Today, 20 January, 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 Jan 1979: 74496027BG Trooper Gregory Ernst Raaff from 1 Special Service Battalion died of injuries at Oshakati Hospital after being accidentally crushed between 2 vehicles at Ruacana. He was 20.

20 Jan 1979: 74842519KV Rifleman Willem Adriaan Nel from the Soutpansberg Commando suffered a fatal heart attack and died while attending a weekend camp at Messina Training Ground. He was 56.

20 Jan 1981: 77339554BG Corporal Donald Brooks from 3 SAI Died of Wounds received in action on 03 December 1980 when his company was based at Ondangwa. With only a few days left to serve, two sections of Donald's platoon were ordered to escort one of two buses filled with Permanent Force and Contractor's children on school holiday from the RSA. They picked the buses up from Air Force Base Ondangwa and escorted them to Oshakati. On the return trip in the evening, both Buffel Troop Carriers were ambushed by a large group of SWAPO/PLAN insurgents. An RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket hit the roll bar above Donald's head, critically wounding him. The 2nd Buffel took an RPG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket through the side of the vehicle and the rocket passed right through Rifleman J.E. van der Merwe & Rifleman C. van Zyl, killing them instantly before exiting the Buffel on the opposite side. Both drivers, who were never decorated for their bravery, successfully extracted both their Buffel Troop Carriers out the kill zone with all the tyres blown out and full of wounded men. Corporal Brooks Buffel was driven into AFB Ondangwa and Van Zyl's Buffel managed to reach the base in Ondangwa town. A follow up operation was launched immediately at first light and contact was soon made with the insurgent group where a number of PLAN insurgents were either killed or captured in the ensuing contact. Corporal Donald Brooks succumbed to his wounds on 20/01/1981. He was 19.

20 Jan 1982: Three members from 1 Special Service Battalion were Killed in Action when their armoured vehicle detonated a boosted landmine in Northern Owamboland. They were:

  • 79241576BG Lance Corporal Okert Petrus Kruger. He was 18.
  • 79308268BG Lance Corporal Pieter Kruger. He was 18
  • 78471182BG Trooper Herman Fourie. He was 20.

20 Jan 1983: Two members from the Soutpansburg Military Area were Killed in a military vehicle accident on the Malaladrift Road about 46km outside Messina. They were:

  • 78274552BG Lance Corporal Japie Louis Nel. He was 20.
  • 81537284 Rifleman Lovemore Phakati. He was 22.

20 Jan 1986: 81891913SCC Rifleman R.M. Kröhne from 102 Battalion SWATF was killed when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned in Northern Owamboland. He was 19.

20 Jan 1987: 83886697SWH Rifleman P Rutjindo from 102 Battalion SWATF Died in Hospital from Malaria contracted during operations in Southern Angola. He was 20.

20 Jan 1989: Two members from Regiment Hillcrest were killed in a military vehicle accident. They were:

  • 82379330BT Sergeant Anton Bela van der Merwe. He was 23.
  • 77387959BT Corporal Cornelius Johannes Stroebel. He was 27. 


      1977 – Sgt S. Marufu MUCHEMWA, A Coy, 2nd Bn, RAR, died in a vehicle accident en route to Ft Victoria.

      1978 – Tpr Colin M. MEDDOWS-TAYLOR, Lt Nigel John THERON BCR and Tpr Cornelius T "Corny" VERMAAK, all of B Troop, C Sqn, SAS, were killed by the accidental detonation of a mine on Op Melon in the Mapai area, Gaza Province, Mozambique. The mine was a South African Rose mine, made from Bakelite. It carried a very sensitive anti-handling light-sensitive sensor.

      1978 – Rfn Johannes Lodewikus Stephanus VORSTER, 4th Bn, RR, died from wounds received in action. 

      1979 – Sgt Bruce Hugh JOHNSTON, C Coy, 8th Bn, RR, died in a vehicle accident whilst deploying on the Rusape-Juliasdale road near the Brondsbury Park Hotel on the edge of Makoni TTL, Op Thrasher.

      1979 – DSA KASKET, Kp Prtn, Intaf, died on active service.

      1979 – PO Anthony Michael "Tony" OLIVER, Uniform, BSAP, was killed in a shooting accident whilst off duty, aged 21 years. A loaded shotgun in the back of the vehicle had been accidentally discharged. 

      † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


      • January 20, 2017
      • Piet Fourie
      Write a Comment

      NOTE: Comments must be approved before they are published.