Events

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South African Nation-Building Commemoration

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South African Nation-Building Commemoration: a tribute to three great statesmen. To celebrate Freedom Day in South Africa, the South African Legion – England Branch, in association with the Royal British Legion – South African Branch and 133 Army Cadet Force, organised the inaugural Nation-Building Commemoration to pay tribute to three statesmen whose vision and deeds

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HMS Sheffield – Sunk 4th May 1982, Falklands War

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HMS Sheffield (D80) was a 4100 ton Type 42 destroyer, launched on 10th June 1971 and commissioned on 16th February 1975. She was the second Royal navy ship to bear this name. An explosion during construction killed two workers, and the damaged section of hull was replaced with another section from an identical design, but

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World War 2 Medals

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Understanding your Grandfather’s (or Fathers’) World War 2 medals. This is the standard set received by many South Africans who fought in both the North/East African theatre of operations and the Italian campaign. These are in the correct order of precedence and from left to right they are: 1. The 1939 – 1945 Star –

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SS Mendi – England Centenary Commemoration 2017

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  The centenary parade to mark the loss of the SS Mendi was held at Southampton’s Hollybrook Cemetery on the 20st of February. The site memorialises 2000 soldiers who died at sea and have no grave – that includes 600 of  the 616 casualties from the Mendi – fittingly honoured near the memorial to the

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Commonwealth Day Parade 2017

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  LONDON, 13 March 2017 –Mother Nature clearly smiles on the Commonwealth. On Monday, for (about) the fourth year in a row, the remembrance and wreath-laying ceremony at the Commonwealth Memorial Gates in Green Park, was blessed with (uncharacteristic for London) a mild sunny spring day. Lr. Theo Fernandes and I met-up at the venue,

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SS Mendi and Armed Forces Day, Noordwijk 2017

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The centenary of the sinking of the SS Mendi, as well as Armed Forces Day was commemorated at Noordwijk in the Netherlands on 21 February 2017. The ceremony began with a moving chapel service led by Rev. Andrew Gready. Short speeches were delivered by the Mayor of Noordwijk Jan Rijpstra, South African Ambassador Vusi Koloane,

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Ex ZIPRA fighter regrets downing Rhodesian Viscounts

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  By Shine Moyo, Special Correspondent Mapotos: A former member of the Zimbabwe People’s Liberation Army (ZIPRA) who was part of the gang that shot down tow Air Rhodesia Vickers Viscount planes in 1978 and 1979 says he regrets the two incidents which resulted in the death of 107 people. Nkululeko Norman Mabhena (61) told

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HMSAS Southern Floe

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Badge of H.M.S.A.S. Southern Floe which was picked up in an Italian dugout in the Desert by a sergeant in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the North African Campaign. (SA Military History – http://samilitaryhistory.org/vol013hk.html) 11 February 1941 HMSAS Southern Floe was sunk by a mine off Tobruk with the loss of 27 men, with

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SA Legion Presents the RBL Putney Club with Shield at Q1 Social

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  Following the productive quarterly committee meeting – with much ground covered on ramping up our SA Legion membership benefits (soon to be announced!) – some committee members proceeded to the quarterly social thereafter. During the social the SAL Chair & Vice Chair presented the Royal British Legion Putney Club with the SA Legion shield,

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Sunderland Flying Boats of Lake Umsingazi

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  THE SUNDERLAND FLYING BOATS OF LAKE UMSINGAZI By Jeff Gaisford Jeff Gaisford has a deep interest in the flying boats which operated in Zululand and this led to the writing of this article. It first appeared in World Air News and is reprinted here with kind permission. 262 Squadron RAF used Catalina Bay at

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DHL and The South African Legion step up to the mark to deliver prosthetic limbs to veterans in need

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  DHL and The South African Legion step up to the mark to deliver prosthetic limbs to veterans in need.   In 2015, as part of the Project Gemini exchange programme blind veterans from South Africa and the USA joined their peers in the United Kingdom for a week of socialising, learning and camaraderie.  Little

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Thiepval – End of Battle Somme Ceremony

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Event Gallery here. THIEPVAL, France – Friday 18 November 2016 was a date of solemn remembrances and stark reminders on several levels. Peter & Karen Dickens (representing the Royal British Legion UK Branch) and Andrew & Johanna Bergman (representing the SA Legion EU Branch) travelled to the Thiepval Memorial in Northern France for the Battle’s

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South African Legion Shields

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Sometimes, taking a wrong turn in cyberspace is not a complete waste of time. A few months ago, while searching for something completely different, I surfed-in on the website of Rowan Displays http://www.rowandisplays.com/ Pictures of their work reminded me of a lunchtime conversation that sprang up among Legionnaires admiring the array of regimental and association

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SA Legion Christmas Social Raises Funds

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  The SA Legionnaires and members of the 61 Mech Veteran Association held a joint Christmas party social in London. The “skouerskuur” was held at the Windsor Castle Pub (a period Victorian Pub) in Chelsea, London. The evening was a resounding success with over £200 being raised by way of a raffle towards Royal Hospital

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SA Legion Shield Award at Royal Hospital Chelsea

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Shield Award After attending the Carabiniers Boer War commemoration there was socialising with the resident Chelsea pensioners, and the opportunity to present John Rochester, Heritage Manager of Royal Hospital Chelsea, with the coveted SA Legion shield. John has been a strong supporter of our cause since day one, who himself was inspired by the strong

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Medal Award after 33 years

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Legion awards medals to worthy recipient Following the parade, newly elected chairman for the South African Legion England Branch, Lgr Claudio Chiste, awarded Tim Smart his two long awaited service medals with the ceremony being held on the parade ground of the famous Royal Chelsea Hospital. The proud recipient commended the Legion for taking action

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Carabinier Boer War Remembrance 2016

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The remembrance service with the South African Legion and the Royal Scots Dragoons was hosted by the Royal Hospital Chelsea. The annual participation of the SA Legion in the Carabinier Boer War Remembrance day has become institution for the Legion in recent years, with continued participation ever since first being invited 4 years ago.  

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AJEX 2016

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Members of the SA Legion joined more than 1,000 war veterans and supporters taking part in the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women’s (AJEX) annual parade and service on Sunday 20 November at the London Cenotaph to honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. After the parade marched into position, Lord Sterling, the AJEX president,

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Jan Smuts and Isaac Ochberg

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  You might remember heroic figures like Oskar Schindler (the famous “Schindler’s List”) who, during World War 2, rescued groups of Jews from certain annihilation. But did you know Jan Smuts also played a significant role in rescuing 200 Jewish orphans from the Ukraine in 1921? Here’s a little bit of unknown history involving an

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Interview with National President Lgr. Godfrey Giles

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2015 Interview with Legionnaire Godfrey Giles. Quite a nice outline and easy introduction on what the South African Legion is all about, who we are and what it is we do. See the video on Facebook by clicking this link. October 15, 2016 at 04:47PM

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South African Naval Losses in WW2

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Casualties compiled by Don Kindell ABRAHAMS, Henry, Able Seaman, CN/ 719204 (SANF), SANF, 19 November 1944, died ADAMS, Douglas E H, Act/Able Seaman, RNVR, 66378 (SANF), SS Tunisia, 4 August 1941, ship loss (President III, O/P), MPK ADAMS, Thomas A, Able Seaman, 67953 (SANF), Neptune, 19 December 1941, ship loss, MPK ADAMSON, William D, Ordinary

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Your SADF Insurance Buddy

  Remembering the days during South African National Service “ inklaar “, when if you arrived without having a bank account for your princely SADF pay, moenie worry nie….these good bankers from “Volkskas” (amalgamated with ABSA now) were right on hand to help you, with table and tannies (aunties) to sign you right on …

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Joe Slovo, Signaller, WW2

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  This “rooigevaar” (Red Danger) communist was also a South African Army world war 2 veteran – Joe Slovo (left of picture). Serving as a Signaler in combat operations for the South African forces in North Africa and Italy. His story reflects some amazing twists and turns in South African military history, much of it

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Major Arthur Walker HCG and Bar SM

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  It is with deep regret that we announce the passing this morning of a true South African military hero – the highest decorated South African Defence Force member and the legend that was Major Arthur Walker HCG and bar SM. You will be missed by many in the veterans circles and beyond, may your

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The Williams brothers from South Africa

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  Amazing when recruitment posters such as this one, among other reasons can motivate whole families to join the war effort in South Africa. The Williams brothers from South Africa all served in the First World War in different roles, from the army, to the air force and the Merchant Navy. Their parents Classina Cornelia

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South African Air Force AH-2 Rooivalk

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  South African Air Force AH-2 Rooivalk The Denel Rooivalk (previously designated AH-2 and CSH-2) is an attack helicopter manufactured by Denel of South Africa. Rooivalk is Afrikaans for “Red Kestrel”. The South African Air Force (SAAF) ordered 12 Rooivalks, designated the Rooivalk Mk 1 in SAAF service, the first of was officially handed over

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Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke CB, CBE – Founder of modern special forces

  Did you know that a South African was instrumental in founding modern Special Forces as we know them today (The British Commandos, the SAS and even the US Rangers) and defined the art of Deception Warfare? Brigadier Dudley Wrangel Clarke CB, CBE (27 April 1899 – 7 May 1974), known as a pioneer of

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HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall

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The Cruisers HMS Dorsetshire and HMS Cornwall were attacked and sunk on the 5th April 1942 by Japanese aircraft. The ships were spotted by a reconnaissance aircraft from the heavy cruiser Tone, and subsequently attached by over 50 Val dive bombers. In less that 8 minutes HMS Dorsetshire had been hit by 10 bombs, and

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“Ouma” Smuts

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This is arguably the nations’s darling for many years in South Africa, especially amongst the military personnel, but also to the public at large – South Africa’s First Lady, none other than the much loved – Ilsie Smuts, affectionately just known to just about everyone as “Ouma” Smuts. The South African Gifts and Comforts Fund

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Ek kan nie meer nie Korporal

Ek kan nie meer nie Korporal!!! …. (I can’t take it anymore Corporal). Music to a Physical Training Instructor (PTI) Corporal’s ears telling him a simple stress position holding a rifle (in this case the R1) is going its job. Note some of these “Roofies” (scabs), as you where referred to whilst new to the

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South Africans Commonwealth War Casualties buried across the World – Part One

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  South Africans participated in almost every theatre of war during both the First and Second World Wars. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Casualty Data Base 7 290 (includes 607 unknown) First World War casualties and 9 986 (includes 84 unknown) Second World War casualties are buried in 1 207 cemeteries while 2

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Sailor Malan – Freedom Fighter

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Another inconvenient truth to the current political narrative of the “struggle”, the first mass anti-Apartheid protests where led by this highly decorated Afrikaner war hero – Adolph “Sailor” Malan – and the mass protesters were not the ANC and its supporters, this very first mass mobilisation was made up of “White” war veterans – read

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Pro Nazi movements in WW2 South Africa

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The Ossewabrandwag History is always a three way prism. As with South African statute forces fighting “communism” on two fronts – the Bush War and the internal “struggle” movements in the 70’s and 80’s – so too during the Second World War, this time the “struggle” movement was a little different and South African statute

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Ian Yule

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  Some news from the South African Legion’s branch in the United Kingdom on Ian Yule (the chap seen here playing the tough cockney Sergeant Tosh Donaldson in “The Wild Geese”). Social services in the UK have finally taken him in, he is now in full time care in permanent accommodation. He now also has

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Carpane Massacre

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    In the North Italian village of Carpane on 27 September 1944 the Germans executed 16 Allied soldiers captured fighting with Italian partisans in that area. Among them were Private W.J. Kinnear (Transvaal Scottish) and Gunner R. S. Kinnear (South African Artillery) who escaped with other South Africans from a nearby POW camp and

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Milan War Cemetery

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On 3 September 1943 the Allies invaded the Italian mainland, the invasion coinciding with an armistice made with the Italians who then re-entered the war on the Allied side. The Allied advance was stalled for two successive winters: in 1943 on the German defensive position known as the Gustav Line, stretching from the river Gargliano

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The Stress Position

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Many of the National Servicemen veterans will remember (or quickly try and forget) this “stress position” used during various phases of “Punishment” Physical Training – commonly known as a “Oppie” (colloquial military term meaning “op fok”). This stress position was designed to build strength and familiarity when carrying an assault rifle, however what most of

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Air Chief Marshal Sir H.W.L. “Dingbat” Saunders GCB, KBE, MC, DFC & Bar, MM

Many South Africans achieved high positions of command in British Armed Forces during World War 2 – and this is one of them – Air Chief Marshal Sir H.W.L. “Dingbat” Saunders GCB, KBE, MC, DFC & Bar, MM Johannesburg-born Hugh William Lumsden “Dingbat” Saunders was educated at the Marist Brothers college in Johannesburg. Upon the

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The youngest recipient of the George Medal

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Today we have a heartwarming story of a forgotten heroine of World War 2 which carries with it a South African twist. 1941: Betty Quinn, 17, the youngest recipient of the George Medal, at the Investiture Ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. She saved seven people from a bombed air raid shelter while serving as an

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133 Army Cadet Force

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It’s not often that I’m moved to writing a post, but felt that I have to share my thoughts on the Royal British Legion – South African Branch’s affiliation ceremony with 133 Army Cadet Force in London on 2 December 2015. This was my first interaction with cadets,(since school) and was a remarkable experience We

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South African Seaward Defence Force Anti-submarine Flotilla, WW2

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We remember the flotilla of South African whalers converted for military service during World War 2, and the loss of the men aboard the HMSAS Southern Floe. A number of whalers were converted to anti submarine roles and commissioned into the South African Navy for service, they were part of the South African Seaward Defence

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The Brigadier

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  Christo our driver – he who successfully retreated from a Russian T-34 tank – was the most reluctant soldier in the Border War. The army didn’t want him to fight as he couldn’t handle pressure, and he didn’t want to fight anyway. Why? – because Jesus said turn the other cheek. Once we stole

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Visiting a T-34 Tank

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  Decades ago we came barreling around a corner in Onjiva and drove into a T-34 tank. We were just a SAI section in a Buffel. This was a seriously unequal encounter. Like when Bismarck concussed himself bouncing off Eben Etzebeth. You get two kinds of leopards, Oom Schalk Lourens said, one with more spots

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Steve Stevens, DFC (SAAF Beaufighter Pilot)

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Steve Stevens, DFC, is frail, bedridden and in pain. However, there is no doubt that this man is a force, a man who has packed more into his 96 years on Earth than most of us, and who is firmly committed to his goals and his religion. When I call him to arrange the meeting,

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Chairman’s Speech, South African Legion – UK and Europe AGM

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Ladies and Gentlemen, for those that were unable to attend the South African Legion – UK and Europe AGM, here is the Chairman’s Speech Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for assembling for our Annual General Meeting. What a benchmark year 2015 has been. A quick look back through the year is quite telling and the

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AJEX Parade 2015, London

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  The South African Legion UK Branch , took part in this years Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women Annual Remembrance Ceremony and Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall London. The reviewing officer was Field Marshall The Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, and the Ceremony was conducted by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Rabbi (Major) Reuben Livingstone and Rabbi

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Cenotaph Parade – London, England 2015

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More Images can be seen here. Published by Peter A. Dickens · 13 November at 14:33 A full contingent of South African Legion Legionnaires laid a wreath in the world renowned Cenotaph Parade held in Whitehall, London on Remembrance Sunday – 8th November 2015. The parade has 20 000 veterans and personnel from participating public

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Remembrance Service at Lyttelton

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REMEMBRANCE SERVICE AT SAINTS PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, LYTTELTON During October 2015 the Saints Presbyterian Church approached the National Headquarters of the South African Legion of Military Veterans for assistance in planning their 2015 Remembrance Day Service. It was referred to the Public Relations portfolio and I contacted the church and got involved. One of the request

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Cullinan Military Cemetery

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CULLINAN MILITARY CEMETERY – CULLINAN During World War 2 the Zonderwater area near Cullinan became a major assemble and training area for the troops of the Union Defence Force preparing for participation in the war “up North”. The village of Cullinan serves the Premier Diamond mine. During the Second World War the Union Defence Force

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The Second Battle of El Alamein.

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  On this day in 1942. The Second Battle of El Alamein begins and this is how it looked from the start line for British, South African and other Commonwealth troops taking part in the battle – this image taken as the British night artillery barrage opened the battle on 23 October 1942. Image copyright

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Captured Bush War Artillery

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  Bush War in Angola, now here we have a serious piece of captured Soviet artillery, taken by the SADF during Ops Hooper in 1988. One can only appreciate the size of this weapon when one stands next to it. The hardware in question is the Soviet manufactured 130mm M-46 Artillery Towed Gun is manually

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South African Air Force 34 Squadron Liberator

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  A South African Air Force 34 Squadron Liberator bomber’s stick of bombs (top left hand corner) on their way down onto the Marshaling Yards at Sarajevo, Yugoslavia during a 2 SAAF Wing Raid on the facility. Copyright SAAF Museum Collection

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Captured Soviet manufactured PMZ-4 Mine-layer

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  In case you are wondering why Angola is one of the most mined countries in the world, well this captured Soviet hardware goes some way to explain how mining land mines on an industrial level can be done. Here we have the Soviet manufactured PMZ-4 Minelayer Trailer. Originally designated the PMR-3 “Pricepnoi Minnyi Raskladchik”

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Laurence Harvey in The Manchurian Candidate

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  A little snippet of relatively unknown South African history. Here’s another South African military veteran from the Second World War who went on to become a famous movie star. Laurence Harvey (born Laruschka Mischa Skikne; 1 October 1928 – 25 November 1973) was a Lithuanian-born South African actor. In a career that spanned a

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This is not the time to play games!

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Imperial War Museum

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The Fire-Force on the Move

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The Fire-Force on the move. (SAAF Museum Collection photograph) – courtesy and thanks to Graham du Toit

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Derrick Dickens

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  Another South African Air Force artwork by renowned aviation artist Derrick Dickens’, part of his collection of South African Air Force paintings. These are SAAF Beaufighters attacking German ships during World War 2. Acrylic on canvass. Derrick passed away recently and is sorely missed by family, friends and the SAAF community. Artwork copyright –

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World War One Hero

VICTORIA CROSS AWARDEES DURING WORLD WAR 1:  ACTING LIEUTENANT COLONEL RICHARD ANNESLEY WEST VC DSO AND BAR MC, NORTH IRISH HORSE (CAVALRY SPECIAL RESERVE), ATTACHED TO 6TH LIGHT TANK BATTALION, 2ND TANK BRIGADE Richard Annesley West was born in 1 Oxford Street, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire on 26 September 1878, son of Lieutenant Augustus George West, 76th

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Gerard Ross Norton VC MM (7 September 1915 – 29 October 2004)

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  Celebrating true South African heroes and here is another Victoria Cross recipient, this is his story whilst taking part in the Italian campaign during World War 2, Gerard Ross Norton VC MM (7 September 1915 – 29 October 2004) was a South African recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award

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Shot Down Over Pembury

  Received this from Rob Johnson.  It appeared recently in a Pembury Village Magazine.  Thanks to the South African War Graves Projects have learned that his brother also died in the war. Charles Ross

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Operation Prone

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  Once in a while a personal photograph gem pops up on the veterans forums, this one thanks to the 61 Mech veterans fraternity, this was taken by Christie van Zyl during the demobilisation phase after Operation Prone in 1988. Photo copyright and courtesy of Christe van Zyl, posted for the SA Legion by Peter

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Acting Lieutenant Colonel Jack Sherwood Kelly, VC CMG DSO

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  SOUTH AFRICAN HEROES OF THE FIRST WORLD WAR: ACTING LIEUTENANT COLONEL JACK SHERWOOD KELLY VC CMG DSO. OFFICER COMMANDING 1ST BATTALION NORFOLK REGIMENT, THE ROYAL INNISKILLING FUSILIERS, 87TH INFANTRY BRIGADE, 29TH DIVISION. PART 2 This is a short tribute to one of South Africa’s most colourful characters of World War One and will focus

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Lieutenant D.C. “Tommy” Thomas

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  Today we profile another one of those South African heroes who served with the commandos on D-Day – Lieutenant D.C. “Tommy” Thomas, from Maclear in the Transkei. His most painful recollection of D-Day was the stormy passage he and his contingent had to undergo in crossing the Channel in their landing craft.The seas were

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South African Legion Club Durban and District Branch

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  South African Legion Club Durban and District Branch Just a quick update… We are now officially up and running here in Durbs after our 1st AGM Held at Stamford Hill Bowling Club. Our membership sits now at around 38 full members and 4 associate members so not too bad… We are still having problems

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South African Air Force Mustang

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  A South African Air Force Mustang undergoing maintenance – part of the British Commonwealth’s contribution to the United Nations Korean War effort. South Arican Air Force No 2 Sqn flew 10,373 Mustang sorties in Korea, followed by 2032 with the F-86. The SAAF pilots won three Legions of Merit, 2 Silver Stars, 50 DFC’s,

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What is a Poppy?

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The poem was written by a Grade 11 learner, Jessica Hepburn who lives in Johannesburg, and forwarded to the Chairman of the Kimberley Branch of the Legion. Good to see that the younger generation are aware of the significance of the “Poppy”. Story for the South African Legion of Military Veterans by Lgr Charles Ross

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Corporal William Cloete

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  Honouring real South African heroes and here stands an exceptional one. Corporal William Cloete was a Cape Coloured Corps member and the leader of a stretcher bearer team attached to the Cape Town Highlanders regiment in Italy during the Second World War. During a fierce fight with German troops when his company was pinned

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Wandsworth ACF

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  Some excellent work been done by the SA Legion in the United Kingdom as we continue our aims of youth education and participation with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces Cadet program. ACF Wandsworth – Cadet Saffa Da Conceaio and Detachment Commander Lt Cassandra Sealy, both Legionnaires, proudly carried the colours at this year’s Delville Wood

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Longest-reigning Monarch

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  Today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning monarch in British history. As Patron of Royal Commonwealth Ex Services Leauge (RCEL), she is a defacto Patron of the South African Legion as a founding member of the RCEL. It is for this reason that The South African Legion has the privilage her royal

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Operation Sceptic

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7 June 1980 Border War, Operation Sceptic. Capt IC Du Plessis landed his badly damaged Mirage F1AZ at Ruacana. The aircraft was damaged by shrapnel from an SAM Missile fired at the aircraft during the bombing of a target. He barely made it to Ruacana with the assistance of Budgie Burgers who was flying a

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Alouette Gunship

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  Nice action shot taken during the Bush War. Here a Alouette III Helicopter Gunship watches over another Alouette gunship as it becomes airborne. Teamwork at its best. Photo and caption courtesy and thanks to Graham Du Toit via South African Legion

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SAAF Rocket Firing Beaufighter Mk X

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  This was a highly controversial South African Air Force strike during the Second World War, and was held up by the German propaganda machine as an example of South African brutality firing on innocent passage liners with Red Cross markings (look closely at this famous medical neutrality marking on the funnels). The truth is

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Ops Medic Mural

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  South West Africa Border War, many veterans will recognise this. Famous Medic Mural painted on the wall at the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital at AFB Ondangwa. The Medic fraternity that served in this facility were Top Class and saved many lives (Both Friend and Foe) for the duration of the Bush War. Nothing short

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James Henry Greathead

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  During the Second World War, Londoners used the “Tube” underground rail system for air raid shelters, highly effective the tube system saved thousand of lives, but did you know that Londoner’s owe their saving grace to a South African – James Henry Greathead (6 August 1844 – 21 October 1896). Greathead was born in

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Let us remember rugby’s War Dead

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Today’s image celebrates a game of rugby played between South African and Australian military personnel in Beruit, Lebanon. In less than a month the World will again watch as the top Rugby playing Nations battle it out for the William Web Ellis Trophy as the Rugby World Champions of 2015. Maybe we should pause for

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First SAAF Buccaneer – RNAS Lossiemouth

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  This year marks the 50th anniversary of this historic flight – 25 May 1965 history was made when Cmdt Bob Rogers and Maj John Murphy lifted off at Holme-On-Spalding-Moor with Buccaneer S MK50 tail number 413 at 16h50 for the flight of the first SAAF Buccaneer to be delivered at the re-formed 24 Sqn

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Sid James – Carry On Saffa

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  Sid James – the “cockney Jack the lad” star of the “Carry On” movie series. But did you know Sid was a South African by birth and served in the South African Armed Forces in World War Two? Some more hidden history .. inside the chappies chewing gum “did you know” wrapper …. read

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Rhodesian African Rifles Memorial unveiling 19 Jul 2015.

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Some time back SAL-UK was invited to attend the unveiling of the RNR/RAR memorial at the NMA. This was held on the 19 July, but we have held back releasing the photo’s & story for a while as some of the original “masodjas” African soldiers were flown over to UK from Zim to attend the

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Benoni: 99th Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood

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About 100 Military Veterans and friends gathered at the cenotaph in Benoni on Sunday 19 July 2015 to attend the 99th Commemoration of the Battle of Delville Wood. A total of 17 wreaths were laid while 35 symbolic roses were placed by members of the public. Story for the South African Legion of Military Veterans

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Legionnaire, Moth, Signalman Malcolm Dirk Kriel

Friday 24 July 2015 Charles Ross attended the Memorial Service for Legionnaire/MOTH/Signalman Malcolm Dirk Kriel in the Westview Methodist Church in Wierda Park. The service was attended by many Military Veterans from various Veteran Organisations. Following a moving service by Pastor Wendy Walker the Legion and MOTH funeral rituals performed by Lgr Bazil Kriel and

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Krige Schabort, an Interview

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A chat with Krige Schabort, the Winner of the 2015 Espy Award for the Best Male Athlete with a Disability; Paralympic wheelchair athlete and Para Triathlete. By Tom Mason, 21/07/2015 Krige is a USA Paralympic competitor, and an ex South African Defence Force soldier who lost his legs in the Angolan war in 1987.  His

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Jackie Moggridge – South African ATA Pilot

Jackie Moggridge, (born Dolores Theresa “Jackie” Sorour) joined the Hatfield Ferry Pool on 29 July 1940, being the youngest of the female pilots, aged 18. The South African safely handed over 1,500 aircraft during the war, 83 different types and 200 more than any other ATA pilot. She had a very lucky escape on 5

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Peter McAleese – Beyond No Mean Soldier

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There are times when “Not for Ourselves, but for Others” cannot be better defined than it has been here. On 16 July 2015 Peter McAleese launched a sequel to his autobiography “Beyond no mean Soldier” at the Oriental Club in London. Peter McAleese is the renowned special forces operator who served with British, Rhodesian and

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South Africans in the Italian Campaign WW2

Famous LIFE colour photo from the Battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. May 1944 British, American and South African soldiers hold up Nazi trophy flag while combat engineers on bulldozers clear a path through the debris of the bombed out city. The Battle of Monte Cassino (also known as the Battle for Rome and the

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Krige Schabort – Inspiration

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  Krige Schabort was only 24 years old and serving as a corporal in the South African army when a bomb blast altered his life. I sat down and spoke with Krige about that fateful day.The date was November 02, 1987, Schabort and his fellow soldiers had taken over an enemy base and had set

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Tobruk War Cemetery

TOBRUK WAR CEMETERY On 21 June 1942 Tobruk fell, giving the German Afrika Korps major victory in North Africa. South African forces, along with numerous other Allies were very much involved in the fierce battles leading up to the tragic event. The casualties from the fierce battles are commemorated in two cemeteries by the Commonwealth

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Reconciliation – Armed Insurrection

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It would be incorrect to say that South African Legion serves the agenda of one or the other side of the political spectrum in South Africa, or that we are apologetic for the purposes of gaining some sort of political currency. As a progressive veterans and remembrance organization we pause to remember all sacrifice –

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South Africans involved in D Day

  Remembering D Day and the extreme bravery of quite a number of South Africans who took part in it. Two South Africans seconded to the Royal Marines were awarded the Military Cross for gallantry on D-Day. This is the citation for one of them Lieutenant Cecil Arthur Douglas Bircher, South African Forces (attached to

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Sinking of the Arniston – 200th Anniversary

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Images by Peter Napier 200 YEARS SINCE THE SINKING OF THE ARNISTON COMMEMORATED 30 May 1815 – The East Indiaman Arniston is wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans near Cape Agulhas with the loss of 372 lives and only 6 survivors. She had been requisitioned as transport (troopship) and was underway from Ceylon (now Sri

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Lunch at Sidi Barani

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  Lunch at Sidi Barani – SAAF and RAF World War 2, North African theatre and this image shows the high degree of cross over between South African units and British ones – here standing around the field kitchen are both Royal Air Force and South African Air Force personnel – the South Africans are

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SA Legion Medal Parade – Military Museum JHB

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I recently had the good fortune to happen upon the Military Museum in Johannesburg.  I’d been eager to see the 61 Mech memorial needle and of course the Lomba bell, centrepiece of what is known as the Hind memorial, so named because of the one significant loss by Charlie Squadron during the destruction of FAPLA’s

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Medal Ceremony Saturday 16 May 2015

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The South African Legion’s National Head Quarters (NHQ) – held a Medal Ceremony on Saturday 16 May 2015 for veterans who did not receive medals due to them at the Ditsong Museum of Military History in Johannesburg. The full group of recipients and their loved ones attended the ceremony.  The South African Legion assists in

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Savate Day 2015

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Savate day was remembered by the 32 Battalion Veterans Association yesterday at a large ceremony was held at the 32 Battalion remembrance tree, which is now located the Voortrekker Monument outside Pretoria. South African Legion representatives were at the ceremony to stand shoulder to shoulder with our brother veterans from 32 Battalion. 21 May is

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‘Battle of Cassinga’ on the 4th May 1978

  Today we especially remember the fallen from the Angolan/SWA Border War and the ‘Battle of Cassinga’ on the 4th May 1978 – in this very emotional picture we remember Rifleman Edward James Backhouse from 3 Parachute Battalion as he comes home. There is an unwritten law to all servicemen – you don’t leave your

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South African Victoria Cross

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    Rare that we see a image of a South African Victoria Cross recipient in action, but this is one such image. Flying this exact Avro Lancaster bomber is a Natal lad, Squadron Leader John Dering Nettleton VC.  He is another true South African hero and recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC), the highest

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Battle of Gideon Namibia

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BATTLE OFGIBEONNAMIBIACommemorating the centenary of The Great War 1914 – 1918 and the South African campaign in what is now Namibia. This week we remember the centenary of the Battle of Gibeon during the German South West African campaign. This is the Gibeon Station Cemetery where the Allied and German casualties are buried and commemorated.

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Battle of Trekkopje

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CENTENARY OF THE BATTLEOFTREKKOPJE 26 APRIL1915 Yesterday marked the centenary of the Battle of Trekkopje, a railway station some 75 kilometres from Swakopmund in Namibia, between the German and Allied Forces. The Allied Forces comprised mainly of Union Defence Force troops.It was one of the most important battles of the German South West African campaign

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Lancaster W4888

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On a remote location in the Netherland’s the South African national flag permanently flutters proudly next to the Canadian, British and Dutch national flags – held high in grateful recognition of the sacrifice to liberate the country during World War 2 and to commemorate a special memorial and site. Recently the South African Legion representative

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Dar Es Salaam Cemetery

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The East African campaign of the First World War which started on 05 August 1914 when troops from the Uganda attacked German boast on Lake Victoria. This was soon followed up by an assault on the radio stations by the ships from the Royal Navy on 08 August 1914.Dar es Salaam was the capital of

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Eric Horace Johnson

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It is with sadness again that we announcethatWW2SAAF fighter pilot Eric Johnson passed away earlier this month on 6 April 2015 at the near age of 97. Another one of our finest SouthAfricanWW2 heroes has slipped from this world to touch the face of God.R.I.P. Eric and condolences to his family and friends. We will

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Palmietkuil South War Cemetery and Memorial

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PALMIETKUIL SOUTH WAR CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL, SPRINGS, SOUTH AFRICAThis possible the closest cemetery in South Africa to the cemeteries found along the Western Front in France and Belgium. It is surrounded by trees and away from the everyday noise which makes the cemetery peaceful and quiet. A place to sit down and enjoy the tranquillity.

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Three Ships Service 2015

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  Some more great work from the South African Legion – Port Elizabeth branch – annual Three Ships Service in PE, in recognition of the three ships lost in February with the loss of so many South Africans – The SS Mendi, the MHSAS Southern Floe and SAS President Kruger.   The Annual Three Ships

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Pretoria Medal Presentation Ceremony

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PRETORIA MEDAL PRESENTATION CEREMONYSaturday 14 March 2015 the Pretoria Branch of the South African Legion of Military Veterans hosted the first Medal Presentation Ceremony in Pretoria. The ceremony took place at the GEM Village Irene in Centurion. Following the opening and welcome address by the Chairman of the Pretoria Branch, Charles Ross, 10 Pro Patria

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The tragic sinking of HMS Barham

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During the Second World War, South African Navy personnel – known at the time as the “South African Naval Forces” (SANF) were seconded to serve on ships in the Royal Navy.  Nothing drives home the peril of serving on a fighting ship harder than this footage of the sinking of the HMS Barham, it is

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Vergaan SS Mendi herdacht – Bo, de omroep van de Bollenstreek

Noordwijk – Met een dienst in de kapel van de Algemene begraafplaats is zaterdag het zinken van de SS Mendi herdacht. 98 Jaar geleden, op 21 februari 1917, werd de Mendi in dichte mist in het Kanaal geramd door het oorlogsschip Darro. De Mendi zonk binnen 25 minuten. Daarbij verdronken 646 opvarende… More info @

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SABC News – Mendi heroes remembered on two continents :Sunday 22 February 2015

For the first time, a memorial service for the hundreds of South Africans who died when the SS Mendi sank in the English Channel 98 years ago, has been held in Noordwijk in the Netherlands. More info @ http://ift.tt/1AAXCBM Automated post from South African Legion – http://ift.tt/1nMVGNW February 23, 2015 at 09:32AM

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Lgr Frank Sexwale

  It is with a very heavy heart this morning that we announce the passing the Past Chairman of the South African Legion’s Soweto Branch. Lgr Frank Sexwale. Frank Sexwale was one of our last remaining World War 2 heroes, having served with the South African Native Military Corps during the war and was very

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Remembering the South African Navy Frigate, SAS President Kruger.

The SAS President Kruger was a frigate of the South African Navy. She sank in 1982 with the loss of 16 lives on the 18th February 1982. More info

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Grand President – The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL)

  South African Legion of Military Veterans press announcement, as of yesterday 9th February 2015 His Royal Highness The Duke of York, Prince Andrew will take up the position of Grand President to our founding organisation – The Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League (RCEL). The South African Legion of Military Veterans is delighted with General The

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Hamilton War Cemetery – Bloemfontein

  BLOEMFONTEIN (HAMILTON) WAR CEMETERY The Hamilton War Cemetery in Bloemfontein with its 74 Commonwealth graves is one of the 602 burial sites in which 8 440 casualties are commemorated for which the South African Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible in South Africa. Both the number of burial sites and graves

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WW2 SA Naval Casualties by Name and Ship

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  CASUALTIES BY DATE and SHIP Compiled by Don Kindell     1 9 3 9   4 October 1939   South African Naval Force LUCAS, E (initial only) W R, Chief Engineman, 66756 (SANF), died   13 October 1939   Disa (SANF) NICOLSON, Andrew, Cook, 63827 (SANF), died     1 9 4 0

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Cenotaph Parade Report – 2014

    Taking-up our rightful place Put more than 10,000 people in one place at the same time, and there’ll be an inevitable ‘rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb’. So at 11h00 in Whitehall, it was the hush that struck home. The Met Office originally promised heavy rain for Sunday morning. Thankfully, Mother Nature hastened Her schedule, so

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A Brilliant Campaign…

         “A Brilliant Campaign “…   From a letter written by Captain Trevitt ( South African Engineers ) to a Mrs. Wood, of Trentham, Long Eaton ( UK ), as published in  “ The Long Eaton Advertiser ” of 16th July 1915.      “By the masterly plan and conduct of a war

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Richmond – South African Hospital 1916 and Richmond Military Cemetary

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This is just to demonstrate a small piece of the work of the SA Legion-UK. Makes for a good read, so please enjoy, and consider joining us as we continue to highlight the role SA has played in conflicts around the world.   In 1916 General Smuts was put in charge of the WW1 conquest

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The SAAF in the Korean War

Excellent and extremely rare original colour photograph of North American F-51D Mustang fighters of No. 2 Squadron of the South African Air Force (SAAF) whilst involved in the Korean War. Here they are seen conducting run-ups at their base in Korea in 1951. This particular F-51D Mustang No. 346 – featured in the photograph – crashed

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The El Alamein “Stuka Party”, the SAAF’s finest hour in the desert war during WW2

World War 2 – The "1 Squadron Stuka Party' – a very successful day out for South African pilots, and the finest hour for SAAF pilots in the North African theatre of operations. Here is Major G J "Lemmie" le Mesurier, Officer Commanding No. 1 Squadron South African Air Force (SAAF), standing by his Hawker Hurricane

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South Africans carrying a wounded enemy German soldier to a medical station WW1

Rare photo of frontline South Africans in World War 1, and also one which shows compassion. Battle of Menin Road Ridge. Four South African 'Scottish' in their distinctive Murray of Atholl tartan kilts are seen carrying in a wounded German on a stretcher to a British medical aid station. Other wounded German prisoners are seen in

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Capt. Edwin Swales VC – a true South African WW2 hero

  Another notable South African hero and Victoria Cross winner, Captain Edwin (Ted) Swales VC, DFC (pictured in the center with his crew) was born in Inanda, Natal, South Africa, he went to Durban High School (DHS) and then joined Natal Mounted Rifles, seeing action in Africa before he transferring to the South African Air

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South Africans in one of the most bitter battles ever – Cassino

  Rare image of South Africans in combat during one of the most bitter battles of World War 2 – Monte Cassino. Overlooked by the ruins of this hill-top monastery, South African engineers of 11th Field Company, South African Engineer Corps, clear rubble from ‘Route 6’, the main road through Monte Cassino. The final German

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South African WW1 recruitment poster calling for revenge over the execution of Edith Cavell.

1915 – Fascinating World War 1 recruiting poster urging South Africans to arms. The poster urges South Africans to avenge the execution of a nurse – Edith Cavell (1865-1915) who was a Red Cross nurse in Belgium, executed by the Germans during the First World War.  The British-born Cavell arrived in Belgium in 1907 to

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MS Oceanos – South African military bravery on the high seas

  The tragedy of the MS Oceanos can be regarded as one of the finest hours for the South African Navy and South African Air Force, and is regarded as one of the greatest maritime rescues ever undertaken.  Not only was every soul saved, the South African Navy and South African Air Force personnel conducted themselves

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John Household – First Flight

  By Legionnaire Kevin Bolton, photos of the memorial courtesy of OM Greene of Hilton and of Karkloof, Ken Gillings     In my travels around South Africa, presenting GPS Challenges, I have come across many historic events which I do not remember having been taught at school but which I believe are important to

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Was Guy Gibson shot down by Friendly Fire?

(First published in the Daily Mail in October 2011 by Jessica Satherly) One of the greatest heroes of the Second World War was killed by friendly fire, according to a posthumous confession 67 years later by the man who pulled the trigger.   Guy Gibson, who won a VC for leading the Dam Busters’ ‘bouncing

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WW1 South African standing sentry in the trenches

Very rare photo of South Africans in the frontline trenches during World War 1. Here is a South African sentry standing lookout at his post near Fricourt, France whilst taking part in the Somme offensive.  Note the freezing, miserable conditions and the wind vanes which were used to warn troops of favourable conditions for a

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Centenary Commemoration of World War One

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  ST MARY’S ANGLICAN CHURCH, CAMBRIDGE, EAST LONDON Article by Charles Ross   On Sunday 28 September 2014 the Parish of St Mary’s Anglican Church, Cambridge, East London held a Celebration of Remembrance 1914 – 2014 in sacred memory of the 11 members of the Parish who gave their lives for King and Country whilst

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Bob Kershaw – a South African war hero

Lieutenant Robert Harold Carlisle Kershaw DSO, DFC became the first South African pilot to be made a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in WW2, Lt Bob Kershaw earned the DSO for rescuing his commanding officer Captain Jack Frost after he had been shot down during a raid on the Italian airfield at Diredawa. 

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Sir Quintin Brand KBE, DSO, MC, DFC – World War 1

    Brand was born in Beaconsfield (now part of Kimberley, Northern Cape) in South Africa to a CID Inspector in the Johannesburg police. He joined the South African Defence Force in 1913.   During the years 1914–1915, Brand continued to serve in the Union Defence Force.   In 1915, Brand travelled to England where

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Rommel inspects South African and British POW’s after Tobruk falls

Collated by Peter Dickens Fascinating and uncommon photo of victorious German troops ba gging South African prisoners.  Here the German Afrika Korps Commander  – Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is seen inspecting South African and British Prisoners of War (POW’s) after the fall of Tobruk in World War 2. This account in the South African archives,

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The tragedy of the SS Mendi – South Africa’s greatest wartime loss

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Collated by Peter Dickens     On 21 February 1917, during World War I, this chartered troopship – the SS Mendi – containing a full battalion of South African Native Labour Corps men and officers on it’s way to the western front was rammed in fog conditions in the English Channel. The SS Mendi sank in

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The Battle of Square Hill

Contributed by Charles Ross   On Sunday 21 September the Battle of the Square Hill was commemorated at various cities in South Africa. The Cape Coloured Corps saw service in German East Africa, Egypt, Palestine and Turkey. The Battle of Square Hill took place on the night of 17/18 September 1918. The Cape Corps broke

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WW2 South African soldier standing proud guarding Waterkloof AFB

A rare and wonderful original colour WW2 photo of a proud South African soldier, during World War 2, Great Britain used the Commonwealth to train pilots from all over the world, under a scheme called the Commonwealth Joint Training Plan.  A key part of this plan included Waterkloof in Pretoria, and here a South African african soldier

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South Africans in the RAF

One of the RAF’s leading aces, and one of the highest scoring pilots during the Battle of Britain was Adolph “Sailor” Malan DFC, an RAF pilot since 1936, who led No. 74 Squadron RAF at the height of the Battle of Britain. Under his leadership No. 74 became one of the RAF’s best units. Malan claimed his first two

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South African Battle of Britain hero and WW2 Fighter Ace – “Dutch” Hugo

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Group Captain P H “Dutch” Hugo (left), Commanding Officer of No. 322 Wing RAF, and Wing Commander R “Raz” Berry (right), who took over leadership of the Wing in January 1943, conversing at Tingley, Algeria.  Petrus Hendrik Hugo, a South African, joined the Royal Air Force on a short-service commission in February 1939. He flew

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84th Congress of the South African Legion of Military Veterans

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  A very successful 84th Congress of the South African Legion of Military Veterans was hosted by the Kroonstad Branch of the Legion over the period 12 to 14 September 2014. The congress was attended by 8 members of the National Executive, 3 Provincial Chairman, 16 delegates and 28 observers from 16 branches.   Congress

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A tank named Jannie Smuts

World War 2 – Italy 1944, a crew of the Pretoria Tank Regiment, 6th South African Armoured Division, christen their Sherman tank with the name of their Prime Minister, General Jan Smuts, during their advance north of Rome.    Image copyright: Imperial War Museum

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Falklands bombing raid

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  On 30 April 1982, the RAF launched a secret mission: to fly a Vulcan bomber to the Falkland Islands and bomb Port Stanley’s runway, putting it out of action for Argentine fighter jets.   The safety of the British Task Force depended on its success.   Nick Stanham

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Dave Campbell

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    RIP Dave Campbell former drummer of “The Rising Sons” and Veteran of the Natal Carbineers and the Border war where he served as an Officer. We will remember.

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Rare original colour photo of a SAAF spitfire during WW2

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South African Air Force in Gabes in Tunisia April 1943 during World War 2. Rare original colour photo of the Supermarine Spitfire pilot of ER622, No 40 Squadron, South African Air Force as he confers with his ‘No 2’ after landing at Gabes.     Note the ‘orange’ centre on the roundel marking and orange stripe on

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Springboks on Patrol again

THE FALLEN is a short film by Bauke Brouwer, and was filmed with the help of the Cape Town based Heritage Group.     A gallery of images taken during the shoot can be seen here.  

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The Fallen – The Shoot

Images by Anton Crone (See the film here) [print_gllr id=1871] In this short film about two close friends, Bauke juxtaposes the tumultuous desert warfare of North Africa with the sedentary life of South Africa. Yet, through love and loss, the effects of war are deeply felt no matter how far away the fighting is. It

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Springboks on Patrol

Iconic photo of a South African rifle section – known as “Springboks” to the Commonwealth and British Forces (and even German and Italian Forces) taking part in this North Africa campaign during World War 2.  Here seen making their way along a sand dune in the North African desert.   Photo copyright – Imperial War Museum Collection.

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South Africans in D-Day

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[Contributed by Ian Meadows, with Sources: Ross Dix-Peek, SA Newspaper, 10th June 1944; 24th June 1944; SA Military History Journal, Vol.2, No 3, June 1972; Commonwealth War Graves Commission] South Africans were represented in all branches of the services during the D-Day Landings on the blood-strewn beaches of Normandy on the 6th June 1944, a

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Rare image of a wounded South African during World War 1

Rare photo of South Africans in action during World War 1. Battle of the Menin Road Ridge; part of the Ypres initiatives. Here a wounded South African is being given a hot drink by a Padre and consoled by a fellow South African brother in arms, after the attack on Potsdam (a German stronghold near

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Entrepeneurs over 50

For all of those contemplating retirement, here is some food for thought. You could of course do some work for the Legion too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-manning/older-entrepreneurs_b_5713857.html   Norman Sander  

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Military Honours for Cmdt Johann Du Randt

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Commandant Johann Christiaan Du Randt (Artillery Observation Officer, 4 Field Regiment) is carried to his last resting place on a gun carriage with full military honours. He was Killed in Action on the 3rd September 1987 in a 42 Squadron Atlas AM3-C Bosbok, Serial No 934 which was shot down by a Soviet SA-8 Gecko

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Colonel “Oom Vuil” Fred Potgieter.

The story of Colonel “Oom Vuil” Fred Potgieter.   When the SAAF bought the farm at Ondangwa to establish an air force base there was pretty much nothing but an open expanse of savanna grasslands. When the Mobile Radar Unit moved in to establish themselves, this convoy of trucks drove into the new base and

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SA Legion Medal Parade for D. Mannall MMM

  The South African Legion – United Kingdom branch, held a medal parade for fellow Legionnaire David Mannall MMM on the 23/08/2014 as well as supporting him in the launch his new book ‘Battle on the Lomba” at the Oriental Club.  Dave received his long awaited and very well deserved Military Medal of Merit (MMM), his Pro Partia, his

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Captain Edwin Swales, V.C.

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Edwin Essery Swales was one of four children born in Inanda, Natal, South Africa to Harry Evelyn Swales, who was a farmer in the Heatonville district, and Olive Miriam Essery. Following the death of her husband in the influenza epidemic of 1918-19, Mrs Swales and her children moved to the Berea, Durban.   Here, Edwin

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Rare photo of a SAAF Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk VI

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Never before published photograph of 11 Squadron Canadair CL-13B Sabre Mk VI 380 flying in the area between Potgietersrust and Pietersburg. Photo recently donated to the SAAF Museum. The photograph was most probably taken in the late 1960’s. Caption thanks and photo Grahame Du Toit and his on-going work.  

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Son of South Africa who died during the Vietnam War remembered today

Today we remember a son of South Africa who died during the Vietnam War. He is also shared with Australia and the USA. 0103695 1st Lieutenant John Louis Molynaeux Jr was born in Australia and was then naturalised and grew up in South Africa – going to St. Charles College, Pietermaritzburg before returning to Australia

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As Narrated by a Territorial Soldier in Rhodesia

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A personal account by a Territorial Rhodesian Soldier…..                       The Rhodesia Military and me   So where to start, possibly the best place is the beginning.   So this is it , I was born in Nkana Kitwe in Northern Rhodesia , a mining town where my father had journeyed to as a young Tradesman

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The coelacanth Dak K-OD 6832

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Did you know that the aircraft that was tasked by the Prime Minister to “fish-nap” the coelacanth is at the SAAF Museum Cape Town, and had the squadron code K-OD?

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Military Cross for Southern African Royal Marine

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A Southern African who won the Military Cross for outstanding bravery whilst serving in the Royal Marines has been officially presented with the decoration by Prince Charles. Marine Craig Buchanan, 26, received the Military Cross from Prince of Wales during an investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace on January 24, 2014 in London, England. He was

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Private Beleza rests in a home fit for heroes

  This article was published in the Cape Argus on 17th July 2014 under the title “Private Beleza rests in a home fit for heroes” and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the Cape Argus By Jackie Loos Caption: The chaplain of the SANLC camp at Dannes, 13km south of Boulogne, March 1917

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Delville Wood Re-interment

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  The South African Veterans and French Veterans form the honour guard at the War Memorial in Delville Wood, and drop the veteran association standards in honour of Private Beleza Myengwa, a South African Labour Corps soldier, who on the 27th November, 1916, who was the first SALC casualty in France at the start of

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Poetry – ISANDLAWANA

Nkosi, we scream, And I taste the thunder Of our feet. Nkosi! And brandish high Our bloody assegays. Nkosi… He stands,  The Great Bull-Elephant And raises his hand. The White-Mother Sent us boys Who still stumble. Boys to fight men, We will humble Their pride. Raise high My Impies, Your assegays, Let us make The

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South Africans in D-Day

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Remembering D Day and the extreme bravery of quite a number of South Africans who took part in it. Two South Africans seconded to the Royal Marines were awarded the Military Cross for gallantry on D-Day. This is the citation for one of them Lieutenant Cecil Arthur Douglas Bircher, South African Forces (attached to the

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Army Life in WW 2

Carl A. L. Craemer     I listened to General Smuts’ speech on the radio to the South African nation on the evening of 6 September 1939. Our army would be a voluntary army and no-one would be conscripted. Our duty would be to protect the borders at Abyssinia (Ethiopia) and prevent a break-through by

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Savate Day

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  32 Battalion – controversial to this day – yes, but the fact still remains – it is considered to be one of the best fighting battalions the South African Army has ever fielded in battle and of that there is no doubt. This powerful image of Peter Williams from 32 Battalion is testament to

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The New Zealanders` Farewell to the South Africans

This was written after the South Africans held their positions at Deville Wood on the Western Front, for a loss of 2536 of their men during World War I. This poem, written by 2nd Lt. Thomas A. Clark Snr. of the Royal New Zealand Expeditionary Forces,  typifies the South African soldier at that time: ” The New Zealanders’

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First World War : Order of Battle and Operational History Timeline of the 9th Scottish Dvision ( incorporating 1st South African Infantry Brigade ).

The 9th ( Scottish ) Division came into existence as a result of Army Order No. 324, issued on 21 August 1914, which authorised the formation of the six new Divisions of Kitchener`s K1. Plan. It was formed of volunteers, under the administration of Scottish Command. The division had been in training at home since late

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Tunisian Campaign 1943

    WW2 – Tunisian campaign 1943 – original colour photograph of two clipped-wing Supermarine Spitfire V’s of No 40 Squadron, South African Air Force serving in a reconnaissance role. ER622/`WR-D’ accompanied by `WR-C’ patrols over the Tunisian battle-front. Note the orange centre on the rondel and orange strip on the tail flash. The rondel

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Bravery in the highest order on the MS Oceanos

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The tragedy of the MS Oceanos can be regarded as one of the finest hours for the South African Navy and South African Air Force, and is regarded as one of the greatest maritime rescues ever undertaken. Not only was every soul saved, the SAN and SAAF personnel conducted themselves in great regard with a

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Remembrance Day

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At approximately 05:00 on Monday, 11 November 1918, the Armistice was signed in a railway carriage of Marshall Foch’s special train at Rethondes, just outside Paris in the forest of Compiege on the Western Front. At 11:00 that day, the roar of guns ceased and peace and silence finally descended on the Western Front, ending

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Delville Wood

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The Battle of Somme, launched on 01 July 1916, was one of the bloodiest offensives during World War 1. 1 SA Brigade was part of the 9th Division in reserve on the Southern Sector. On 14 July 1916, the 26th Highland Brigade attacked the village of Longueval, situated on a plateau with a small wood

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Bucaneer 416 – Restoration Project Visitors

  Both these photos reflects historical occasions. 1st Photo 25 May 1965, the delivery of the 1st Buccaneer – 413 at the newly formed 24 Sqn at RNAS Lossiemouth, Scotland. 2nd Photo 1 March 2014, nearly 49 years later, the two Old Timers, Neels Theron(75) and Paul Claasen(83) visited the Bucc 416 restoration project at

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6th Armoured Division in the ‘soft underbelly’

  If anything this image shows us just how tough it was for the South Africans fighting in Italy during WW2. Unlike the usual images of victory and triumphal equipment and men, this image shows us just how hard the fighting was and the awful toll taken by the South Africans. Here are two of

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‘Twas on a misty mountain

The radar station that I was posted at was set high up on a mountain, 2000 metres above the ground. It was divided into 2 main areas; the accommodation and mess area which was lower down and the actual radar station itself, right at the top. The top area was also divided into 2 areas,

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Marzabotto

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Marzabotto – An Italian town’s appreciation to South African troops for rescuing them from total annihilation after the massacre of it’s townspeople by Nazi SS during World War 2. Today, deep in the heart of Italy’s Apennine mountains between Bologna and the Po valley, in the communities of Castiglione dei Pepoli, Monte Stanco, Grizzana Morandi

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SS Mendi Parade Report

The Parade to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi took place at Hollybrooke in Southampton on the 23rd February 2014. The parade was jointly hosted by The Friends of Dellville Wood and the South African legion – United Kingdom Branch. Speakers  John McCabe – Friends of Delville Wood Colonel ND Tshiloane – SANDF Deputy

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Head and Shoulders

A man who stands head and shoulders above men.   Col Jan Breytenbach seen here after been blown clear from his vehicle when it hit a anti tank land mine whilst on operations in southern Angola on the 29th August 1981. Col Breytenbach immediately returned to rescue Dave Barr, his gunner, who was pinned under

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South Africa’s WW1 Victoria Cross Winner

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Honouring South African heroes and this is one of South Africa’s greatest. Many people don’t know that South Africa has it’s own WW1 flying ace and VC winner, and this is him! Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor was the highest scoring South African ace during the First World War, claiming 54 victories. He was an engineering student at

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North African and European Campaigns

The SAAF squadron which found and then photographed Auschwitz concentration camp. Mosquito XVI of No. 60 Squadron South African Air Force at the dispersal on San Sever Airfield, Foggia Airfield Complex, Southern Italy, 1944. From San Severo the Squadron, equipped with photo-recce Mosquitoes, carried out detailed large-scale photographic surveys of German held areas, eventually ranging

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February News from the RBL

Below are this months news articles from the Royal British Legion. Premier League Clubs support the Poppy Appeal – bids underway for signed poppy boots For the third consecutive year all 20 Barclays Premier League clubs supported this year’s Poppy Appeal over the Remembrance weekend by wearing special-edition poppy shirts and boots during their ma…

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Forgotten Valour

    Do take a little time to read this. With the SS Mendi remembrance parades coming up this weekend, we reflect the involvement of Black South Africans in both world wars.   The contributions of black South Africans to both the world wars remains relatively unknown, but the sacrifice and valour no less.  

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How to wear your poppy

  The Royal British Legion has created this video on the correct way to wear a poppy. With Pride.   [youtube_video id=”yFcAx7FC3GY”]    

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SA Veterans to march in Cenotaph Parade

  Remembrance Day Special: SA Veterans to march past Cenotaph in main parade!   On 10 November 2013 we will pause once more to remember the countless brave men and women who over so many generations have sacrificed everything for country and comrade.   In addition to the traditional Remembrance Day marches organised by SA

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The Two Minute Silence

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Origins of the Two Minute Silence.   Throughout the Great War, whenever South African Troops suffered losses a period of silence was observed at noon in Cape Town.    In May 1919 Australian journalist Edward Honey suggested a five minute silence.   In a minute dated 4th November 1919 and submitted to Lord Milner by

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Saracens Poppy Appeal

  The SA Legion marked their formal association with the Royal British Legion (RBL) last weekend at Saracen’s Allianz Park Stadium by volunteering to support the RBL Poppy Appeal.   Read more here.

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Battle of the Menin Road

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By Filip Debergh On 20 September 1917 at 05.40, two regiments, the 3rd and the 4th South African Infantry battalions of the 1st South African Infantry Brigade, left their assembly positions and advanced from Frezenberg Ridge in the direction of Zonnebeke. Zonnebeke is a small village 8km to the east of Ypres, the town that

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Schools pay tribute to South African WW1 soldiers at Tyne Cot

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  Courtesy of Filip Debergh We previously posted a report on the reburial of three South African soldiers at Tyne Cot, and followed that up with a report on a planned visit by three South African schools. The gallery documents the visit. On 23 Sept. 2011 the remains of 3 South African soldiers were exhumed

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Three South African schools to commemorate fallen countrymen on Tyne Cot Cemetery

  Author: Filip DeBergh     On 23 Sept. 2011 the remains of 3 South African soldiers were exhumed from the grounds of brick factory Wienerberger at Zonnebeke, Belgium. They turned out to be men of the 4th regiment, SA Scottish, 1st SA Infantry Brigade. The soldiers died on 20 Sept. 1917 during Third Ypres.

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” A Brilliant Campaign.. ” : Letter written by Captain Trevitt, South African Engineers, during the German South West Africa Campaign ( 1914 – 1915 )

“A Brilliant Campaign “…   From a letter written by Captain Trevitt ( South African Engineers ) to a Mrs. Wood, of Trentham, Long Eaton ( UK ), as published in  “ The Long Eaton Advertiser ” of 16th July 1915.      “By the masterly plan and conduct of a war against both nature and

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The New Zealanders’ Farewell to The South Africans

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  This was written after the South Africans held their position at Deville Woods on the Western Front at a loss of 2536 of their men in WWI. This poem written by 2nd Lt. Thomas A. Clark Snr which typifies the South African soldier at the time. This poem written by 2nd Lt. Thomas A.

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Reburial of WW1 SA Soldiers at Tyne Cot

      Video of the event   Three unknown South African soldiers, who died while fighting on the Western Front in 1917, will be re-interred during a ceremony at Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium on 9 July 2013 at 10.00am.   The SA Legion UK has been invited by the Delville Wood Museum and

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Delville Wood – Rest, Young Man

  Muddy waters mix with blood. The blood of a young man, far from home. Wet, cold, tired, hurt, yet he does not falter. A call from his country, to defend his allies. An adventure seen, yet a horror lived. Total chaos. Smoke, fire, steel. Hurt, pain, burning flesh. Blood. Death. Peace. Eternal peace. Red

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Poppy Day

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Poppy Day is the major fund raising event of the South African Legion of Military Veterans and takes place on either the Saturday prior to Remembrance Day or on the previous Saturday, ie the first Saturday of November. IN FLANDERS FIELDS by Lt Col John McCrae In Flanders’ fields the poppies blow Between the crosses,

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Commonwealth War Graves Commission Newsletter

The CWGC March 2013 newsletter features the SS Mendi Parade which took place in Portsmouth on 24th February 2013. You can view this here.  

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SS Mendi Parade

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  Let us die like brothers – the legacy of the SS Mendi   The accidental ramming of SS Mendi Troopship by SS Daro on a cold foggy morning eleven miles off Isle of Wight, on 21st February 1917, became an almost unparalleled wartime tragedy for South African forces.   Daro, at almost three times

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SAS President Kruger Parade

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The furious seas of February a month to remember the SAS President Kruger and the SS Mendi The South African Legion – United Kingdom branch conducted a parade at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial located in Southsea Portsmouth on the 24th February 2013.   The South African Legion came together to remember all men lost at

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Happy New Year 2013 Legionnaires

  Just a message from the ‘committee’, last year – 2012 – was AWESOME, we started 2 fully fledged branches in the UK with a mandated national body, and that is a phenomenal achievement. In a matter of 6 months, not only did we start a Legion operation, we were recognized by the RCEL and

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Message from the Parade OC Lgr Peter Dickens – SA Legion UK Commonwealth Gates Parade 11/11/2012

Thank you for coming on parade, I really appreciate the effort been made to remember the South African fallen … here in London on Armistice Day … an occasion you will all agree I am sure is well overdue. To give context of why we are here I would like to bring up two stories,

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Remembrance Sunday: The traumas of war that haunt us still

When Caroline Greene unearthed her grandfather’s wartime correspondence, she was stunned to learn the truth about his death.   By Caroline Greene 09 Nov 2012 For thousands of families, the poignancy of Remembrance Sunday has its source in a private grief that reaches down through generations. For my family this has certainly been true, but

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Remembrance Day – SA Legion UK

  UK Remembrance Day   South Africa’s 1st opportunity to   remember fallen   This year on 11 November for the very first time, the South African Legion UK will formally march in London and Glasgow to remember the fallen. Read more here.

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In Flanders Fields

  by Lt Col McCrae:   In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.   We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and

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Remembrance Day

  At 11.00 on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 the guns on the Western Front fell silent. The carnage of the war to end all wars came almost quietly to a close, leaving millions dead and even more suffering the effects of the war.   And in the bare wastes of

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The ‘Ode of Remembrance’

  They went with songs to the battle, they were young. Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.   They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted, They fell with their faces to the foe.   They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary

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Dress and Bearing – 11th Nov 2012

  By Norman Sander.   Legionnaires.   Myself and Russ Pearce are working on the parade order and after discussion at the England branch meeting at the Windsor Castle on 3rd November we will release the order. Which will encompass the parade at the Commonwealth memorial and a later parade at Westminster Abbey to place

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South African Military Dictionary – Glossary of Military Terms

  Created for the benefit of those not always understanding the langauge of a South African soldier.   The following list of words, terms and phrases will probably never be truly complete, or exhaustive. Readers are cordially invited to help expand this ongoing ” work in progress ” for the benefit of posterity, by using

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SS Mendi

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  On 21 February 1917 at 05:00, the SS Mendi was struck and cut almost in half by the Darro, South West of the Isle of Wight, causing the SS Mendi to sink. A total of 607 Black South African soldiers and nine of their white countrymen, drowned in the disaster. These men met their

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