Today, 4 May, 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.


04 May 1978: Four members from 2 and 3 Parachute Battalion were Killed in Action during Operation Reindeer and the subsequent assault on Cassinga in Southern Angola. The casualties were:

  • 71384234BT Rifleman Edward James Backhouse from 3 Parachute Battalion. He was 22.
  • 68546134BT Rifleman Martin Kaplan from 2 Parachute Battalion. He was 25.
  • 70510813BT Rifleman Jacob Conrad De Waal from 2 Parachute Battalion. He was 23.
  • 65383390BT Rifleman Andries Petrus Human from 3 Parachute Battalion. Reported Missing in Action after jumping from the aircraft at Cassinga. He was never seen or heard from again and remains unaccounted for. For administrative purposes, he was officially declared dead on 22 January 1980. He was 29.

04 May 1978: 74411950BG Corporal Terence Michael Bridgeman, an Eland 90 Armoured Car Crew Commander from 2 Special Service Battalion “D” Squadron Walvis Bay, was Killed in Action when his Eland 90 armoured car was knocked out during a heavy engagement with enemy forces in Southern Angola during Ops Reindeer. He was 19.

04 May 1978: 74560475BG Corporal Herbert Charles Truebody, an Eland 90 Armoured Car Crew Commander from 2 Special Service Battalion “D” Squadron Walvis Bay, was Killed in Action when his Eland 90 armoured car was hit by a Soviet 82mm B10 recoilless anti-tank rocket while going through a ditch. The projectile entered the turret from the top exactly where the front crew commanders periscope is mounted, killing him instantly. The driver and gunner of the vehicle escaped with minor injuries. He was 19.

04 May 1981: 76285188BG Signaller Ronald Christo van Hamersveld from 2 Signal Regiment was killed in Military Vehicle Accident in Pretoria. He was 21

04 May 1982: Special Sergeant N. Tamunila from the South West Africa Police Counter-Insurgency Wing: Ops K Division (Koevoet) was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 32.

04 May 1983: 77518975BG Lance Corporal Gerhardus Daniel Blignaut from 6 SAI was Killed in Action after suffering fatal gunshot wounds when his patrol walked into a SWAPO/PLAN ambush in the early hours of 4 May 1983 near Rundu. He was 21.

04 May 1988: Six members from 101 Battalion SWATF were Killed in Action during a contact with a numerically superior enemy force at Donguena, North of Calueque in Southern Angola. Private Papenfus from the Technical Service Corps was captured during this encounter and later taken to Cuba. He was released a few years later. The casualties in this desperate action were:

  • 83611715BG Lance Corporal Hendrik Jacobus Venter. He was 20.
  • Lance Corporal F. Petrus. He was 22.
  • Rifleman L. Haifiku. He was 24.
  • Rifleman H. Haimbodi. He was 22.
  • Rifleman W. Robert. He was 23
  • Rifleman J. Petrus. He was 20


1976 – District Assistant Xavier MAGUWAZA, Regular Intaf, KIA. Killed at Rusape, Op Thrasher. Date of Death also found as 29 July.

1976 – District Assistant Zishiri MANASA, Regular Intaf, murdered. Killed aged 47 on Farm 245, Mshawasha African Purchase Area, Fort Victoria, Op Repulse. Buried in Zaka.

1976 – Rifleman Anthony Michael "Tony" "Aki" VRACHAS, 3 (Independent) Company, Rhodesia Regiment, KIA. Killed in an ambush in the Inyanga area, Op Thrasher. The 45 truck they were driving on 4 May 1976 was hit by an RPG7, just below the driver's window, killing Tony instantly. Died aged 20 (b. 8 November 1956). Buried at Warren Hills, Salisbury. Steph Youroukelis, blown out of the truck by the blast and in deep shock, ran off down the road in the opposite direction, dying two weeks later of his severe wounds.

1977 – Aircraftsman Compton William David BROWN, TF Supern, Rhodesian Air Force, killed on active service. Killed in an air accident involving a Lynx F337 R4306. He was a passenger in the aircraft, flown by Rob Griffiths, which crashed into a mountainside in the Eastern Highlands, Op Thrasher during a training exercise. He was 27 years old and is buried in the Warren Hills Cemetery, Salisbury. Griffiths survived, but with multiple burns.

1977 – Constable Almath MASUKU, GC, BSAP, killed on active service. Killed in a shooting accident, Eastern districts, Op Thrasher, at the age of 22. Buried in Bulawayo on 10 May.

1978 – District Security Assistant R. MUTEYAUNGA, Keep Protection, Intaf, killed on active service. Died in an accident.

1980 – Patrol Officer Trevor KLOPPERS, Uniform BSAP, died on active service. His cremation service was held on 8th May at Warren Hills Crematorium, Salisbury.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


  • May 04, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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  • March 17, 2020
  • Gordon Thorpe

Thank you for your service and ultimate sacrifice. Wish we could all tell you in person. Hope you have all found peace and freedom wherever you may be. Salute.

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