Today, 18 April, 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 April 1983: Two members from the SWA Police Counter-Insurgency Wing: Ops-K Division (Koevoet) were Killed in action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. They were:

  • Special Sergeant Jacob Saulo. He was 34.
  • Special Constable Thimotheus Maritina. He was 25

18 April 1988: An Ops Medic from the South African Medical Corps, attached to 201 Battalion SWATF was Reported Missing and one member of 201 Battalion SWATF was Killed in Action when their Buffel Troop carrier was hit by a Soviet RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket. The projectile penetrated the armour precisely at the gun position, critically wounding the Ops Medic in the chest during a fierce fire-fight that developed when a combined Cuban/FAPLA Force numbering approximately 200 men, intervened while they were following SWAPO/PLAN insurgent spoor. After the action, a number of other 201 Battalion members also remained unaccounted for but fortunately they successfully evaded capture and safely crossed the border into South West Africa three days later. The casualties in this action were:

  • 84379122BG Lance Corporal Pieter Gerhardus Viljoen Du Toit (SAMC Attached). He was 19. 
  • Rifleman Petrus Wama (201 Battalion SWATF). He was 24.

It appears that Du Toit was subsequently captured by SWAPO/PLAN and removed from the Battle Zone and taken to a nearby Kraal. Because of the seriousness of his wounds, the SWAPO/PLAN insurgents were unable to transfer him further North to their rear area so he was executed. Approximately one month later, after an intensive search by a Special Forces Recovery Team that was inserted into the battle area, his shallow grave was located and his body successfully recovered. On 8 June 1988, he was laid to rest in the Heroes Acre in the Centurion Cemetery, Grave HA2.

18 April 1988: 74304841PE Major Lucas Frederick Lotter, the 53 Battalion Intelligence Officer, was Killed in Action in Southern Angola when his Casspir vehicle came under direct hostile small arms fire just north of Alpha Tower while following SWAPO/PLAN spoor. A single enemy bullet ricocheted off the hatch cover and struck him in the back of the head, killing him instantly. The Casspir immediately returned to Etale Base where he was officially declared dead on arrival. He was 29.

18 April 1988: 87782496SP Rifleman Alberto Nunes Dinu from 32 Battalion was Killed in Action during a contact with enemy forces in Southern Angola. He was 29.

18 April 1989: 86020047KV Lance Corporal Bernardus Lambertus Saayman from 110 Air Commando Squadron was killed while participating in a 2-day Commando Training Camp when his aircraft, a Cessna 182, ZS-FUB, flew into high ground in the Montague Mountains east of Robertson during a low level tactical navigation flight. He was 39.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

1977 – Detective Constable George MALAPELA, CID, BSAP, KIA. Killed in a contact in the Matsai TTL, Ndanga district, Op Repulse, at the age of 41. George was part of an investigation team that was fired on in the operational area. In the ensuing contact, he was shot and killed. His funeral service took place at his tribal home in the Mtetengwe TTL, Beitbridge on 22 April.

1978 – Constable Ranganayi Jairos NCUBE, Uniform BSAP, died on active service. Died aged 21 in the Gwelo African Hospital after having had a leg amputated as a result of cancer. His private funeral was held in the Shurugwi district on 19 April.

1979 – Trooper Ronald Owen "Pig" GILDENHUYS, 4 Troop, 1 Commando, 1st Battalion, RLI, KIA. Died aged 19 from gunshot wounds, Msana TTL, Bindura district, (locstat UR198520) during Op Enterprise. Elements of 1 Commando Fire Force, deployed in the area following an OP sighting, made contact with 12 CTs, killing four. A short while later there was a second contact in which Pig and Corporal Nicky van Niekerk, BCR, were shot and killed and Trooper Young seriously wounded. Pig was buried in the Warren Hills Cemetery, Salisbury.

1979 – District Security Assistant Noah MATAMBANIVANA, Keep Protection, Intaf, died on active service.

1979 – District Commissioner Gerald Cecil "Gerry" ROSS, Regular Intaf, KIA. Died in a vehicle ambush, Nkai district, Op Tangent. A round from the ambush ricocheted off the vehicle and struck him in the neck, killing him instantly.

1979 – Corporal Richard Lionel SANDERSON-SMITH, D Company, 2nd Battalion, Rhodesia Regiment, KIA. Died from wounds received in action on 2 April 1979. His unit had made contact with a group of terrorists in the Diti TTL, Beitbridge, in which Richard was seriously wounded and one terrorist killed. Richard was casevaced to Beitbridge and then to Bulawayo.

1979 – Corporal Nicolaas Johannes "Nicky" VAN NIEKERK, BCR – 13/04/1979, 4 Troop, 1 Commando, 1st Battalion, RLI, KIA. Died from gunshot wounds, Msana TTL, Bindura district, (locstat UR198520) during Op Enterprise, aged 21 years. Elements of 1 Commando Fire Force, deployed in the area following an OP sighting, made contact with 12 CTs, killing four. A short while later there was a second contact in which Nicky and Trooper Pig Gildenhuys were shot and killed and Trooper Young seriously wounded. A holder of the BCR, Nicky's citation states, that on 29 June 1977, he was in a Fire Force deployment that had made repeated contact with a group of 20 CTs. He displayed courage, skill and enthusiasm of the highest order, as he personally engaged the enemy close-up, accounting for several CTs himself. He was buried in the Umtali Cemetery in the same grave as his brother Anthony Camacho KOAS 12 January 1978. 

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

1
  • April 18, 2019
  • Piet Fourie
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1 Comments
  • December 16, 2016
  • Mark Adams

Du Toit of 201 Bn, he was my intake SAMS intake (same as Redelinghuys, killed in Moduler). 201 were not operating with Casspirs, they were in fact in Buffel’s. Rfn Wama was in the same Buffel and died of his wounds on that same day 18 April. Du Toit was dragged away. More detail will be in my book. Confirmed by the Loot who was there.