Today, 8 November, 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. 

SOUTH AFRICAN BORDER WAR

08 Nov 1979: 65580714PE Captain John Alexander Anderson Howitson from Services School was accidentally killed in a shooting incident at the Impala Base near Phalaborwa while supervising a Junior Leadership Training Camp (OSC) at the Letaba training camp. He was the officer in charge of the training course and while he was standing on an earth mound observing a shooting exercise, he was struck and killed by a ricochet bullet. He was 30.

08 Nov 1980: 79851549HK Rifleman Gideon Karupa from 202 Battalion SWATF was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents. He was 25.

08 Nov 1982: 73423147PK Lieutenant Colin Brits from 41 Squadron was killed while giving flying instruction to a newly qualified pilot when his Atlas C4M Kudu, Serial No. 994 crashed near Potchefstroom. He was 25. The Pilot under instruction survived the crash.

08 Nov 1983: 838906SWK Rifleman I. Haikera from 202 Battalion SWATF was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents. He was 26.

08 Nov 1984: Sergeant Norman Keith Abrahams from the South West Africa Police Counter-Insurgency Wing: Ops-K Division (Koevoet) was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 26.

08 Nov 1990: 88597794BG Gunner Pieter Benjamin Koekemoer from 4 Artillery Regiment was killed when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned at Imbali. He was 18.

08 Nov 1995: 71300891PE Lieutenant Colonel Francois Stephanus Botha from the South African Medical Corps attached to Air Force Base Hoedspruit, died of injuries received in a military vehicle accident at Dendron when the front tyre of his vehicle burst, causing the vehicle to overturn. He was 40.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

1973 – Rfn Richard Byers SEALY and Rfn Dennis Keith WRIGHT, both of 10th Bn, RR, were killed by a landmine, when their Land Rover had a rear wheel detonation whilst returning to base at Rushinga. The incident occurred 300 metres from Gwangwana Store on the Gwangwana/Rushinga road, Op Hurricane. L/Cpl Gavin Baker relates the incident: “We had been part of a double pick up after a 3-day patrol and one of the Bedford RMs broke down, so a Land Rover was sent out with orders to stay behind the recovered RM. When we were picked up, the Land Rover turned around first and led the convoy, in the belief that, since they had come that way, the road was safe. A tragic miscalculation. Corporal Sarel Cilliers lost a leg and Rfn Skalzeny suffered horrendous wounds and was in hospital for some months. We were due to go home the following day”.

1977 – Pte Trevor Elliot JOHNSON, of the army, died on active service.

1979 – Pte Benjamin Rosely EDWARDS, 2nd Bn, RDR, was killed in a ZIPRA vehicle ambush, Nkai district, Op Tangent. He was 21 years old. On that morning, Benjamin's stick was returning from having successfully completed a mission to apprehend a ZAPU political commissar. Soon afterwards, they had a fleeting contact with a group of ZIPRA CTs who, later that afternoon, regrouped and joined up with another group numbering about 15. These CTs then ambushed the RDR truck that was on its way back to base (borehole 78) with their capture. An RPG-7 rocket missed the RL truck that Benjamin was travelling in, but the vehicle sustained AK hits to two wheels and their TR48 radio, making it impossible for them to call for assistance. As the firing continued, Benjamin suffered three bullet wounds, twice in his lower left leg and one in the throat. The medic was unable to save him. It took another 24 hours for the truck to limp back to base with no further incident.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

 

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  • November 08, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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