Errol G Rosenberg
much younger than his youngest grandchild is today, Errol Rosenberg - our Olley - signed up to the South African Air Force in January 1941, where he saw four years of active service and, significantly, narrowly escaped disaster on numerous occasions. Making it safely home became a trademark of Ollie's to such an extent that more and more people wanted to fly with him. The dictum was 'fly with Errol Rosenberg and you'll get home safely'.
Pride of place among his stories, and chief inspiration for our thanks here today, is his adventure of 6 July 1944 - more than 65 years ago - when his Ventura aircraft was on patrol off the Natal coast. His was a crew of four: all names from long ago but still lively today in Ollie's active mind: navigator Ruben and air gunners Abrams and Mertz. Flying in good weather 400 miles off the coast, they spotted an enemy sub on the surface and dived in to take it out. They were still too high, at 500 feet. to drop their depth charges but, unluckily, were not so high that the sub couldn't take an effective pop at them.
A spray of canon fire peppered the plane's undercarriage, snapping the control wires. One shot entered the open bay doors and exploded, shredding the parachutes Those parachutes protected the men from a grisly end, but their destruction also shredded the crew's exit strategy! Olley had no choice but to coax the stricken plane home. but not before calling in the location of the sub, which they were given to believe later was subsequently taken out by other South African aircraft. For his contribution to this action, Olley was mentioned in Despatches. Our crew made it home, occasioning delight and thanks down the decades to this very day, and to those of us here today especially who might otherwise have had to find other plans.
This quiet tenacity and ability to hold his nerve under fire has filtered through into every aspect of his life inspiring his clients, some of whom have remained with him for three generations, his crew during his yachting years, and his sporting friends and associates. He showed particular courage and commitment during the very difficult years of our mother Sara's illness when he cared for her at home with the utmost love and devotion.
Errol had a number of schemes and ambitions - pineapple and asparagus farms, hydroponics and sailing the high seas. Finally he lived out his dream when he and Sara had the courage to sell up buy a yacht and head for the Mediterranean. This entailed studying for and completing his Yacht Master’s Certificate in London.
He's kept up with technology but reserved the 'Golden Generation's' determination to conserve energy by keeping his cell phone firmly switched off and securely hidden in the boot of his car, to be used for emergencies only - his!
Errol's optimistic and positive outlook attracted him to Irene who despite having survived the holocaust is a life force, always with a smile on her face and a can do approach. They have developed a wonderful friendship and look out for one another constantly.
Dad our hero, our family hero, you have brought us all 'home' safely today from all comers of the world to celebrate this special birthday with you. Happy Birthday! We wish you many more celebrations."
During WWII, Errol served with 23, 25 and 26 Squadrons SAAF.
All materials and photo's kindly supplied by Errol Rosenberg
An Appreciation of Quiet Tenacity
(Extract from a speech made on Sunday 30 August 2009 on the occasion of Errol’s 90th birthday celebration.)
"Bern, Glynn and I would like to welcome you all here today and to thank you for joining us to celebrate this significant birthday. We feel privileged to be here with you Errol and all of you. This celebration has bought our family together. Several have traveled from London and NY to be here to celebrate with you.
To people born in the years after the Second World War - the generation known as “Baby Boomers" - there was always a keen awareness of the accomplishments of our parents They were the so-called "Golden Generation" and Errol is the prime role model of the time and an inspiration not only to his children, grandchildren and no doubt in future to his ever expanding tribe of great grandchildren, but to all who have the pleasure of knowing him as friends, extended family, colleagues and beyond.
Coming into his maturity at the time of the second world war, and at an age