Today, 23 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.


23 Mar 1965: Two SAAF members, one from 7 Squadron and one from 8 Squadron were killed when their AT-6 Harvard, Serial No. 7473 crashed near Bloemfontein during a night cross-country exercise. It appears that the crew may have become disorientated as the wreck indicated that the aircraft flew vertically into the ground while still under full power. The crew were:

  • PX/50483 2/Lieutenant (Pilot Instructor) Jacobus Johannes le Roux from 8 Squadron. He was 22.
  • 6001910 Candidate Officer (Pupil Pilot) Robin Leslie Jarmain from 7 Squadron. He was 21.

23 Mar 1965: 6315406 Gunner Leonard Edward Parsons from Eastern Province Command was accidentally electrocuted. He was 18.

23 Mar 1979: Two members, one from Infantry School and the other from 1 Maintenance Unit were killed in a private motor vehicle accident on the Potchefstroom to Johannesburg road while on Leave Pass. The casualties were:

  • 74241993BG Rifleman Joseph Jacobus Marthinus Wentzel from Infantry School. He was 19.
  • 77432490BG Private Jacobus Frederick Pieter van der Poel from 1 Maintenance Unit. He was 17.

23 Mar 1980: 71260731BT Corporal Renier Stephanus van Zyl from Regiment Namutoni SWATF was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 24.

23 Mar 1980: 77659804 BG Rifleman Robert Frederick McShane from the Army Gymnasium in Heidelberg was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident just outside Hoopstad on 18 November 1979 while hitch-hiking home to Cape Town on a weekend pass. He succumbed to his injuries in hospital on 23 March 1980. He was 19.

23 Mar 1982: 79820684SP Rifleman Johannes Dimbo from 201 Battalion SWATF was Killed in Action after suffering multiple shrapnel wounds from a Soviet 60mm mortar bomb explosion during a SWAPO/PLAN insurgent attack near Nkongo. He was 22.

23 Mar 1985: 76433721BG 2/Lieutenant Delarey Matthee from 3 SAI was accidentally shot and killed by own forces in his own ambush at Kamanjab. He was tasked to carry out COMOPS patrols in the Kamanjab area and had clearly instructed his troops to shoot in their weapons as they would be setting up an ambush that night. He also ordered his troops to shoot anyone walking into their ambush position. The platoon set up the ambush position and 2/Lt Matthee, accompanied by Lance Corporal Trollip and an interpreter moved out of the ambush position to do a reconnaissance of a nearby kraal. When they got close to the kraal, he instructed Lance Corporal Trollip to return to the ambush position as his blond hair may have given away their position. Finding nothing suspect at the kraal, 2/Lt Matthee and the interpreter moved off to another kraal some distance away before returning to their ambush position. In total darkness, they entered the ambush position from the opposite side from where they left thus walking directly into the killing zone. 2/Lt Matthee was walking in front carrying his R4 rifle that was fitted with the long 50-round magazine. The MAG machine-gunner and his No 2 on guard duty mistook the weapon for an AK-47 and immediately opened fire. 2/Lt Matthee was riddled with bullets and died instantly. He was 24. The interpreter, only lightly wounded, managed to take cover and identify himself.

23 Mar 1988: W410355M Constable Jacobus Ignatius van Zyl from the SWA Police Counter-Insurgency Wing: Ops-K Division (Koevoet) was Killed in Action when his Zulu 4 Sierra (Z4S) Casspir was hit by a Soviet RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 22.

23 March 1990: 65796633PE Commandant Henry Walter Venter from 4 Vehicle Reserve Park was killed in a military vehicle accident on the Old Warmbaths Road near Pretoria. He was 40.


    1973 – WO1 (RSM) Harold ‘Harry’ BIRKETT, Base Grp, 1st Bn RLI, died in Sinoia Hospital from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was 41 years old.

    1973 – T/Cpl Mashona MASARAKUFA, 1st Bn RAR, was murdered by terrorists in the Mount Darwin area, Op Hurricane.

    1977 – Cpl Eric Clifford CLARKE, 2(Indep) Coy, RR, died in a vehicle accident, aged 23.

    1977 – FR Graham John EVASON (29), Police Reserve, Cst Samuel Killian MASHONGANYIKA (23), Special Branch, and DPO Johannes Gideon ‘John’ TERBLANCHE, CID, all of the BSAP, were killed in a contact/ambush, in the Maranda TTL (Map Ref TM2256), near Nuanetsi, Op Repulse. The incident happened at 1100 hours when the first Land Rover (of two) they were travelling in, was hit. Chris Everson was shot five times in his legs, but survived the ordeal, and Neville Wright escaped unhurt.

    1978 – FR Pencil MILFORD, Stock Theft, BSAP, was killed in a CT action in the operational area.

    1979 – Aux Cst Jealous MUGONI, BSAP, died in a vehicle accident, aged 20. 

    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

    • March 23, 2019
    • Piet Fourie
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