Today, 23 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 

23 Aug 1974: Two members from the School of Artillery were killed in a private motor vehicle accident on the Potchefstroom to Johannesburg road while on weekend pass when their vehicle was involved in a head-on collision with another vehicle while overtaking. The casualties were:

  • 72261175BA Lance Bombardier Michael David Loxton . He was 18.
  • 71310093BA Gunner Joseph Spedding Baggott. He was 18.

23 Aug 1976: 74761610BC Rifleman Reinhard Walter Klingenberg from Infantry School was killed in a private motor vehicle accident at Three Sisters while on Weekend Pass. He was 19.

23 Aug 1976: Two members from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment were Killed in Action during a patrol near the Okavango river when the Wolf vehicle in which they were traveling detonated a landmine and overturned killing Sergeant Soeiro instantly and crushing Staff Sergeant Roxo underneath. The remainder of the crew tried to lift the vehicle in order to free him but it was too heavy. Danny Roxo, in keeping with his dauntless character, decided to make the best of things, lighting a cigarette and smoking it calmly until it was finished, then he died - still pinned beneath the Wolf. The casualties in this incident were:

  • 75014399N Staff Sergeant Francisco Daniel Roxo HC. He was 43.
  • 75014431PN Sergeant Ponciano Gomes Silva Soeiro. He was 35.

23 Aug 1978: Eight members from 1 Special Service Battalion, one member from 2 Special Service Battalion and one member from the South African Medical Corps were Killed in Action during the early hours of the morning when the Bungalow in which they were sleeping at Katima Mulilo received a direct hit from a Soviet GRAD-P 122mm High Explosive Katyusha Rocket. SWAPO/PLAN insurgents operating from Zambia fired 20 x 122mm GRAD-P Katyusha Rockets into the town. 18 rockets exploded harmlessly in the veld, one struck a school in the Katima Mulilo Township and the other demolished the Bungalow in which the soldiers were sleeping. The casualties were:

  • 76253871BG Trooper Kevin John Biggs from 1 SSB. He was 18.
  • 73399941BG Private Willem Hendrik Christoffel Britz from the SAMC. He was 18.
  • 76418193BG Trooper Hendrik Willem De Lange from 1 SSB. He was 18.
  • 73246241BG Trooper Dennis Michael Elworthy from 2 SSB. He was 20.
  • 75233551BG Trooper Gerhardus Petrus Erasmus from 1 SSB. He was 18.
  • 74523580BG Trooper Laurie Johannes Lesch from 1 SSB. He was 19.
  • 74429036BG Trooper Jan Jurgens Roets Schutte from 1 SSB. He was 20.
  • 75560086BG Trooper Gideon Johannes Smit from 1 SSB. He was 18.
  • 75477661 BG Trooper Willem Stephanus Smuts from 1 SSB. He was 19.
  • 75411140BG Trooper Abraham Daniel van der Merwe from 1 SSB. He was 18

23 Aug 1980: 78577087BG Rifleman Helgard Brink Colling from SWA SPES (SWATF) was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 19.

23 Aug 1981: 78911237SP Rifleman Antonio Catamba from 32 Battalion died from a gunshot wound sustained during a shooting incident at Buffalo. He was 42.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR 

23-Aug-67 L/Cpl Cosmos Mushure E Coy, 1st Bn RAR KIA in a contact during Op Nickel, Northern Matabeleland. His platoon were getting ready to spend the night near a terrorist camp when they were fired on. PO Spencer Thomas of the BSAP was killed at the same time. Cosmos was 26 years old.

23-Aug-67 PO Spencer Thomas Dog Sec BSAP KIA in a contact, Tjolotjo district, Op Nickel, at the age of 23. He was one of two BSAP dog handlers attached to 1RAR at the time. Spencer's dog, Leon, disappeared during the action, so was presumed dead. However, he was found a month later, forty miles away at Pumula Mission, where he was eventually caught and restored to full health. Leon would continue to see service in the bush. See also L/Cpl Cosmos Mushure of the RAR.

23-Aug-67 Lt Kenneth "Ken" Peirson E Coy, 1st Bn RAR KOAS by "friendly fire" in the Tjolotjo area, Bulalimamangwe district, Matabeleland, Op Nickel. He was commanding several ambushes whilst looking for the ZIPRA Lithuli gang, who were responsible for the deaths of Lt N Smith and CSM Timitayi the previous day. He left an ambush position to investigate firing a short distance away and was sadly mistaken for the enemy.

23-Aug-74 Rfn Michael Plant 3(Indp) Coy RR KIA by a landmine explosion on the Bveke-Mukumbura loop road, Kandeya TTL, Mt Darwin, Op Hurricane (US688695). Died a day after the incident, in Salisbury Central Hospital, at the age of 21.

23-Aug-77 Rfn Lawrence "Larry" Shakespeare 2(Indp) Coy RR KIA in a landmine explosion. Larry had been driving a 45 and hit a landmine but, survived. When the recovery team came in, that also had to resupply another stick, Larry got into the "Hippo" as he wanted to go and see a mate in the resupply stick. About 200m from the first mine they hit another mine causing the fuel tank to explode and Larry got trapped in the safety belt. Leith Bray (possibly the driver) and another got him out having sustained burns themselves but, Larry died some days later of his burns.

23-Aug-77 Cpl Gary O'Driscoll 1 Cdo, 1st Bn RLI KIA in a CT action. He, together with Billy Wiggill wrote an ode/eulogy, called "Song of the 28th", to commemorate the three fallen 1 Cdo men of 28 February 1976.

23-Aug-79 L/Cpl Aleck Chingarande 3 Sqn RhE KIA Died of shrapnel wounds sustained in a CT action.

23-Aug-79 Cst L. Abisai Kufazvineyi E Tp, SU BSAP KOAS in a vehicle accident just outside Inyazura, at the age of 24. He was due to be promoted to Lance Sgt upon his return from R&R. See also Csts C Kunatsa and M Maranduse who were killed in the same accident.

23-Aug-79 Cst Caleb Kunatsa E Tp, SU BSAP KOAS In a vehicle accident just outside Inyazura, at the age of 27 (b. 20 He was due to be promoted to Lance Sgt upon his return from R&R. See also Csts A Kufazvineyi and M Maranduse who were killed in the same accident.

23-Aug-79 Cst Michael Maranduse E Tp, SU BSAP KOAS in a vehicle accident just outside Inyazura, at the age of 26. See also Csts C Kunatsa and A Kufazvineyi who were both killed in the same accident.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †  

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  • August 23, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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