Snowy Moodie

Tribute Page: WW2 SAAF pilot  Snowy Moodie

Hi and welcome to this site!

I made contact with Sally Palmer who is Snowy Moodie's daughter. She kindly offered to send me scans of Snowy's log book, photographs and other war memorabilia.  Many thanks Sally!

Derrick Dunbar "Snowy" Moodie joined the Air Force in 1937 and attended the two year cadet course at the Military College in Pretoria. Here he obtained his wings as a fighter pilot. Snowy then served at the Central Flying School until he was transferred in April 1941 to No. 4 Fighter Squadron  stationed in East Africa where they did operational training for war service.

In October 1941 the squadron moved to the Western Desert operational zone. Here they flew offensive patrols, bomber escorts, shipping patrols and ground strafing operations. Snowy was involved in several air battles flying the out-dated Curtiss Tomahawks against the superior German Messerschmitt aircraft. The squadron still excelled but at a heavy cost in lives. 

Snowy was subsequently promoted  OC of the squadron. During this tour Snowy flew 208 ops hours with 104 sorties. He shot down 1 enemy aircraft with a further 3 damaged. He was shot down twice but made successful crash landings. 

The Distinguished Flying Cross was awarded to Snowy on 28/7/1942.

After being back to the Union  for a well deserved rest, Snowy was again sent up north to become the Ops officer of the newly formed SAAF 7 Wing in October 1942. He was then transferred to No 1 Fighter squadron as Commanding Officer in early 1943 flying Spitfires.

Snowy had an eventful time with 1 squadron during the last  phase of the war in North Africa. He also  led the squadron with the invasion of Sicily. 

With this tour Snowy flew 193 ops hours in 125 sorties. 

For his third operational tour starting in mid 1944, Snowy was assigned as acting commander and there after sweep leader of SAAF 8 Wing. He was subsequently promoted as OC of SAAF 7 Fighter wing in April 1945 and successfully commanded the wing in the very intensive final phase of the war.

Snowy flew a massive amount of 512 ops hours with 343 operational sorties during the war, certainly making him one of the outstanding  SAAF fighter pilots of the war.

After the war.... 

Lt. Moodie, Central Flying School 1940

Maj. Moodie, Squadron Commander 1942-1943

This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Snowy, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. 

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during WW2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

May 2018

DSO. London Gazette of 20th April 1945.


"This officer has given extremely gallant and distinguished service in close support operations. On March 7th, 1945, he led a formation of aircraft to attack an important target, consisting of a building in close proximity to forward elements of our ground forces and situated in rugged and broken terrain. Despite heavy anti-aircraft opposition, the attack was perfectly timed and pressed home with exceptional success. The target was effectively bombed, six hits being observed. This instance is only one of several outstanding missions led by Lieutenant-Colonel Moodie. On several occasions he has led similar sorties with excellent results. He is at present engaged on his third tour of operations and has destroyed at least one enemy aircraft and damaged others. "


Wedding to .....on.....





 Snowy as 1st Lieutenant in a CFS group photo

Snowy as a full Lieutenant sitting second from the leftin the front row.

 4 SQUADRON 1941 - 1942

Caption from Michael Schoeman

Caption by Michael Schoeman

Caption byMichael Schoeman

Curtiss Tomahawk used by 4 squadron (image drawn by my friend Brent Best)



Spitfire V with colours as flown by 1 squadron in 1943. Graphics by Brent Best

With his Spitfire V while being OC of 1 Squadron in 1943.

Snowy with Capt. Harry Gaynor (killed 1944)

Same spot with sqdn adjudant Capt Vossie at back.

Snowy with Harry Gaynor. Two squadron dogs at the back "daba" and "Chum"

SAAF 8 +7  Wing 1944/45

photographs snapped by Cecil Golding

Col. Moodie with his Spitfire marked "R" that he flew while with 8 wing and 7 wing.

Ranking visible, 2 x pips and a crown = Colonel.









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