Today, 29 February, 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.


29 Feb 1976: Two members from Alpha Group, 201 Battalion SWATF were Killed in Action when their Buffel Troop Carrier detonated a landmine near the Cut-line. The casualties were:

  • 69211258PE Lieutenant Theunis Johannes van der Westhuizen. He was 22.
  • Sergeant Josia Bambo. He was 24

29 Feb 1980: Two members from Regiment De La Rey were Killed in Action at Ombalantu after receiving multiple shrapnel wounds when the Base was subjected to heavy enemy mortar, rocket and machine-gun fire during a SWAPO/PLAN attack in the early hours of the morning. The casualties were:

  • 70299938BG Rifleman Abraham Christoffel van Niekerk. He was 25.
  • 71247084BT Rifleman Pieter Jakobus Geel. He was 24.

29 Feb 1980: 70272224KT 2/Lieutenant Willem George Van Heerden from Noordvaal Commando was killed when his Buffel Troop Carrier overturned at Musese near Nkurunkuru. He was 25.

29 Feb 1984: 77403955BG Lieutenant Michael John Heilbrink from Quartermaster General was killed in a private motor vehicle accident while on weekend pass. He was 23.

29 Feb 1988: Two members from 701 Battalion SWATF and one member from 2 SAI accidentally drowned when they got into difficulties while swimming through one of the sluices at Cuquleti near the Calueque Dam. The Lieutenant jumped into a tube with a rope tied around it in an attempt to save the other two but unfortunately, the rope separated and he was also sucked into the sluice and drowned. Despite an intensive search over the next few weeks, only the body of Rifleman Howse was recovered. Lieutenant Thomas and Lance Corporal Dorfling have no known grave and remain unaccounted for. Lieutenant Thomas was posthumously awarded the Honoris Crux for his gallant and unselfish actions under extremely dangerous circumstances that ultimately cost him his life. The casualties in this incident were:

  • 82532086PE Lieutenant James Allen Thomas HC (P) from 701 Battalion SWATF. He was 21.
  • Lance Corporal Matthew Howse from 701 Battalion SWATF. He Was 19.
  • 84574821BG Lance Corporal Jan Dirksie Lawrence Dorfling from 2 SAI. He was 19



    † Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


    • February 28, 2019
    • Piet Fourie
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