Today, 20 August, 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. 

SOUTH AFRICAN BORDER WAR 

20 Aug 1975: 65415408BT Trooper Leon William Bessinger from the Prince Alfred’s Guard was killed in a military vehicle accident near Peddie in the Eastern Cape. He was 26.

20 Aug 1975: 726606 Lance Corporal Herman Gustav Pfeil from 3 Commando, 1st Battalion Rhodesian Light Infantry was Killed in Action during Operation Hurricane after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during a contact with insurgents near Pachanza Keep, Karuyana, Mount Darwin. He was 20.

20 Aug 1977: Two members from 40 Squadron were killed when their AT-6 Harvard, Serial No. 7412, while carrying out a routine general flying sortie. The aircraft went into a spin from which the pilot was unable to recover and the aircraft crashed near Delmas. The casualties were:

  • 08458846BV Captain Keith Neil Smith. He was 27.
  • 69533016BT 2/Lieutenant Paul Christopher Sarbutt. He was 24.

20 Aug 1978: 75308270BG Private Jacobus Johannes Etienne Bothma from the Defence Headquarters Personnel Unit died from a gunshot wound to the neck, accidentally sustained in a shooting incident while he was on duty in Pretoria. He was rushed to 1 Military Hospital but succumbed to his injuries the same day. He was 19.

20 Aug 1988: 78533320BT Lance Corporal Brian Albert Hoy from Regiment Noord Transvaal was accidentally killed after being crushed in the Commanders turret when his Ratel overturned approximately 40km South of Ruacana. He was 26.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR 

20-Aug-75 L/Cpl Herman "Harry" Pfeil 14 Tp, 3 Cdo, 1st Bn RLI KIA Died from a gunshot in a contact near Pachanza Keep, Karuyana, Mt Darwin, Op Hurricane, at the age of 20. As a result of intelligence received about a CT crossing, elements of 3 Cdo were deployed at the Intaf keep at Pachanza, from where, that night, they would walk to the border to set up ambush sites. As Harry's stick was preparing the ambush site with trip flares and arcs of fire, particularly for the MAG, a gang of CTs walked into them. A brief concentrated firefight ensued in which Harry was shot and killed.

20-Aug-78 Sgt Henri "Val" Small No sub-units RhAPC KOAS in a vehicle accident.

20-Aug-79 DSA Petrus Masuku Kp Prtn Intaf KIA Died from gunshot wounds in an ambush at Mhlahlo Dip Tank, Tjolotjo TTL, Op Tangent. DSAs Ambrose Ncube and Petros Moyo were also killed in this ambush.

20-Aug-79 DSA Petros Moyo Kp Prtn Intaf KIA Died in a vehicle ambush, Mahlalo, Tjolotjo TTL, Op Tangent. An RPG rocket fired by a ZIPRA CT hit the edge of the armour plate on the side of a Puma in which Moyo was travelling. He caught the blast full in his face, and died later from his wounds. DSAs Petrus Masuku and Ambrose Ncube were also killed in this incident.

20-Aug-79 DSA Ambrose Ncube Kp Prtn Intaf KIA Died in a vehicle ambush, Mahlalo, Tjolotjo TTL, Op Tangent. An RPG rocket fired by a ZIPRA CT hit the edge of the armour plate on the side of a Puma in which Ncube was travelling. He caught the blast full in his face. DSAs P Masuku and P Moyo were killed in the same ambush.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †  

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  • August 20, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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