Today, 19 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.


19 March 1979: 74260910BC Private Louis Gerhard Nel was critically injured in an aircraft ejection seat accident on the Squadron and succumbed to his injuries in 1 Military Hospital. He was 20.

19 Mar 1981: 77573145BG Gunner Cornelius Johannes Janse van Rensburg from 14 Field Regiment died in 1 Military Hospital after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was 19.

19 Mar 1988: 70334258PE Major Jan Willem van Coppenhagen from 1 Squadron was Reported Missing in Action in Southern Angola when his Dassault Mirage F1AZ, Serial No. 223 failed to return from a low level night diversion strike on enemy installations at Baixa Longa in Angola with radio silence being enforced. The two Mirage F1AZ's piloted by Cmdt Johan Rankin and Maj Willie van Coppenhagen were en-route back to Air Force Base Grootfontein from their target when the lead saw a bright flash in the darkness and thought it was a bomb exploding. Upon landing back at base Johan Rankin realised that his wingman had not returned. After an intensive search, the wreckage of the aircraft together with the body of the pilot were located inside Angola, not far from the Cut Line. The subsequent Board of Enquiry concluded that the aircraft had descended over a period of time at a very shallow angle until it struck the tree tops, killing the pilot instantly. The possibility also existed that a corroded fuel pipe may also have caused the aircraft engine to experience a flame-out at low-level that resulted in the fatal crash. He was 33.

19 Mar 1994: 92655273PK Rifleman Phethiso Simeon Makhatha from 115 Battalion was killed after suffering multiple head injuries when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned while on Township Patrol. He was 27.

19 Mar 1998: Lieutenant Colonel Richard Culpan from the Air Force Museum Historical Flight was killed when the Museum Flight Ex Royal Rhodesian Air Force Percival Provost, Serial No. RRAF137 crashed at Air Force Base Swartkop during an air show practice sortie. He was 51. 


    1979 – Pte Shame CHIBONDERA, HQ, 3 Bde, died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. Another source has the date as 19th March 1980, when Chibondera was with 6 (Indep) Coy, RAR.

    1979 – Pte Freddy MARUFU, 2nd Bn RAR, was killed in a vehicle accident.

    1979 – Cst Madenyika MASHANDA, Uniform, BSAP, died in a vehicle accident, Op Grapple, at the age of 25.

    1979 – Cst Fainosi MURWISI, Uniform, and Cst John SANGO (26), O Tp, Support Unit, BSAP, were both killed in a CT action.

    1979 – DSA Furnawu RAKAYOS, Kp Prtn, Intaf, died on active service.

    1979 – DA Museve E. TIRIVANGANI, Regular, Intaf, died on active service. 

    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


    • March 19, 2017
    • Piet Fourie
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