Today, 20 July, we salute and honor the following men who sacrificed their lives whilst standing in the defence of what they held dear at the time and against evil and tyranny. 


20 Jul 1982: 77492015BT Corporal Michael Daniel Otto from 912 Battalion SWATF was killed when his SAMIL 20 vehicle overturned at Okahandja. He was driving the vehicle on the Bobbejaan Road from Oshiri Base Camp outside Okahandja, down the mountain to the tar road T-Junction when the vehicles brakes failed. The vehicle was picking up speed so he decided to carry straight on over the tar road into the veld instead of turning onto the tar road. Unfortunately there was a ditch on the other side of the tar road and the vehicles nose dug into the ditch and the vehicle flipped over. His actions, at the cost of his own life, were instrumental in saving the lives of those who were riding on the back of the vehicle as they were thrown clear when the vehicle flipped over. He was 21.

20 Jul 1983: Rifleman James Tjuima a SWATF basic trainee, died in hospital from complications after contracting Pneumonia while undergoing basic training. He was 19.

20 Jul 1983: Two members from the South West Africa 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 Constable Frans Hamutewa. He was 27
  • Special Constable Klemens Mpase. He was 22.

20 Jul 1987: 79468609PS Captain Barend Jacobus Vorster from 8 Squadron was killed when his Atlas MB326M Impala Mk I, Serial No. 464 crashed into the sea off Durban during a joint training exercise with the South African Navy. He was 24. His rear-seater, Captain Renier Pienaar ejected successfully and was rescued from the sea by a Navy vessel.

20 Jul 1988: 79346797BT Corporal Johannes David Gerhardus van der Merwe from 3 Parachute Battalion was killed when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned at Batavia. He was 25.


20-Jul-77 Cpl Mubayiwa Msembele Depot RhASC DOAS of natural causes.

20-Jul-78 Capt Louis Vieira Regt Vet G/Scts KIA in an ambush on a Grey’s Scouts convoy in the Wankie area, Op Tangent.

20-Jul-79 Sgt Raymond Beamish 1st Field Regt RhA KIA by a gunshot wound sustained in a contact in the Grapple area. Ray was attending a course at Gwelo when the course was called out to attend to a commotion at a Gokwe Phumo re Vanhu camp. He was subsequently KIA fighting against Pfumo re Vanhu.

20-Jul-79 Snr DO Iain "Dhlamini" Fyfe MCM (Post) - 07.12.79 Regular Intaf KIA Killed in the Nkai area, Op Tangent. Iain took over this district after DC Gerry Ross was killed in an ambush. Iain had been trying to organise a cattle sale, at which his reaction unit would provide much-needed protection. They had visited a business centre near the sale pens to speak to locals, when they received a message that a bus had been attacked by a gang of ZIPRA CTs. Iain responded immediately, returning some five km down the road where they left their two vehicles before setting out on foot, soon finding CT spoor. Iain was the first to see the CTs, opening fire and wounding one. They followed the blood spoor and tracks of about 20 CTs for about three km when they reached the edge of the forest, emerging onto the edge of an open field surrounded by very thick bush. They were just in time to see the wounded CT being carried into cover by two of his comrades, so started shooting at them. At the same time, an RPD opened up to their right, hitting Iain and killing him instantly. Iain's funeral service was held in Bulawayo, after which he was cremated and his ashes scattered, by his wife, Linda, at Besha Pass in the Essexvale TTL. In a small church, in Bulawayo, where he worshipped as a small boy, there is a stained glass window with the Intaf crest, his name, and the epitaph, 'To serve mankind, himself he scorned to save'. Iain was posthumously awarded the MCM for his outstanding courage, resourcefulness, brave and gallant conduct beyond the call of duty.

20-Jul-79 Aux Cst Alex Mangoro PR BSAP KOAS Died in an accidental shooting when he had an AD whilst cleaning his Bren Gun in the Op Repulse area, aged 20.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †  

  • July 20, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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  • September 30, 2018
  • Brian Harding

R.I.P. Ray, time passes, but not forgotten. Nembudzia,20/7/79.

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