Le Roux, Jacobus Johannes

    Date of birth:
    1920
    Date of death:
    August 29th, 1944
    Buried on:
    Air Forces Memorial Runnymede
    Nationality:
    South African

    Biography

    Service number: 42240.

    Johannes Jacobus le Roux was educated in Springs, Transvaal and worked as an apprentice in the Springs Mines,saving money for a trip to the UK. He and a friend tried to join the SAAF, but had been rejected due to the force's small budget. Both then joined the RAF in February 1939. It is believed that on completing of training, Le Roux was posted to No 73 Squadron, a Hurricane Squadron of the AASF (Advanced Air Striking Force) in France. Chris (as he had been known throughout his service in the RAF) le Roux was in the thick of the fighting, for the AASF fighters had to cover the evacuation of the ground staff, and the three remaining British divisions. He was wounded in France during May 1940, spending six weeks in hospital. On recovery he became an instructor near Chester for a while, but in February 1941 was posted to No. 91 Squadron. His tour ended in December, and we went as a instructor to 55 OTU until March 1942, when he was posted to Rolls-Royce. He rejoined 91 Squadron as a supernumerary in September 1942. In January 1943 he was posted out to Nort Africa to join 111 Squadron, taking over command of this unit on 26th, and leading it troughout the rest of the Tunesian Campaign until 30 April. He then became a flight controller. He commenced a third tour in 1944 when he took over 602 Squadron in France in July. After claiming a ME109 shot down, he strafed a staff car in which it was claimed Feldmarshall Erwin Rommel was travelling. Diving on his car, they caused it to overturn near the village of Sainte Foy de Montgomerie, and Rommel was flung into a ditch and sustained a fractured skull. He survived (but was removed as Army Commander on the Western Front) only to kill himself on 14th October, rather than stand trial for complicity in the plot against Hitler of 20th July. On 29 August Le Roux took off to fly to England in bad weather, but failed to arrive, and was reported missing.
    His cheerful personality and good looks had made him one of South Africa's most popular fighter pilots, and he was mourned by all who had known him.
    His final score of victories was 18 destroyed, 2 probables and 8 damaged.
    Chris Le Roux is remembered on Panel 200 of the Runnymede Memorial.

    Promotions:
    28th February 1940: Pilot Officer;
    28th February 1941: Flying Officer;
    28th February 1942: Flight Lieutenant;
    September 1942: Squadron Leader.

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Flight Lieutenant
    Unit:
    No. 91 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    October 17th, 1941
    Action:
    Citation:
    "This officer has carried out over 200 operational sorties which have included shipping reconnaissances, during which much valuable information has been obtained, and numerous attacks on shipping and enemy aerodromes in the face of heavy enemy fire. Flight Lieutenant Le Roux has destroyed 3 hostile aircraft in combat and at least 1 on the ground."
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Flight Lieutenant
    Unit:
    No. 91 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    December 11th, 1942
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Action:
    Citation:
    "Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross this officer has destroyed a further five enemy aircraft. In addition to his air victories he has attacked shipping and targets on the ground with considerable success. At all times Flight Lieutenant Le Roux has displayed a fine fighting spirit."
    Details:
    Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Squadron Leader
    Unit:
    No. 111 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    July 9th, 1943
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Action:
    Citation:
    "Sqn. Ldr. Le Roux's magnificent leadership has played a large part in the many successes attained by his squadron. He has personally destroyed 14 enemy aircraft and damaged many others, and has also inflicted much damage on enemy shipping."
    Details:
    Third DFC awarded as second bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.

    Sources

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