Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF was born 05 September 1896 in Krugersdorp, Gauteng, South Africa. He married Elizabeth Mavis UNKNOWN aft. 1950. He died abt. 1968 in Unknown Location, South Africa. Elizabeth Mavis UNKNOWN was born 1909. She died aft. 1968.

Other Marriages/Unions for Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF:
See Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF & Marjorie Doreen KNIBBS OR Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF & Edith Agnes MACKINTOSH OR Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF & Daisy BROWN

Notes for Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF:

Cyril, in the uniform of the Royal South African Air Force. (click to enlarge)

Cyril was a pioneer of the Royal Flying Corps. At the outbreak of WWI, he hotfooted to England where he trained to fly. During part of the Second World War, he commanded the Standerton South African Air Force flying school, established in 1940 at Mpumalanga in eastern South Africa, bordering Swaziland and Mozambique.

We see under the Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing) and Central Flying School records from 5 July 1917:
Royal Flying Corps (Military Wing)
Supplementary to Regular Corps:
C B Van Leenhoff, Lieut (on probation)


Cyril's father was a Dutch settler and farmer.

From an unknown publication, written by a newspaper columnist named Hugh Carruthers, quite probably in the 1960's:
"Bad" planes - there are none. The pilots get the jitters.
We were discussing, a couple of chums and I, "bad" aeroplanes --- those with heart-stopping vices like swinging wildly on take-off, dropping a wing viciously in a stall and generally putting years on the luckless pilot assigned to fly them.
Cyril van Leenhof stroked his close-cropped military moustache and gazed at me with level eyes.
"There are no bad aeroplanes," he declared flatly. "It's just that some chaps don't understand them. Give a plane a bad name and the pilot gets the jitters.
"Take the Venturas we flew during the last war. Our chaps had a lot of trouble with them in the time I was in charge of the Rand-Cairo shuttle service. But the Americans coped very well.
"When I commanded the air school at Standerton, the chaps were terrified of Miles Masters. But they were not bad, not bad at all ..."


I can name some characters who would be happy to join issue with Cyril - but then he was brought up in a tough school, in an age when engine failures were the order of the day and parachutes unknown.
He was in his late teens when the Kaiser's war broke out. He hotfooted it to England, joined the Royal Flying Corps and flew solo for the first time after only 4 hours 20 minutes of instruction on a Maurice Farman Shorthorn.
His first operational posting was to a squadron which was engaged on intercepting Gotha bombers by day and zeppelins by night.
"They were both hazardous occupations," declated Cyril. "A tracer bullet in the fuel tank . . An engine failure at night . . , And no means of getting out of it.
"I made two forced landingds in the dark, gliding down by the uncertain light of parachute flairs. Fortunately, on both occasions I found an uncluttered field."
Cyril "converted" to Camels, went to France where he had a fine old time as a scout pilot, then, in due course. was posted to the Middle East on night bombers.
There was seldom a dull moment in the sands of the desert.
Cyril was taking a nap in his tent one calm afternoon when a compatriot, on an outing in an Avro, got into a spin and crashed on top of him.
He went on to flying instruction and found things just as lively. One of his pupils, shaping to land a DH-6. forgot something along the way and ploughed straight into the ground.
"Among our pupils in Egypt.” said Cyril, "were Brigadier H. G. Willman, later South Africa's Air Chief of Staff, and Herby Taylor, who started out as a gunner, then became an observer.
"Another pupil was Michael O'Leary, who wan the Victoria Cross in the infantry in the early part of the war. He didn't qualify, though. He was a wild, un-disciplined character.

Bright boys

"A party of 26 Greek naval officers passed through the school. Instructing them was a heck of a trial because they had no English. We could use interpreters on the ground, but certainly not in the air. Happily, they were bright boys and tremendously keen."
Cyril bristles at the suggestion that the flying machines used in the First World War were "stick and string" contraptions.
"They were certainly frail," he confessed, "but they were hand-made and beautifully finished. Engine failures were the big problem. You never knew when the motor would quit on you."
And zeppelin hunting by night was hazardous enough without the added possibility of having to make a dead-stick landing in a built-up area.


Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at Find A Grave web site for recording the details, in his memory.

As well as Cyril, there was a daughter Constance Olive who was sent to finishing school in London. She was an attractive young woman who caught the eye of Edward VIII. Olive's family have a signed picture of him that he gave to Olive.

In q3/1926, Olive married a man named Sydney Cuthbert Rowland-Hall in the Brentford District of Middlesex. Sydney was born during q3/1899 in the district of Steyning, Sussex. He was the son of a clergyman and she thought it would improve her status in society. Unfortunately, Sidney had no income and basically lived off an allowance from his mother. The mother disapproved of Olive and cut off his allowance so neither of them had any steady income and ending up getting divorced.
Olive did a bit of modelling in a London department store.

Notes on The Rowland-Hall Family:

We first see this family between 1891 and 1894 listed in the Electoral Role of Marylebone, London:
The Rev. Thomas Rowland Hall, 25 Abercorn Place

In 1891, the census showed:
Thomas R Hall Head Mar 33 London
Flora S Hall Wife Mar 26 London, Russell Square
Mary E Beves Servant 21 Suffolk
Evelyn Winkworth Servant 22 Kent
Reginald G Hall Son 3 London
Rutland S Hall Son 1 London

By1901, they'd moved to Osmond Road, Hove, Sussex:
Thomas R Hall Head Mar 42 London
Flora L Hall Wife Mar 36 London
Rutland S R Hall Son 11 London
Dudley W R Hall Son 9 London
Sydney C Hall Son 3 Brighton, Sussex
Evelyn M Watkins Visitor 2 London
Elizabeth C A Standing Servant 27 Hove, Sussex
Esther E Moore Servant Female 16 Newhaven, Sussex

Between 1907-1910, Thomas was listed in the Electoral Role for Norfolk:
The Rev Thomas Rowland Hall, The Rectory, Kirstead

The 1911 census places Thomas, his wife and the youngest son Sydney, living back at Brighton, Sussex:
Thomas Rowland Hall Head Mar 52 London Stepney N
Flora Lucy Hall Wife Mar 46
Sydney Cuthbert Rowland HallSon 13

Dudley Walter Rowland Hall. became a Lieutenant in the Royal Marine Light Infantry, and died of wounds received in action in France on 27 March, 1918, aged just 26.
Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at Find A Grave web site for recording the details, in Dudley's memory.

Sydney was a Corporal in the South African Air Force. He was the youngest son of The Reverend Thomas Rowland-Hall and Lucy Rowland-Hall. He died aged 48.
Our gratitude goes to the members and volunteers at Find A Grave web site for recording the details, in Sydney's memory.

Rutland died during q2/1914 in Brentford District, Middlesex

Sources for Cyril Brian VAN LEENHOF:

  1. South African National Archives (NAAIRS),
  2. Marriage Certificate,

Notes for Elizabeth Mavis UNKNOWN:

It is documented in the South African National Archives that Elizabeth outlived Cyril.

Sources for Elizabeth Mavis UNKNOWN:

  1. South African National Archives (NAAIRS),