Today, 25 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 

25 Nov 1971: Four members from 22 Flight (later 22 Squadron) were killed while stationed on board the SAS President Steyn that was escorting a new Daphne Class submarine SAS Emily Hobhouse from France back to South Africa. While the ship was docked in Luanda they experienced technical problems with the Westland Wasp helicopter, Serial No 83. After the technicians had worked on the helicopter, Captain Tiedt the Pilot together with the Flight Engineer and two ground technicians took the helicopter out for a test-flight. Just after take-off from the Frigate, the helicopter suffered tail rotor separation and during this process, burst into flames and exploded, killing all aboard. The bodies of all four men were recovered and brought back to Cape Town. They were:

  • 05577044V Captain (Pilot) Christiaan Jacobus Tiedt. He was 24.
  • 05177225E Sergeant (Flight Engineer) Johannes Gerhardus Blom. He was 34.
  • 05544929E Corporal Johann Stork (Aircraft Fitter). He was 26.
  • 67012484E Corporal Nicolaas Francois Janse van Rensburg (Aircraft Fitter). He was 33.

25 Nov 1975: Two members from 11 Squadron and one from 8 SAI were Reported Missing during Operation Savannah when their Cessna 185D, Serial Number 739 took off from Cela airfield in Central Angola to carry out a visual reconnaissance over the Massaba River area. The aircraft disappeared without trace and was presumed to have been shot down over or near the town of Ebo in Central Angola. On 9 April 2006, the wreckage of the Cessna aircraft was located. On Tuesday July 11 2006, nearly 31 years later, Mr Henk van Zyl was physically taken to the gravesite and was able, through an interpreter and in the presence of about five Angolan government officials, to speak to two headmen. One of them had assisted in burying 2nd Lieutenant’s Keith Williamson and Eric Thompson plus Captain D.J. Taljaard in a communal grave near to the wreck of the aircraft. The grave was still slightly recognizable as a grave and someone had stuck a little wooden cross on the top as if they were still caring for the grave. On Tuesday 11 July 2006, nearly 31 years later, their mortal remains were repatriated back to South Africa. The remains were cremated and now rest in a Niche at the Voortrekker Monument Wall of Remembrance. The casualties were

  • 70527999PD 2/Lieutenant Keith Arthur Williamson from 11 Squadron. He was 21
  • 71225163PM 2/Lieutenant Eric Brian Thompson from 11 Squadron. He was 20
  • 01575109PE Captain Daniel Jakob Taljaard from 7 SAI. He was 32.

25 Nov 1979: 77214013BG Rifleman Thomas Ignatius Louw from 2 SAI was Killed in Action during a contact with SWAPO/PLAN insurgents in Northern Owamboland. He was 18.

25 Nov 1982: Special Constable Tuhfeni Nekundi 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 34.

25 Nov 1987: 83463794BG Trooper Johann Raubenheimer Meyer from 32 Battalion was Killed in Action during a contact with enemy forces in South Eastern Angola. He was 20.

25 Nov 1987: 83496166BG Rifleman Marius Johannes Mitton HC (P) was critically wounded during Ops Modular on 11 November 1987 during an attack on the FAPLA 16 Brigade Tactical Group South of the Chambinga River. He was the Gunner in a 4 SAI Ratel 20, Callsign 12C and had just successfully knocked out a Soviet T-55 tank with his 20mm cannon before the Ratel received a direct in the drivers compartment from a 100mm High Explosive projectile from another T-55 tank. The Driver, Rifleman Schutte was killed instantly but not knowing this, the critically wounded Mitton still rotated the turret to a position to enable the driver to get out of his hatch before he himself vacated the turret of the burning Ratel. He was evacuated to 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria but succumbed to his wounds on 25 November 1987. He was 20. Both members were recommended for a posthumous award of the Honoris Crux for their Gallantry but whether the recommendation was approved or not is unsure.

25 Nov 1995: 90308842PE Corporal Pierre Venter from 7 Medical Battalion Group, a member of the South African National Antarctic Expedition (SANAE), died from Hypothermia after he lost his way in a blizzard. He was later found dead by the rescue team about 150m from the main base near Vesleskarvet. He was 22.

RHODESIAN BUSH WAR

1976 – Rfn Frederick Carel "Freek" KOEN, 3(Indep) Coy, RR, died from a gunshot wound received in a contact in the Tanda TTL, Makoni district, Op Thrasher, at the age of 20. Freek was the Bren gunner in a stick of four, led by Cpl Chris Goosen, which had been deployed late at night to set up OPs and ambush positions. As they crossed the Inyangombe River out of Nyanga district, they sighted a very large group of ZANLA CTs estimated at more than two hundred, including a company of heavy weaponry such as recoilless rifles, anti-aircraft guns and mortars. In the firefight that ensued, Freek received a fatal wound to the stomach and Goosen was wounded.

1976 – Pte Phillip Vincent SANDERS, RDR, died in Andrew Fleming Hospital, Salisbury, from injuries sustained in a vehicle accident. He was 20 years old.

1976 – Ext Asst Phineas Hwingwiri TIYAVONE, ADF, Intaf, died from gunshot wounds, Chirorwe School, Bikita, Op Repulse. He was 50 years old.

1978 – Spr P. GOMO, 1 Sqn, RhE, was killed in an accidental explosion.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †

 

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  • November 25, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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