THE SKY SUSPENDED : A FIGHTER PILOT'S STORY
James Richard Abe " Jim " Bailey C.B.E., D.F.C. ( October 23rd, 1919 - February 29th, 2000 ) was born in London ( England ). He was the fourth child of the South African mining magnate and politician Colonel Sir Abraham " Abe " Bailey, 1st Baronet K.C.M.G. ( 1864 - 1940 ), and the Irish pioneering aviatrix Dame Mary Bailey, Lady Bailey D.B.E. ( née Westenra, 1890 - 1960 ).
" Jim " Bailey was first educated at Winchester College, an independent boarding school ( Hampshire, England ). He then went on to Christ Church College ( University of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England ) where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics. At Oxford, he joined the University Air Squadron, from which he transferred to the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve ( R.A.F.V.R. ) in June 1939.
The outbreak of war interrupted his studies ( September 1st, 1939 ). He was called up by the Royal Air Force ( R.A.F. ) and despite hating war, he did join " because it seemed the right thing to do at the time ". Commissioned Pilot Officer ( P/O ) on probation on September 26th ( promoted to P/O on October 14th ), " Jim " Bailey began his training in November. Convert to Boulton Paul Defiants, on conclusion of his training, he received his wings and was then transferred to No. 264 " Madras Presidency " Squadron on June 19th, 1940.
Throughout the Second World War, " Jim " fought during the Battle of Britain, then as a night fighter ( 1940 - 1943 ) ; worked as a Liaison Officer ( attached to the 615th Squadron, U.S.A.A.C., 1943 ), then as an instructor ( 1943 ) ; fought in Italy, then in the South of France as a night fighter ( 1943 - 1944 ) and returned to Great Britain where he joined the Air Ministry Manpower Research Unit ( Marston Moor, Yorkshire, England ). During his two tours of operations, he flew Defiants, Hawker Hurricanes and Havoc Mark Is ( No. 85 Squadron ), Turbinlite Havoc Mark Is / IIs ( No. 1451 Flight ) and Bristol Beaufighters ( No. 125 " Newfoundland " Squadron, No. 600 " City of London " Squadron, R.Aux.A.F. ).
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross ( D.F.C., September 8th, 1944 ), he rose to the rank of Acting Squadron Leader ( A/S/Ldr, July 1st, 1945 ) and commanded a Ferry Unit briefly, bringing aircraft back to Albion from Europe. At the end of the war, " Jim " Bailey was credited with 6 confirmed aerial victories and 2 damaged.
After being demobilised, " Jim " Bailey returned to Oxford and rejoined the University Air Squadron. He obtained a B.A. ( Bachelor of Arts ) in 1947, followed by a M.A. ( Master of Arts ) in 1949. He moved to South Africa to take care of the business interests left by his deceased father.
A professional South African cricketer, Robert J. Crisp ( 1911 - 1994 ), had started a new magazine called African Drum ( 1951 ), a liberal enterprise " presenting blacks as noble savages ". " Jim " Bailey bought shares but discovered it was failing to get traction. So he paid out Crisp and relaunched it as Drum with a completely different philosophy. Its new editorial policy would concentrate on crime, sex, sport and pin - up photographs. It also quickly became the voice of black unrest, of segregation misery and political aspiration as well as a vehicle for township culture.
Well - known for challenging the apartheid system, the magazine also took black African women out of the kitchen and into mainstream urban culture. " Jim " Bailey became known simply as " Mr Drum ", deliberately went to jail, enabling a photographer to acquire ( from a nearby rooftop ) proof of indignities meted out to inmates.
In 1955, he founded the Golden City Post, the country's first black Sunday tabloid ( which would be declared bankrupt ). " Jim " Bailey finally sold Drum in 1984. He also published several books of his own.
Married twice and the father of four children, a renowned eccentric, sponsor of the arts, farmer and liberal causes, " Jim " Bailey died of colon cancer on his farm at Lanseria ( present - day Gauteng, South Africa ), at the age of 80.
( sources : Wikipedia, www.dailymaverick.co.za, warriorsofthesky.co.za, www.sahistory.org.za, www.bbm.org.uk, www.tracesofwar.com, THE SKY SUSPENDED )