Today, 18 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

18 Mar 1950: 2/Lieutenant Ivan Griffith Smith from 28 Squadron was killed when his AT-6 Harvard 7046 struck an unknown object in flight that caused the cowling to foul the propeller. The aircraft crashed at Doornkop, South of Roodepoort. He was 24.

18 Mar 1982: 79322301BG Corporal Pieter Barend Bouwer Denner from 1 Maintenance Unit was found dead in Pretoria from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He was attending an official wrestling championship tournament in Pretoria and was due to return to his Unit after the tournament. He was 18.

18 Mar 1983: 77450146BG Signaler Peterus Andreas Jacobus Bosch from 21 Battalion was critically injured in a private vehicle accident in Pretoria on 17 March 1983 while on a weekend pass. He died the following day in 1 Military Hospital. He was 22.

18 Mar 1984: 80214752BG Rifleman Marius Beyleveld from 1 SWA SPES, SWATF, died in hospital after contracting malaria while serving in the Operational Area. He was 19.

18 Mar 1986: 70440474PE Warrant Officer Class 1 Frederick Petrus Johannes Cornelius from 5 Maintenance Unit was critically wounded in Northern Owamboland when his vehicle detonated a landmine. Evacuated to Pretoria, he succumbed to his wounds in 1 Military Hospital later that evening. He was 31.

18 Mar 1992: A civilian farmer, Stephanus Johannes Smith was ambushed in his vehicle by APLA operatives who opened fire with automatic rifles while he was travelling from Zastron to Sterkspruit in the Orange Free State. One passenger in the vehicle was severely injured but managed to escape with the other two passengers. Smith, who lay injured next to his vehicle was summarily executed. The APLA operatives involved in this incident were given amnesty during 1998.

    RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

    1968 – Cpl Erisha CHIKUDZA, 14 Pln, E Coy, 1st Bn RAR, was killed by a gunshot wound in a contact, Urungwe, Op Cauldron, aged 30 years.

    1968 – Tpr Eric Noel Francis RIDGE, 14 Tp, 3 Cdo, 1st Bn RLI, was killed by a gunshot wound in a contact, Op Cauldron, Mana Pools, aged 19 years. ZAPU and SAANC insurgents had infiltrated the country from Zambia at the junction of the Chewore River with the Zambezi. After their presence had been detected, elements of the RAR and RLI were brought into the area from Chirundu and Mtoko respectively, with a JOC established in Karoi on 16 March. The SAS and PATU were also deployed as the hunt for the CTs gained momentum. At 0730, SAS trackers, having followed spoor to the Angwa River area of Mana Pools, reported to RLI troop commander, Lt Bert Sachse, the presence of 10 CTs. A contact soon ensued, resulting in Tpr D. Woods being wounded. Sachse then split his troop in two, directing one half off to his left to encircle the CT position. As they moved off, a CT sniper shot Eric in the heart, killing him instantly. The CT was killed shortly thereafter. Eric is deemed to be the first RLI member to be KIA during the Bush War.

    1977 – DSA Josephat MUSIYIWA, Kp Prtn, was killed in action in Gutu, Op Repulse, aged 18.

    1978 – Cpl Robert Hugh ‘Rob’ CERFE, Pte Elson MAKONDE, and Pte Jacob NKOMO, all of 3(Indep) Coy, RAR, were killed in action. Operating from the old police camp in Nyamaropa, Op Thrasher, a stick of four encountered a very large group of CTs. In the ensuing engagement, and in spite of Cpl Cerfe's desperate pleas for help over the radio, the stick was overrun, and only the MAG gunner, having run out of ammunition, managed to escape, returning to base a couple of days later.

    1979 – Gd Aaron RANJISI, PV Prtn Group, GF, was killed in action. 

    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

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    • March 18, 2019
    • Piet Fourie
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