Today, 20 October, 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. 


20 Oct 1977: Three crew members of 15 Squadron “A” Flight and one passenger from the SAAF 250 Air Defence Artillery Group (250 ADAG) were killed and two more passengers seriously burned when their Super Frelon Helicopter 303 crashed in the mountains on the farm "Leyden" at Sheepmoor near the border of Mocambique and Swaziland while flying in dense fog and mist. The helicopter was returning to Pretoria from a 250 ADAG missile firing exercise at St. Lucia. The casualties were:

  • 05533781PM Captain Don Bezuidenhout (Pilot and Aircraft Commander). He was 31.
  • 72523244PM 2/Lieutenant Dawid Petrus Burger (Co-Pilot). He was 21.
  • 05501481PE Sergeant Willem Adriaan Jacobus van der Merwe (Flight Engineer). He was 33.
  • 05460308PE Commandant Gert Hermanus Jacobus Strydom van Rooyen from 250 ADAG (Passenger). He was 35.

One of the survivors, Flight Sergeant E. Scheepers from 250 ADAG (Passenger), despite being injured and grievously burnt, walked several kilometers until he eventually found help at a road construction camp. For his utmost devotion to duty, he was awarded the Pro Merito Decoration. The other survivor was Corporal David Jones (Passenger), also from 250 ADAG.

20 Oct 1979: 75460600BG Rifleman Deon Botha from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment was killed in a military vehicle accident at Mariental. He was 20

20 Oct 1979: 76337104BG Sapper Gerhardt Wagener from the South African Engineer Corps was killed after being accidentally run over by a military vehicle at Bossiespruit. He was 19.

20 Oct 1980: 79000717PN Major John Kendrick Murphy from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment (former member of the Rhodesian Selous Scouts) was killed when his parachute failed during a practice training jump at Westonaria. He was 37. (Major Murphy was an American Citizen and his mortal remains were later repatriated back to the United States for burial).

20 Oct 1980: Two members of 32 Battalion were killed when their Buffel Troop Carrier overturned at Buffalo. They were:

  • 76927300SP Lance Corporal Alfred Jose Mindo. He was 34.
  • 76928712SP Rifleman Jaquin Francisco. He was 24

20 Oct 1981: 77548576BG Corporal Peter Andrew Chapman from 8 SAI was Killed in Action when his Buffel Troop Carrier detonated a boosted landmine in Northern Owamboland. He was 20.

20 Oct 1983: 80830623SP Rifleman Joao Augusto from 32 Battalion was killed in a military vehicle accident at Linus Shashipapo. He was 19.

20 Oct 1983: 79462594BG Private Johan Beyers Human from the South African Medical Corps was killed instantly when his private motor vehicle overturned near Bloemhof. He was attached to the Army Battle School at the time and was travelling from Lohatla to Pretoria on leave pass when the accident occurred. He was 20.

20 Oct 1986: 81069643BT Rifleman Christiaan Marthinus Arnoldus Adam Venter from Regiment Oos Rand was killed when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned at Ellisras. He was 20.

20 Oct 1987: 84269836BG Trooper Herman Ziemkendorf from 2 Special Service Battalion was killed when his Eland 90 armoured car overturned at Siftersnek near Zeerust during training exercises in the area. He was 19.

20 Oct 1989: 86494614BG Lance Corporal Pieter Johannes Klue from 1 Parachute Battalion was killed in a private motor vehicle accident on the old Warmbaths Road near the Wonderboom Military Base. He was 19.


1975 – Pte Rameck CHIHAMBAKWE, HQ, 2 Bde, died on active service.

1976 – Cst Isaac CHIPARA, D Tp, SU, BSAP, died from a gunshot wound, in a contact in Inyanga North TTL, Op Thrasher. Died aged 24.

1976 – Cst Mathias Jonathan MUSODZA, SU, BSAP, died from multiple gunshot wounds in Chiduku TTL, Makoni, Op Thrasher. Died aged 21 . The incident occurred in the course of ordinary investigations, when he was brutally murdered by a member of a terrorist gang.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


  • October 20, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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