Today, 21 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

21 March 1966: Two members from Central Flying School Dunnottar were killed when their AT-6 Harvard, Serial No. 7685, crashed near Eendrag during a routine general flying training sortie. They were:

  • 01516718E Lieutenant (Pilot Instructor) Johannes Nicolaas Taljaard. He was 22.
  • 05576574R Candidate Officer (Pupil Pilot) Ian Ashton Fraser. He was 19.

21 Mar 1975: Two members from 17 Squadron were killed when their Alouette III Helicopter, Serial Number 23 struck power lines 7km North of Windhoek. Both crew members and the civilian passenger were killed during the subsequent emergency landing. The Crew and passenger were:

  • 64076110E Lieutenant (Pilot) Geoffrey Herbert Clark. He was 28.
  • 05523584E Sergeant (Flight Engineer) Christiaan Hermanus Pretorius. He was 29.
  • Mr Charles Rion (Civilian Passenger). He was 25.

21 Mar 1976: 05518907PE Warrant Officer Class II Keith Hugh Hamilton from 250 Air Defence Artillery Group, South African Air Force died in 1 Military Hospital after developing blood clots on the lungs. He was 30.

21 Mar 1979: 72234123PR Lance Corporal Johannes Gerhardus Olivier from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in South Eastern Angola near the Kavangoland Border. He was 22.

21 Mar 1979: 71387286KT Rifleman John Henry van Drutten from the Lydenburg Commando collapsed and died from heat exhaustion during a Route March at Phalaborwa. He was 23.

21 Mar 1980: 78912896SP Rifleman Carlos Conceicao Da Trinidade from 32 Battalion Died of Wounds in the Grootfontein Hospital. He was critically wounded on 13 March 1980 during Operation Makalani in Southern Angola when 32 Battalion Golf Company platoon were sent to the scene of an earlier SWAPO/PLAN contact at Dombondola. The Patrol found a dead SWAPO/PLAN insurgent and the spoor of four others which they began to follow up. At 18:50 that evening, the SWAPO/PLAN insurgents were spotted and fired upon by the platoon's 60mm mortars. Unfortunately, one of the mortar bombs fell short due to the propellant charge being wet and landed among the pursuing 32 Battalion soldiers. 2/Lieutenant A.W. Kruger, Corporal da Trinidade, Riflemen R.E. Evaristo and Rifleman P. Frans were all wounded by shrapnel. Sadly, Corporal Da Trinidade succumbed to his grievous wounds on 21 March 1980. He was 20.

21 March 1981: 69324135PE Major Carel Arnold Briers from 101 Battalion SWATF Romeo Mike Team visited the Miershoop training base just south of Okatope on a Saturday morning to chat to his troops. Because it had been raining the previous evening, he was bare foot and wearing rugby shorts while carrying his young daughter on his shoulders. While he was moving through the camp, greeting and talking to the troops, he accidentally stood on an exposed electric cable that was running into one of the tents and was electrocuted. He collapsed unconscious and although first aid was administered almost immediately by medical personnel, he failed to regain consciousness and died. He was 27. He had only just recently been promoted to the rank of Major in January 1981 while serving with 54 Battalion.

21 March 1984: 80385537BG Rifleman Eugene Cedric Terblanche from 6 SAI arrived for Basic training very much overweight but showed exceptional vasbyt and never gave up. He pushed through his military training and lost all the extra weight and even though the going for him was always tough, he always had a joke to tell and lift everyone’s spirits. Four months before the end of his two-year National Service period, he contracted malaria while serving in the Operational Area and was admitted to the Grahamstown Provincial Hospital on return to his Unit. He sadly succumbed to the disease on 21 March 1984. He was 19.

    RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

    1974 – L/Cpl John CHOWA, 1st Bn RAR, died in Mpilo Hospital, Bulawayo, of multiple injuries, aged 33 years.

    1977 – L/Cpl Wilson MUSHONGA, Army, died on active service.

    1978 – FR George William FERGUSSON, Police Reserve, BSAP, was killed in a CT action in the operational area, at the age of 49 years.

    1979 – DSA Mano GUMBO, Kp Prtn, Intaf, died on active service.

    1979 – Pte Rogers NIKISI, 2nd Maint, GSC, died from injuries received in a vehicle accident.

    1979 – Julius NYONI, ADF, was murdered by CTs. 

    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

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    • March 21, 2019
    • Piet Fourie
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