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Lt. Perry James Childs HCS - South African Air Force

SAMVOA Victoria - Veteran Perry Childs HCS

A large group of enemy was detected on 27 March 1976, so three helicopters were sent in to attack their position. The lead aircraft pilot, Lt Perry Childs was the grandson of Squadron Leader Jimmy Childs, RFC and RAF. He had with him his flight engineer, Sgt Russel du Preez and the local army commander. Childs attacked the enemy position in bush from out of the sun and surprised them. His medium-calibre gun raked the area with high explosive while he circled, changing his speed and jinxing the helicopter to avoid the hail of small-arms fire from the bushes. The other helicopters were armed with Browning .303s, which were less effective than his gun. One of them also carried troops. Their helicopter came under heavy and accurate fire. The army commander and Childs were both hit. The commander was mortally wounded and Childs was shot in the knee. The wounded pilot radioed to the troop-carrying helicopter to rendezvous with him. The men were landed and deployed and the helicopter returned to base with the dead commander. Despite his painful wound Childs then returned to the enemy position with a replacement commander. They coordinated the ground attack and called in aircraft to attack with rockets. He also followed up some of the escaping enemy before he ran out of ammunition, then he returned to base. Childs was awarded the Honoris Crux Silver at Voortrekkerhoogte on 27 November 1976. He later resigned to fly Boeing 737s for SA Airways and Air Mauritius. He married Alice van der Merwe and has three sons and a daughter. They emigrated and live in Melbourne, Australia.

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