Today, 2 September, we salute and honor 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. 


02 Sep 1977: 4329 Air Lieutenant Andre Dennis Leon Du Plessis from 4 Squadron, Rhodesian Air Force was Killed in Action during Ops Thrasher when his Cessna Reims FTB337G (Lynx) Super Skymaster, Serial No R3042 flew into the ground 20 miles South of Umtali while attacking a group of insurgents during a Rhodesian Forces cross-border raid. It appeared that he had suffered “target fixation” and failed to timeously pull out of the dive after firing his weapons. He was 23. (His father, South African Captain Jan du Plessis was the pilot of the ill-fated Air Rhodesia Viscount “Umniati” that was shot down by ZIPRA insurgents using a Soviet SA-7 shoulder-launched Surface-to-Air Missile on 12 February 1979).

02 Sep 1977: 75281998BA Rifleman Matthys Christiaan Henn from 4 SAI was critically injured in a military vehicle accident between Middelburg and Greefswald on 31 August 1977 and succumbed to his injuries in 1 Military Hospital on 02 September 1977. He was 18.

02 Sep 1978: 77121838 Rifleman Arau Chilemba from 5 Reconnaissance Regiment attached to D Squadron Rhodesian Special Air Service, was killed instantly in Mocambique when he accidentally walked into the helicopter tail rotor after being inserted into the designated drop zone inside enemy territory. He was 24.

02 Sep 1982: Two members from 5 Maintenance Unit were grievously burned in an accidental petrol explosion at Ondangwa on 30 August 1982. Both members were evacuated to the 1 Military Hospital Burn Unit where they succumbed to their injuries on 02 September 1982. The casualties were:

  • 80536584BG Private Gordon Gray Crossland. He was 18.
  • 78464716BG Private Hendrik Lambertus Groenewald. He was 20.

02 Sep 1984: 76586106BT Able Seaman Crispin John Canner from SAS Unity died from a gunshot wound after being accidentally shot by a fellow sailor while carrying out guard duty at the Slangkop Radio Station. He was 24.

02 Sep 1989: 87440152BG Lance Corporal Hendrik Jacobus Bekker from the Eastern Transvaal Command Provost Unit, South African Corps of Military Police, was accidentally killed after being struck by a moving train while on leave in Nelspruit. He was 18.

02 Sep 1999: 81539538PE Major Kenneth Arthur Newman from 22 Squadron was killed when his Alouette III Helicopter, Serial No. 616 suffered engine failure and crashed in dense bush at Sea View, Port Elizabeth. The Flight Engineer, Flight Sergeant Mike Bottom (37), and student Flight Engineer Sergeant Gert Etsebeth (22) were both seriously injured but survived the crash. He was 50.


02-Sep-69 Pte Chotubai Naik NS Army KOAS Died in Princess Margaret Hospital from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was 22 years old.

02-Sep-75 Instr Tech Finnbar Cunningham New Sarum RhAF KOAS Died in Andrew Fleming Hospital from injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was 27 years old.

02-Sep-75 Cpl Kelvin Storie C Sqn (TF) SAS KIA by a gunshot wound in a contact with Frelimo on the Luia River in Mozambique, at the age of 25.

02-Sep-76 DSO Henry Jeffery SB BSAP KIA from gunshot wounds in a terrorist incident during a night operation in Luveve Township, Bulawayo, Op Tangent.

02-Sep-76 Cst Walker Ncube Uniform BSAP KIA from a gunshot wound to the head, Luveve Township, Bulawayo. He was 23 years old.

02-Sep-76 Flt Lt - Plt Henry William "Billy" Stevens No 4 Sqn RhAF KIA in his Lynx R3413 by ground fire whilst supporting an external op over north-east border in Mozambique in the Ruenya River area, just across the border from Inyanga North, Op Thrasher. According to Beryl Salt, it was a deliberate ploy by a ZANLA group that had entered the country and then enticed the SF into Mozambique where a large force of Frelimo were waiting in ambush. His body was recovered and the aircraft was blown up by Rhodesian Engineers. Confirmed by Alan Walsh. No 28 PTC. Louis Fourie, a life-long close friend of Billy's, was one of the troops on the ground when Billy's Lynx arrived to provide air support. He confirms that the Lynx sustained heavy ground fire, causing it to crash, but due to the strong presence of CTs in the area, it took two days before Billy's body was recovered. Fourie adds that, in spite of the fact that he and Billy had, in their young days, their application to join the US Air Force turned down, Billy went on join the RhAF initially as a navigator, achieving the trophy for the best results ever on the SAAF Navigation Course, and then went on to become a pilot. He was 25 years old.

02-Sep-77 Air Lt - Plt Andre du Plessis No 4 Sqn RhAF KOAS by presumed target fixation (flew into the ground) whilst attacking a group of CTs. He was flying a Lynx F337 R3042. The incident happened on a cross-border raid south of Umtali, Op Thrasher. No 28 PTC. His father, Capt Jan du Plessis, was the pilot of Viscount 'Umniati' shot down by CTs on 12 February 1979. See also Underwood.

02-Sep-77 Sgt - Tech John Underwood No 4 Sqn RhAF KOAS when his pilot, Air Lt Andre du Plessis, had suspected target fixation (flew into the ground) whilst attacking a target flying a Lynx, R3042. The incident happened on a cross-border raid south of Umtali. He was 26 years old.

02-Sep-78 Gd Lazarus Buru PV Prtn Group GF KIA

02-Sep-78 Pte Adam Mashizwa 2 Sqn RhE KIA

02-Sep-78 Gd Ringson Munemo PV Prtn Group GF DOAS

02-Sep-78 Jnr Cpl Trynos Mujero PV Prtn Group GF DOAS .

02-Sep-78 Cst Funboy Chimweta Uniform BSAP KOAS in an accident, at the age of 25.

02-Sep-78 L/Cpl Peter Fairbanks 5(Indp) Coy RAR KIA in the Chipinga district, Op Thrasher.

02-Sep-79 L/Cpl Barry Idensohn 1 Sqn RhACR DOAS of septicaemia.

02-Sep-79 Sgt Frank Lawrence 1st Bn RLI KOAS as a result of an accidental shooting. Attached to 2 Brigade. 

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †  



  • September 02, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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