Pilot course in Rhodesia

Mordechai (‘Moddy’) Alon (right) and and Dov Bresler, who were among the cadets in Rhodesia Jews from Palestine are sent to the RAF pilot course in Rhodesia


In 1943 a group of Jews from British Mandatory Palestine were sent to the pilot course at the RAF’s flight school in Rhodesia. They reached the course when WW2 was already in an advanced stage, and the requirements in the course were more stringent than they had been in earlier years. The first to finish the course was Dan Tolkovsky, who would go on to become Commander of the IAF. Tolkovsky was assigned to fly as a fighter pilot at first, and then served in the reconnaissance squadron of the RAF Command in Greece. Aharon Remez, who would become the IAF’s second commander, finished the course in late 1943 and went on to more advanced training as a fighter pilot in Canada and Britain, and service as a fighter pilot in France.

Another graduate of the course was Mordechai ‘Moddy’ Alon, who would go on to become the commander of the IAF’s ‘First Combat’ Squadron. He was trained as a Spitfire fighter pilot, and was then sent to a squadron in northern Italy, where he continued to train on Mustangs. In 1945 he was sent with a Mustang squadron to Ramat David, and then back to Italy again.

Ezer Weizmann was posted, upon completing the course, to Egypt, where he was trained in flying American Thunderbolt fighter-bombers. He was then assigned to Karachi, in India. Two other pilots who completed the course in Rhodesia, Adam Shatkay and Uri Breier, were trained as transport pilots.