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SAL UK and Europe Formal Ball 2017

Tags :

Category : Events

   The South African Legion

United Kingdom and Europe

requests the pleasure of you and your partner

at their first

Formal Mess Ball

on Saturday the 16th of September 2017,
at 18h30 which is to be held at
Cole Court, 150 London Road
Twickenham, Middlesex,
TW1 1HD.

 

This will be the first formal black tie event of this type held by the South African Legion –  United Kingdom and Europe since its inception.

It is time for you to get out your Mess Dress or Black-Tie evening wear for this superb occasion.

                          

The event will be full of pleasant surprises, a few twists and a great atmosphere, especially for our partners and families that normally do not participate in our events during the year.

An ideal opportunity for everyone to meet up and have an enjoyable evening with a great three course meal, drinks, fun and dance.

This event will also present itself with new annual awards, and over £2,000.00 worth of prizes and items to raffle.  This means that everyone should leave with something to remember the evening by.

This ball is NOT limited to SA Legion Members only, so feel free to bring a guest or two!

September 16th, 2017 6:30 PM   to   11:59 PM
Advice and Guides

Formal Ball Dress Guide

Formal Ball Etiquette Guide

    

 

Purchase your tickets here at £60 per person.

Online ticket sales for this event are closed.


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SA Legion Donates ‘Marching For Others’ funds towards Knysna Fires Relief

Tags :

Category : Articles , News , South Africa

Following successful completion of the 200km fundraising challenge by the South African Legion, two worthy causes benefited from this endeavour. The challenge is the largest multi-day marching event in the world. Held annually in the Netherlands, it is renowned for forcing individuals to pit willpower and commitment against heat, pain, and exhaustion.

Lgr Peter Dickens presenting the SA Legion funds to Knysna Mayor Eleanore Bouw-Spies

Two charitable causes benefited from this fundraiser, with £1,917 to be split between the South African Legion and the recent Knysna fire relief effort.England Chairman Lgr Claudio Chistè marched ±11.5 hours a day over four days (July 18-21), over various routes surrounding the city of Nijmegen near the German border, starting at 04:00 each morning. To further challenge endurance, this was conducted in marines-style military marching kit with appropriate weight throughout the event.

A short ceremony was held was held on August 28 to entrust the Mayor of Knysna, Eleanore Bouws-Spies, with £963.50 for the relief effort following the devastating fires by England President of the SA Legion, Lgr Peter Dickens – who was also officiating on behalf of the SA Legion in South Africa (the local branch is in George).

The Mayor expressed deep gratitude, commending the SA Legion and felt that this was a stand-out in terms of an individual contribution, conveying a sense of awe of the physical and endurance limits set for the ‘Marching for Others’ challenge which was undertaken. The SA Legion was commended on the effective media and marketing efforts used to extend contributions to the victim’s fund and grateful for the awareness of the Knysna fires, which had been used on international media and marketing forums. This resulted in international contributions finding their way to Knysna using crowdfunding. It was felt appropriate that the Mayor’s office would look at the list of fire victims and evaluate whether any were military veterans, earmarking these funds accordingly.

The Mayor and her team were interested to hear of the history of SA Legion, and were especially interested in activities being undertaken, ranging from parades to selfless activities such as these.

NOT FOR OURSELVES, BUT FOR OTHERS

March Complete… Lgr Claudio Chiste with marching partner Dutch army officer Lieutenant Bob De Kort

Chilling reminder of the havoc which these fires caused

Image Credits: Twitter/Snazo Gulwa


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South African Legion 100 year commemorative plaque placed on SS Mendi

Category : Newsletter , WW1

Amidst the South African Nation celebrating the success of Wayde van Niekerk’s gold in the 400m 2017 athletics World Championship in London, another milestone slipped by almost unnoticed – the laying of the commemoration plaque on the wreck of the ship which has captured the national spirit.

On February 21st 1917, a cold foggy morning at around 05:00 in the English Channel in freezing weather conditions, there loomed a recipe for a shipping disaster which was to cause barely a blip amid the chaos and carnage of World War I. However no one could anticipate the consequential impact down the years in South Africa; a moment that would embody the national spirit.

Crossing the English Channel, having sailed from South Africa to provide support for the Battle of the Somme, the troopship SS Mendi was accidentally rammed by an allied ship, Darro, causing her to sink near Southampton. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of her sinking, the South African Legion represented by the England Branch Chairman, Lgr Claudio Chiste, arranged a plaque to be placed on the wreck in memory of the 616 Southern Africans and 30 crew members who lost their lives. Claudio Chiste told the South African Legion Public Relations Officer: “

“Credit to the skipper Dave Wendes for his hospitality and for getting us there smoothly in the choppy conditions of the day, as well as to all the fellow divers who all enthusiastically contributed to the success of this initiative”.

While many in South Africa may still view the two world wars as “white man’s wars”, nothing can be further from the truth. Of all South Africans involved in World War I, almost 85,000 were of colour (almost 40%). A similar ratio stands for WWII. The contribution from SA of all races towards the world war efforts on a global stage is undeniable.

Some may view these as pressed men, forced in to the war effort; some may view them as servicemen who volunteered, but one thing is certain is that they were men. They left us with their boots on, singing the death dance, unified in their peril. The sea does not discriminate.

This South African Legion initiative to honour these men with the laying of this plaque concludes the final centenary memorial service. The South African Legion played a critical role in the build-up to the centenary having initiated memorial services at Hollybrook five years ago.

The plaque was not bolted onto the wreck, but placed there gently and will not interfere with the vessel in any way. It was placed in an appropriate position on the wreck, where it will stay and act as a lasting memorial, some 40m under water.

 

May their souls rest in peace.

 

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FACTFILE
Getting there To visit the wreck site, contact Dave Wendes, who runs boat trips with his boat Wight Spirit.

To get to the launch boat in Lymington: Lymington is situated on the south coast with Southampton to the east and Bournemouth to the west.

From Royal Lymington Yacht Club follow the signposts to the seawater baths. Along the way you should see the slipway and the pontoons, which is where the boat pickup point is.

SatNav Postcode: SO41 3SE

(Royal Lymington Yacht Club, which is adjacent the pontoon)

Health Nearest re-compression chamber is Poole, Dorset
Wreck point About 10 miles south St Catherine’s Point, English Channel
Visitor information http://wightspirit.co.uk

 

By SA Legion United Kingdom & Europe Public Relations


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Fundraising Target reached in the March for Others

The South African Legion conquered the 101st Four Days March Njimegen, the Netherlands; the largest multiple day marching event in the world. England Chairman Lgr Claudio Chiste` completed the 200km challenge over 4 days in military marching kit to raise funds for the South African Legion, with amazing support and encouragement from the South African Legion UK & Europe.

The history of this march started in 1909 (being based in Nijmegen since 1916), in order to maintain the operational marching capability of the Dutch Army. Foreign groups were only being allowed to enroll later in 1928. To date, the event hosts delegations from more than 60 countries, both military and civilian, with this year seeing a total of 47,000 registrations (with 38,000 finishing).

During the march there is a range of elements: humidity, temperature, rain, heat, cold, which after 11.5 hours of daily marching negatively affects the cleanliness of your socks and footwear. Blisters are a given as uphill, downhill or uneven paths; gravel, concrete, dirt or cobblestones can all contribute. There are certain medical check points every 10km; however blisters could strike at any time, for which you should be educated in first aid blister draining and patching in order to make it through the day. Incorrect foot care could result in being sidelined with a foot infection.

The worst thing you can do is ‘tough it out’ and soldier on… This might work on final stretch of the last  day… however doing this on day 1-3 may create a sidelining injury, such as no skin left on your heel.

Blisters will happen at some point during the training or event.

Each 10km there was a 15min break to rest the legs (elevate to promote blood circulation) and hydrate. Lgr Claudio Chiste`, alongside his marching partner Bob, an officer in the Dutch Army.Each day typically ended at circa 23:30 (bed time), with a 02:00 wake-up in order to have breakfast at 02:20 and be ready to leave camp fully kitted for 03:30 to be in time for the 04:00 marching start time (max 3 hours sleep for the four nights of the march). The event was well organised; despite the days which were either extremely hot or rainy proving challenging for participants, the local population helped keep spirits lifted with offerings of refreshments and the blaring sound of Dutch folk music.

23:00 visit to the sick bay for the medics to treat the blisters. (After a day of solid rain on Day 3, 7 blisters suddenly appeared.)

The South African national flag proudly adorns the “end of course” souvenir wall (alongside that of Austria, USA and Australia)

 

The fundraising target of £2,000 was surpassed. Approximately half of these funds will go to the SA Legion UK & Europe to contribute to the fund which will assist mostly UK-based vets in need, with the remaining funds to be directed to assist the victims of the recent Knysna fires.

Legionnaires are encouraged to follow this example, taking on meaningful projects or challenges to raise funds.

NOT FOR OURSELVES, BUT OTHERS


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Armed Forces Day Parade in Woking: 24 June 2017

Wreath laying party at attention

 

Lgr Theo Fernandes laying a wreath on behalf of the SA Legion

 

Shipmate Rod Fraser delivering the Exhortation. SA Legion standing to attention in the background

 

 

Naval cadets leading the march past

 

SA Legion in the march past

 

Standards in position

The Woking Armed Forces and Veterans Annual Parade was held on June 24th. Led by the Woking Branch of The Royal Naval Association and this year’s event commemorated, in particular the 100th anniversary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (known by sailors as the Jenny Wrens). The parade marched through the town to Jubilee Square, where there was a short service, wreath-laying at the Woking War Memorial, and a march past taken by the Woking Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Graham and Mrs Sarah Cundy.

The Mayor receiving wreath

The South African Legion England Branch & the RBL South African Branch have a long standing relationship with the Woking Branch Royal Naval Association, and it’s one of the highlights of our calendar to take part in the parade. This year the SA Legion was represented by Lgr Cameron Kirk Kinnear (Regional Chair), Lgr Claudio Chistè (England Branch Chair), Lgr Theo Fernandes (who laid the wreath on behalf of the branch), Lgr Justin Bosanquet and Lgr Lesley Ferrando.

 

One of the WW2 veteran’s long SA connection

After the parade, refreshments were served at the Woking Railway Club; this provided an opportunity to for fellow veterans to catch up and mingle, many of whom served in WWII. Amongst others; interestingly, one of the oldest veterans in attendance, Woking resident Bill Moore (93), had a strong southern African connection!

Lgr Lesley Ferando with Bill Moore

Bill was born in Dunoon, Scotland and served during WWII in 138 (Special Duties) Squadron of the Royal Air Force,  which was later assigned to Bomber Command operating under No. 3 Group. He was based at RAF Stradishall and RAF Tempsford. He flew Westland Lysander planes into occupied territories to place or recovery agents and equipment. The Lysander was favoured because of its exceptional short-field performance which enabled clandestine missions using small, unprepared airstrips. Bill tells some interesting stories about some of the agents and resistance members they dropped off and pick up – among them four young men who went on to become prime ministers of France! Bill’s squadron was also the first to begin dropping food to the Dutch to alleviate the terrible famine in the occupied country during the winter of 1944 – 1945. By the end of the war 138 Squadron were stationed at RAF Tuddenham in Suffolk, and from there flew to pick up prisoners of war and return them home.

Throughout his service during the war, Bill earned an impressive array of medals – including the French National Order of the Legion of Honour and the RAF Air Crew Europe Star (“France and Germany”). Other medals include the RAF 1939-1945 Star (“Bomber Command”); RAF Defence Medal; and RAF War Medal. Bill has a long connection with Africa, which draws him to the SA legionnaires – he went out to Rhodesia after the war and spent 50 years there, at times involved in building infrastructure. He tells an amusing story of turning an airfield into a racecourse in only a few days for a Royal Visit by the late Queen Mother – although as he remembered with a smile the wind sock had to stay up! Bill returned to the UK some 14 years ago. The most important thing to him is his family, and he’s fortunate to have a number of them reasonably nearby. His oldest great-grandchild is in his mid-twenties, and the youngest is just 15 months old. It was a real privilege to have the opportunity to talk to Bill and hear a little more of his life story, an unexpected benefit of taking part in the parade.

 

Article written by Lgr Lesley Ferrando, with photo images by Lgr Justin Busanquet and Shauna Fernandes

 


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Marching For Others

Nijmegen, Netherlands Vierdaagse
The largest and most important walking/marching event on Earth.

~Walk 30 miles a day for 4 days, the last Tuesday in July, since 1909

Starting as a military event in 1909, the 4 Day Nijmegen March expanded annually and included civilians to the point they outnumbered the military 8:1 and to the extent that a limit on the maximum number of marchers (45,000) needed to be imposed since the event was at full capacity. The Nijmegen march is very popular worldwide and citizens of 60 countries attend to march individually each year with over a dozen militaries represented in marching teams.

Previous march in action: The American hero of 2009, Major Green… independent marcher recovered from leg wounds in Iraq. Here he is cheered on by 2 Dutch soldiers right behind me. This is the only march of its kind where uniformed personnel can do something together like this in a supportive, festive environment. All focused on the same goal… crossing the finishing line… not easy in boots! Source:http://nijmegenmarchhowto.weebly.com/military.html

In a previous march: US 173rd Airborne Marching Team taking a break​.
 ​

On 18th July 2017, Legionnaire Claudio Chistè, Chairman of the South African Legion England Branch, will embark on the first leg of a 4-day 200km march as one of 47,000 participants in the International Four Days March in Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

During the march Claudio Chistè will be wearing the coveted SA Legion green beret

The motto of the SA Legion of Military Veterans is ‘Not for Ourselves, but for Others’. This is epitomised by Claudio in undertaking this march to raise funds for two causes close to his heart – supporting those affected by the dreadful Knysna Fires and contributing to a fund so that the SA Legion can assist SA Military Veterans in UK who have fallen on hard times. To raise awareness of these causes, Claudio will represent all South African Veterans on the march by wearing his distinctive green SA Legion beret and displaying an SA flag on his back pack.

The fires wreaked havoc Source: BBC (Sphiwe Hobasi/@mrcow_man

Funds are desperately required to assist the 8,000 to 10,000 residents of the greater Knysna area who were displaced by the devastating fires which raged for several days, many of those losing everything as the wind driven fires destroyed over 1,000 homes and damaged a further 385.

Informal settlements and suburbs were affected alike

The runaway fires destroyed homes and possessions indiscriminately, regardless of whether they were humble or grand, with everyone being affected. Those from the poorest areas will not have had the benefit of insurance to help them start again and are desperately in need of assistance. Claudio’s aim is to raise £2,000.00 with 50% of this sum going equally towards each need (any surplus funds would go to the SA Legion).

To support these worthy causes and make a difference, go to the following link https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/knysnafireandsouthafricanlegionuk


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Founders Day 2017 – The Royal Hospital Chelsea

Founders Day – The Royal Hospital Chelsea

After his defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651 which ended his attempt to regain the English Crown following the execution of his father, Charles II was hidden from the searching Roundheads of Oliver Cromwell in an oak tree in the grounds of Boscobel House by Colonel William Careless. This day is remembered in English Tradition as Oak Apple Day and the Royal Oak is a popular pub name to this day. After the Restoration in 1660, Charles II made Colonel Careless a Gentleman of the Privy Council and granted him the new name of Carlos which is Spanish for Charles. A gilded statue of Charles II, by Grinling Gibbons in 1676, stands in the centre of Figure Court at the Royal Hospital. It is engraved in honour of Colonel William Carlos with the words, ‘Soldier in the Civil War, protector of King Charles II at Boscobel after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. God, by the overshadowing of an oak, did preserve our Royal founder from the hands of his enemies’.

In 1681, Charles II issued a Royal Warrant authorising the building of the Royal Hospital Chelsea to ‘care for those broken by age or war’. This was modelled on the ‘Hotel des Invalids’ in Paris and was finished and opened after his death in 1692 with 476 inmates. Today with modernised accommodation it is able to house 327 Chelsea In-Pensioners and is currently home to just under 300 of these Military Veterans, the oldest being 102 and the youngest 67. To be admitted, the requirements are to be a former NCO or soldier in the British Army with either an Army Service or War Disability Pension which must be surrendered to the hospital, or to be the recipient of the Victoria Cross or George Cross. Applicants must have no dependents and be able to self-care and live in one of the Long wards. Officers are eligible provided they have served at least 12 years in the ranks before being commissioned. There is an Infirmary for In-Pensioners who become unable to look after themselves. The value of surrendered pensions is insufficient to cover the cost per pensioner so the hospital is supported by ‘Grant-in-Aid’ from the Ministry of Defence. The In-Pensioners’ familiar and iconic red tunics are worn inside the hospital and on ceremonial occasions, while a blue tunic is worn when the pensioners are outside the hospital precincts. They also now admit female soldiers as In-Pensioners.

Every year, Founders Day at the Royal Hospital is celebrated with all Chelsea Pensioners who are able to do so, on parade. The day gives them the opportunity to invite family and friends to an open day. Through the good offices of John Rochester, Heritage Manager at the Royal Hospital, SA Legion were offered tickets and Legionnaires Claudio Chistè and Tony Povey joined the 3500 invited guests at the parade and review by the His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex.

 

The day started with the band of the Irish Guards playing in Figure Court at the heart of the Royal Hospital followed by the parade of the In-Pensioners. The Parade Sergeant Major handed over the Parade to the Parade Commander and the Sovereign’s Mace was marched onto Parade. The Mace was presented to the Hospital in 2002 as, prior to this, it had no colours. The bowl of the Mace is decorated with acorns to reflect the events of Oak Apple Day.

The Pensioners were formed up into four Guards with those less mobile seated behind them. They were then inspected by His Royal Highness the Duke of Wessex, Honorary Colonel in ‘A’ (London Scottish) Company of the London Regiment, who took the time to address many of the Veterans on Parade. After this the In-Pensioners marched past by Guards and reformed opposite the Saluting Point.

His Royal Highness addressed the Parade with a  response by the Governor, General Sir Redmond Watt, who then called for three cheers for ‘Our pious Founder’, three cheers for Her Majesty the Queen and finally three cheers for His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex. A Fanfare was sounded by the members of the Band of the Irish Guards who were positioned along the roof of the colonnade and following the National Anthem, the Saluting Party departed and the Pensioners were dismissed.

We managed to arrange a photo op with a Lance Bombardier and a Trooper of Kings Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, who are the Queen’s ceremonial Saluting Battery before retiring to the marquee for some well-earned refreshment and a chance to buy Quartermaster Sergeant John Rochester a welcome beer.

A perfect example of pomp and circumstance as only the British can do it and a privilege to attend.

 

Lgr Tony Povey


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South African Nation-Building Commemoration

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 shaped modern South Africa: Nelson Mandela, Jan Smuts, and Mahatma Gandhi – whose statues all stand on Parliament Square in London – as great visionaries of not only South Africa, but also Great Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations.

 

The South African Legion led contingent gathered on Parliament Square, which is considered to be the Holy of Holies by the British people, by virtue of its location opposite the Palace of Westminster, an icon to democracy. Obtaining permission to parade at Westminster on Parliament Square was a major milestone for the South African veterans in England; a big first and a huge honour. Additionally, being at Westminster, there was the added duty and privilege to pay appropriate respects to PC Keith Palmer who was murdered at Westminster in the terror attack on 22 March 2017.

 

Nelson Mandela, Jan Smuts, and Mahatma Gandhi all played a crucial role in leading South Africa to the democratic country we know today. The contribution of Mandela to the world we live in is at the forefront of our consciousness and we honour that. Perhaps less widely celebrated are the monumental roles played by Smuts and Gandhi. We have a duty to honour our heroes and to ensure their contribution to mankind is remembered.

The pieces of the puzzle leading to our democratic South Africa

In the historical timeline leading to the democratic South Africa we know today, one piece of history which might perhaps not be common knowledge, is that Smuts was instrumental in placing the ‘first piece of the puzzle’ leading to modern day South Africa, by leading the reconciliation effort between to former bitter enemies, the British and the Boers (where he served as a General), to create the Union of South Africa in 1910.

Following this landmark reconciliation, he would go on to command the British Army in East Africa during WW1, also serving in the British War Cabinet (where he played an instrumental role in founding the Royal Air Force as a distinct service). Later, in WWII, he was promoted to Field Marshall (the only South African to achieve this wartime rank), serving in the War Cabinet under Winston Churchill. He made history by being the only man to have signed both peace treaties ending WWI and WWII.

Lgr Claudio Chiste, Chairman of the England Branch of the SA Legion, summed-up the leadership trait of leading by example, coupled with the gift of forgiveness, espoused by these three statesmen. Who does not admire warmth and forgiveness of Mandela (affectionately known in South Africa by his clan-name Madiba) after serving 27 of the best years of his life in prison? Who does not admire Gandhi’s subtle power in his stance of passive resistance in the face of the world’s most feared military? Who does not admire Smuts for having personally suffered at the hands of the British (he lost two of his own children during that period, while his wife Isabella (Isie) was taken prisoner in a concentration camp) yet he forgave the British and was elevated within their circle of trust? In the case of the latter, it may not be common knowledge, but so much was this trust built-up between these two former foes that UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who was himself was captured by the Boers at one point during the Boer War, was quoted as saying ‘my faith in Smuts is unbreakable’.

One of his last acts by Smuts as Prime Minister of South Africa was the establishment of the United Nations. His lifelong dedication to fighting for what he believed in, at a huge personal sacrifice and uniting mankind perhaps served as divine inspiration when he wrote the preamble to the UN Charter with the opening verse:

‘To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war which, twice in our lifetime, brought untold sorrow to mankind…

Many may not be aware… but Mohandas (Mahatma) Ghandi lived in South Africa for 21 years, which for all intents and purposes would very much make him a ‘naturalised’ South African, which we could proudly claim as ‘one of our own’. As Gandhi himself said, South Africa was essential to his personal development and achievement. It was during these 21 years that this timid man who had just passed the bar exam would become the man who was to lead India to independence. On a personal level, he taught us no matter how tough life gets, there is always a positive. Each time he was imprisoned, he would say it was an ‘enrichening experience’. On a group level, he showed us that as a collective force people can be very powerful… unstoppable.

Similarly, Nelson Mandela, our first democratically elected president, took the positive from every experience and is arguably the most well-known great reconciliator of the 20th Century; certainly the most fresh in our minds. In his autobiography, part of which was written secretly in prison, he stated:

‘I was born free… free in every way that I could know. Free to run in the fields near my mother’s hut. Free to swim in the clean stream that runs through my village. Free to roast mealies under the stars and ride the broad backs of the slow moving bulls. It was only when I learned that my childhood freedom was an illusion… that I began to hunger for it’.

Legionnaires – all military veterans for that matter – know all too well that our freedom has been hard won. By paying homage to those before us, we remember their sacrifices and honour their achievements.

 

Wreaths laid for three statesmen who brought about change with forgiveness in their hearts

In his religious service message, Minister Lgr John McCabe drew a pertinent parallel between these three great statesmen on being agents for change, and practicing forgiveness of their former foes. He quoted Mahatma Gandhi’s famous: ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world. The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.’

General Jan Smuts said ‘History writes the word Reconciliation over all her quarrels.’

There are many definitions for leadership, but one that is favoured is that leader is influence. These men had a formidable international impact, not only while they were alive but still to this day.

For the first time, wreaths were then laid ceremoniously at the base of each statue, with the standard bearers forming a guard of honour, led from statue to statue by England President of the SA Legion Peter Dickens who acted as Parade Sargent Major. Regional Chair for UK & Europe Lgr Cameron Kinnear lead the ceremony by placing a wreath at the Mandela statue, followed by Lgr Sean Daye for Smuts, Lgr Neil Douglas for Gandhi, and Lgr Paul Konrad for PC Keith Palmer.

Mandela captured the essence of their collective legacy, as well as the ethos of the South African Legion when he said: ‘What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others.’ As we say in the Legion, ‘Not for ourselves, but for others’.

Wreaths laid:

Master of Ceremonies: Lgr Claudio Chiste

Parade Sergeant Major: Lgr Peter Dickens

Lgr Cameron Kirk Kinnear, Regional Chairman UK & Europe – Mandela

Lgr Neil Douglas – Ghandi

Lgr Sean Daye – Smuts

Lgr Paul Konrad – PC Keith Palmer

Standard bearers: Graham Scott (IC), Lgr Craig Esterhuisen, Lgr Tony Povey, Lgr Cassandra Shaw, of MOTHs General Browning Shell hole standard bearer Leslie Shield. Special thanks to the 133 Army Cadet Force, their Officer Commanding Joe Drohan and the trumpeter Bobby Crick.

Also in attendance were Lgr Richard Poate and Lgr Robert Ansell.

 

Article for the SA Legion United Kingdom & Europe by Claudio Chiste`

 


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HMS Sheffield – Sunk 4th May 1982, Falklands War

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 in a twist of fate this ship (Hercules) was being built for the Argentine Navy.

HMS Sheffield was part of task Force 317 sent to the Falklands during the Falklands War. On the 4th May 1982 she was struck by an Exocet air-launched missile fired from an Argentinian Navy Super Etendard aircraft. She sank on the 10th May 1982.

On the morning of the 4th may HMS Sheffield was at defence readiness, and one of 3 Type 42 Destroyers operating as a Anti-Submarine Patrol for the Task Force. The other two Type 42 destroyers were Glasgow and Coventry. The Argentinian type 209 Submarine, which was the model originally slated to replace the South African Navy Daphne class submarines, was deemed to be a serious threat.

HMS Glasgow (D88), one of the other Type 42 destroyers, detected two Argentinian Super-Etendard aircraft over 70km away and issued the warning code word “Handbrake” to all ships in the Task Force. In another twist of fate, HMS SHeffield had previously assessed the Exocet threat as over-rated, and assessed this new threat as another false alarm.

As a result HMS Sheffield did not go to Action Stations, launch chaff or conduct any other readiness actions. Captain James Salt was not informed of the reported threat.

Communications with HMS Sheffield were suddenly interrupted. The Exocet missile fired from a ‘point-blank’ range of 6 miles by Captain Augusto Bedacarratz hit HMS Sheffield amidships, creating a 15ft by 4ft hole in the ship’s starboard side. The crew had less than 20 seconds warning. A second missile missed the target. In yet a third twist of fate, it was later concluded by a Board of Enquiry that the warhead did not detonate. This is disputed by members of the crew, and a subsequent re-evaluation in 2015 concluded that the warhead had indeed detonated by using advanced analysis tools which were not available in 1982.

HMS Sheffield was now ablaze, and certain ship systems had been knocked offline, and one of the systems affected was the ventilation. The water main was also damaged, resulting in the fire mechanisms from operating at their full capability, thus effectively sealing the fate of the ship.

Captain Salt ordered that the ship be abandoned due to concern over the fires reaching the Sea Dart magazine. As the crew prepared to leave the ship, they sang Life of Brian “Always look on the Bright Side.”

For the next six days not only were systems evaluated for salvage, but damage control attempted to shore the hull breach. HMS Yarmouth, a Rothsay Class Frigate similar in design to the SA Navy’s President Class took the ship in tow.

However the sea state during the tow caused further flooding and HMS Sheffield finally sank on the 10th May 1982.

As a result of the attack, 20 members of her complement of 281 were lost, most of them asphyxiated. A further 26 were injured.

Discussion points about the the superstructure and the aluminum content having a lower melting point than steel were incorrect, as her superstructure was entirely steel. There was also a shift in the Royal Navy away from nylon and synthetic fabrics that melted onto the skin, causing more severe burns.

SAS President Kruger survivor Cameron Kirk Kinnear with HMS Sheffield survivor Chris Purcell

Chris Purcell’s account of the incident.

Further reading:

The Narrative of the Attack

Official MOD Report

(First posted on the SAS President Kruger website)

 

 

 

 


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World War 2 Medals

Category : WW2

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 – campaign medal awarded to all British and Commonwealth personnel who fought in any theatre of operations during WW2. The ribbon shows arms of service – Navy (dark blue), Army (red) and Air Force (light blue).

2. The Africa Star – campaign medal awarded to all British and Commonwealth personnel who fought in African theatre of operations. The ribbon is distinguished by the “Sahara” sand colour).

3. The Italy Star – campaign medal awarded to all British and Commonwealth combatants who fought in the Italy theatre of operations (distinguished by ribbon in the colours of the Italian flag).

4. The Defence Medal – campaign medal awarded for both Operational and non-Operational service during WW2 to British and Commonwealth service personnel (and civilians involved in Service to armed forces). The ribbon is symbolic of the air attacks on green land of UK and the Black out is shown by the two thin black lines.

5. The War Medal 1939-1945 – campaign medal for British and Commonwealth personnel who had served full-time in the Armed Forces or the Merchant Navy for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. The medal ribbon is distinguished by the colours of the British Union Flag/Jack.

6. The Africa Service Medal – a South African campaign medal for service during the Second World War, which was awarded to members of the South African Union Defence Forces, the South African Police and the South African Railways Police who served during WW2. The ribbon represents the Two Oaths taken (red tab for Africa Service Oath and the later General Service Oath) and the green and gold colours of South Africa.

Have a look at your Grandfather’s or Dad’s medals (or your Mum/ Grandmother’s) and see if they are in the right order and which of these six medals you now recognise.

Note: This is a very complex field and the intention is to show the basic outline, each of the medals has rather extensive qualifying criteria.

Posted for the SA Legion by Peter Dickens


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Sep
23
Sat
2017
10:00 Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery
Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery
Sep 23 @ 10:00 – 15:00
Battle of Square Hill Parade @ East Sheen Cemetery | Richmond | England | United Kingdom
Inaugural Battle of Square Hill Parade Purpose: We remember the contribution of the South African Cape Corps battalion which helped the Allies – lead by General Allenby – break through to Damascus and knock the
Nov
11
Sat
2017
10:00 Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph
Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph
Nov 11 @ 10:00 – 15:00
Armistice Day 2017 @ Richmond Cenotaph | England | United Kingdom
Purpose: Each year at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we observe a Two Minute Silence. Armistice Day on 11 November marks the end of the First World War and

SA Legion Formal Ball

The Big DaySeptember 16th, 2017
The big day is here.