefoot of the "PP" out of the water during helicopter recovery. Taken by Kirk Kinnear from the PK.

Developed as an antisubmarine ship-based unit, the aircraft carries a pilot and a flight engineer and three passengers. Armed with either two Mk 44 torpedoes or depth charges, this aircraft had a range of 488km and a maximum speed of 104 knots, or 193 km/h.

Powered by a Rolls Royce Bristol Nimbus 503 turbo shaft, the SAAF ordered 17 WASPs of which 16 were delivered.

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