Today, 8 March, we salute and honour the following men & woman who sacrificed their lives whilst standing in the defence of what they held dear at the time and against evil and tyranny.

SOUTH AFRICAN BORDER WAR

08 Mar 1963: P/48525 Air Mechanic Pieter Jacobus Hattingh from 35 Squadron was killed when his Ferret Armoured car overturned during an in-lying picket duty patrol of the security fence at Air Force Base Ysterplaat. He was 20.

08 Mar 1972: 67319277W Trooper Hubert Terrance Caddy from 1 Special Service Battalion was killed at Zeerust when his Eland 90 Armoured Car overturned during a training exercise. He was 20.

08 Mar 1974: Four members of the South African Police serving in Rhodesia were Killed in Action and one member Reported Missing when their patrol was ambushed by insurgents near Kandahar Island in the Victoria Falls Area. The five casualties were:

  • W46340T Constable Erhard Francois Strydom. He was 35.
  • W35163M Constable Robert Andrew Swart. He was 33.
  • W56648R Constable Zacharias Andreas Hough. He was 20.
  • W58344P Constable Willem Johannes Conradie. He was 22.
  • W38424W Sergeant Johan Andries Kuhn, the fifth member of the patrol, escaped from the initial ambush but appears to have been captured by the insurgents and possibly murdered at a later date. Despite an intensive search of the area, his body was never located and nothing more was ever heard from him. He has no known grave and remains unaccounted for. He was 24.

08 Mar 1977: 72430408BC Corporal Abraham Liebergh Pelser from 7 SAI in a single act of heroism, saved the lives of his fellow soldiers on the afternoon of 08 March 1977. Some of the troops used to straighten the pins on their hand grenades to make them easier to extract and then hooked the grenades into their webbing via the grenade handle. Unfortunately, when Abraham took off his webbing after returning to Nkurukuru Base from a patrol, his thumb caught on the grenade pin and pulled it out. The armed M26 grenade fell onto the floor in the middle of the tent and without hesitation, he dived onto the grenade and absorbed the full force of the explosion that killed him instantly but saved the lives of all the other soldiers in the tent. He was 21.

08 Mar 1987: Two members from 54 Battalion were Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents at Elundu. They were:

  • 80697741BW Corporal Irvine Manuel Daniels. He was 28.
  • 80591811BW Rifleman Henry Johannes Metcalfe. He was 27.

08 Mar 1987: 84372085BG Private Allen Alberto Mariano from 101 Field Workshops was accidentally killed at Omauni while loading a damaged vehicle onto a low-bed. The crane lift chain broke and the vehicle fell onto him, killing him instantly. He was 19.

08 Mar 1988: 85572543BG Trooper Mark Steven Bannell from 1 Special Service Battalion was killed whilst doing riot patrol on the outskirts of East London when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned. Mark was killed instantly and several others in the vehicle were injuring as none of the occupants were strapped in at the time of the accident. He was 19.

    RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

    1973 – D/Cst Joseph Zakaria Chitsunge, CID, died from multiple injuries sustained when the military vehicle he was travelling in overturned in the Rusambo area, Op Hurricane. He was 40 years old.

    1978 – FR Andries Joubert Reyneke, Police Reserve, BSAP, died in an accidental shooting incident in the Chipinga area, Op Thrasher, at the age of 35. 

    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

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    • March 08, 2019
    • Piet Fourie
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