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  Museum of Military History Johannesburg
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Text:

Urs Schnyder

Pictures:

Urs Schnyder

   
The first time I visited the Museum was in 1976 after I relocated to South Africa for a new Job. I had never before seen any warbirds close up, so it really was something to see the only Messerschmitt Me 262 night fighter and a Focke Wulf 190. At that time these two aircraft were basically outside protected from the elements only by a roof of corrugated sheet metal. The Messerschmitt 109E was displayed completely in the open, more or less as it had crashed during the battle of Britain. Nevertheless the displayed aircraft were unique.
The museum was formally opened on the 29th of August 1949 by the Prime Minister Jan Smuts as a memorial to remember the past world war. In 1975 it was expanded to all military conflicts in which South Africans took part. Besides the aircraft on display that we will go more into detail later, there are a lot of small arms from different conflicts, Tanks and armoured vehicles, field guns and even a midget submarine.
 
   

Messerschmitt Bf 109E-3 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Focke Wulf 190A-8 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Focke Wulf 190A-8 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Focke Wulf 190A-8 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Focke Wulf 190A-8 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 262B-1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 262B-1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 262B-1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Turn the clock forward by 39 years and a working assignment brought me again to Johannesburg. Naturally a visit to the museum that is now called the Ditsong Museum of Military History was a must. I must say that I was impressed. Some new buildings had been erected and of course additional exhibits added. Right next to the entrance is the newly buildt Group Cpt. “Sailor” Malan Hall that houses the Messerschmitt me 262, the Focke Wulf 190 and the Messerschmitt BF 109. All of them restored in their original colours and placed in a way that they can be easily viewed from all sides.
Unfortunately some “Enthusiast” managed to steal a cap from one of the Me 262 external fuel tanks. One can only wonder what people get out of doing things like this. The biggest hall is the General Brink Hall that contains most aircraft like the Spitfire, Hurricane, a Mosquito, the only surviving Hawker Hartebeest and a rare Messerschmitt Bf 109F. A D.H.9 and S.E.5a which were a part of the Imperial gift given to South Africa after World War 1 are further exhibits.
Most of the newer exhibits are located in the courtyard, with the C-47 being the only aircraft that is not under cover due to its size. If you happen to be in the area, the museum is well worth a visit. It is situated just adjacent to the Johannesburg Zoo.
It is open daily from 09:00 – 16:30 and the admission is 30 Rand.
Further information may be gained from their website at:
http://www.ditsong.org.za/militaryhistory.htm
   

Messerschmitt Me 262B-1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Me 262B-1 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Messerschmitt Bf 109F-2 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Supermarine Spitfire Mk.VIII (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hawker Huricane Mk. Iic (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hawker Huricane Mk. Iic (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Hawker Hartebeest (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Hawker Hartebeest (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

De Havilland D.H. 9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

De Havilland D.H. 9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

De Havilland D.H. 9 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

RAF SE-5A (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

RAF SE-5A (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Douglas C-47 Dakota(Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

     

De Havilland Mosquito Mk.IX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

De Havilland Mosquito Mk.IX (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

   

South African Air Force

 

Atlas MB326KC Impala II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Atlas MB326KC Impala II (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Dassault Mirage IIICZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Dassault Mirage IIICZ (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

 

Blackburn Buccaneer S Mk. 50 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Blackburn Buccaneer S Mk. 50 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Blackburn Buccaneer S Mk. 50 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

Blackburn Buccaneer S Mk. 50 (Picture courtesy Urs Schnyder)

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last update 6. June 2016

Written 6. June 2016

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