Today, 4 June, 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

04 June 1978: 65943037PE Warrant Officer Class II Joseph Johannes Burger HCS from 2 SAI was killed in a military vehicle accident at Messina. He was 38.

04 Jun 1979: 67456053BT Rifleman David Johannes van Heerden from Eastern Province Command was killed at M’pacha after being struck by a bullet from an accidental discharge of a fellow soldiers rifle. He was 28.

04 June 1980: Three members from 32 Battalion were Killed in Action, south of Mutuanjamba (approximately 80km inside Angola) during the first phase of Operation Sceptic while carrying out area clearing and domination in order to establish a Tactical Headquarters at Mulemba. When their patrol crossed a gravel road in the kill zone of a vehicle ambush, they walked into a large SWAPO/PLAN force that were dug in with mortars and machine guns and were able to inflict casualties and pin down the patrol. 2/Lieutenant van der Walt was killed instantly after being shot multiple times by a Soviet PKM machine gun. Staff Sergeant Braz immediately went to his aid and was hit multiple times by the same dug in PKM machine gun. He was still alive when the casevac arrived but succumbed to his wounds a short while later. Rifleman Joao was critically wounded in the initial exchange of fire and also died shortly after being hit. 32 Battalion reinforcements attacked and dislodged the ambushing force but elected to secure the immediate area and attend to casualties rather than pursue the retreating enemy force. 2/Lieutenant Van Der Walt had narrowly escaped death on a previous occasion when he was wounded in the head by enemy small arms fire while flying as a passenger on a C160Z Transall from Eenhana to Ondangwa when the aircraft was shot at by a SWAPO/PLAN patrol. Another member of this same 32 Battalion patrol was later Killed in Action North of Mulemba on 06 June 1980. The casualties in this action were:

  • 77263739BG 2/Lieutenant Pieter van der Walt. He was 19
  • 76928100SP Staff Sergeant Simao Domingos Braz. He was 27
  • 79830626SP Rifleman Joshua Joao. He was 24

04 Jun 1992: 05500608PE Colonel David Frederik Strauss from Air Force Headquarters died in 1 Military Hospital from complications resulting from Brain Cancer. He was 49.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

1973 – Gunner Cary Anthony Copland COOKSLEY, 1st Field Regiment, Rhodesian Artillery, killed on active service. Died aged 25 in a vehicle accident, Mukumbura Road, Kandeya TTL, Mt Darwin, Op Hurricane. Buried at Warren Hills, Salisbury. See also J Lapham.

1973 – Bombardier John Arthur LAPHAM, 1st Field Regiment, Rhodesian Artillery, killed on active service. Died aged 24 in a vehicle accident, Mukumbura Road, Kandeya TTL, Mt Darwin, Op Hurricane. Buried at Warren Hills, Salisbury. See also C Cooksley.

1976 – Temporary Corporal Murira TAVUGARA, C Company, 2nd Battalion, RAR, KIA. Died in Salisbury Hospital from shrapnel wounds received in the Honde Valley. The stick was based at the DC camp near Pungwe and was resting at a store close by when CTs initiated an attack with an RPG 2 rocket. The explosion fatally wounded Murira and blinded Sgt Hofisi. Murira was 23 years old and is buried just North of Bikita in the Eastern part of Gutu.

1978 – Corporal Tony Charles CARROLL, 3 (Independent) Company, RAR, KIA. Killed in a vehicle ambush between Nyamropa and Ruangwe, Op Thrasher. See also M Kelly and R Liebermann.

1978 – Sergeant Michael David KELLY, 3 (Independent) Company, RAR, KIA. Killed in a vehicle ambush between Nyamropa and Ruangwe, Op Thrasher. See also T. Carroll and R Liebermann.

1978 – Patrol Officer Corporal Russell John LIEBERMANN, Special Branch on attachment BSAP, KIA. Killed aged 21 in a vehicle ambush between Nyamropa and Ruangwe, Op Thrasher. His semi-military funeral was held at Warren Hills Cemetery, Salisbury, on 9 June. See also M Kelly and R Liebermann.

1978 – Rifleman David R DE COURPALAY, 4th Battalion, Rhodesian Regiment, killed on active service. Killed by ‘"friendly fire" as a result of a mix-up in navigation, resulting in two sticks opening fire on each other. See also Private Robert Tichazvigadzira.

1978 – Private Robert TICHAZVIGADZIRA, 4th Battalion, Rhodesian Regiment, killed on active service. Killed by "friendly fire" from another SF unit. See also Rifleman Dave de Courpalay.

1978 – Private Augustine MAPFUMO, 1st Battalion, RAR, KIA. Killed by terrorists. Buried in Lady Stanley Cemetery, Bulawayo.

1978 – Constable Patrick Tapfumaneyi MUDAVANHU, Uniform BSAP, killed on active service. Killed aged 23 in a shooting accident in Umtali district, Op Thrasher. His private funeral took place in the Marandellas district on 9 June.

1978 – Lance Section Officer Christopher Stanley RUGG, A Troop, Support Unit, BSAP, KIA. Died of wounds received in action, at the age of 21. His semi-military funeral was held at Warren Hills Cemetery, Salisbury, on 9 June.

1979 – Rifleman Kevin Peter BOTHMA, 4th Battalion ('Q' Cars), Rhodesia Regiment, killed on active service. Died from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was serving with B troop Special Forces at the time of his death.

1979 – Trooper Christopher Francis "Chris" LANG, 1 Commando, 1st Battalion, RLI, KIA. Killed at Chivinge in the Tete Province, Mozambique (locstat VS9286), during Op Chamber. With a forward admin base established at Kotwa, troops were flown by helicopter for an assault on a Frelimo/ZANLA base north of the Luia River. They were met by fierce resistance from Frelimo troops, and during the attack, Lang, Lance Corporal Frans Nel and Corporal Peter 'Doc' Rice were shot and killed.

1979 – Lance Corporal Ewart Francois "Frans" "Ed" NEL, 1 Commando, 1st Battalion, RLI, KIA.

1979 – Peter Oliver "Doc" RICE, 1 Commando, 1st Battalion, RLI, KIA. He was a medic.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

 

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  • June 04, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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