The Southern African History Musings of Ross Dix-Peek

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Squadron-Leader Marmaduke Pattle's Transkeian Roots
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Pattle

In the June 2013 edition of the excellent magazine “Aeroplane” and in particular the very interesting article entitled “The Gladiator Strikes True” by Martyn Chorlton, which pertains to No 80 (Fighter) Squadron's operations against the Italian Regia Aeronautica in North Africa from June - November 1940, the author stated that the famous South African and Royal Air Force air-ace Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle was “South African born to English parents”.


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This is in part incorrect as although Pattle was indeed born in South Africa, his parents were not English, but rather South Africans'. His father, Sergeant-Major Cecil William St. John Pattle, was born in Butterworth, Transkei, South Africa, in 1884, while his mother was Edith Brailsford (1881-1962), a hospital matron and a member of a family settled in South Africa since at least 1855.


Cecil and Edith Pattle were married in Butterworth, Transkei, South Africa, in July 1912. C.W.St.J. Pattle was to serve with the South African colonial forces during the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902), the Natal Rebellion (1906), and the First World War, and was also to attend King Edward VII's coronation in 1907 as part of the South African colonial contingent.


It was Cecil's father (and Squadron-Leader Marmaduke Pattle's grandfather) who was English-born and who immigrated to South Africa in 1875, and who died in Butterworth, Transkei, in 1890. Squadron-Leader Marmaduke Thomas St John Pattle, DFC & Bar, was also born in Butterworth, Transkei, South Africa, and was thus technically a third-generation South African, and following his education in southern Africa was ultimately to join the Royal Air Force on a short service commission in 1936 (when already 22 years-of-age). Members of the Pattle family still reside in South Africa to this day.

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