Today, 23 June, 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.


23 Jun 1970: Two members from 42 Squadron were killed when their Cessna 185A, Serial No. 725 crashed at Vaal River near Potchefstroom after flying into High Tension Wires. The aircraft crew were:

  • 65362832R 2/Lieutenant Johan van Sittert. He was 21
  • 64247240E Candidate Officer Petrus Johannes van Deventer. He was 22

23 Jun 1974: 68343599PE Lieutenant Freddie Johannes Zeelie from 1 Reconnaissance Regiment was Killed in Action at about 17h45 while engaged on anti-insurgent operations in Southern Angola. While combing thick bush on the left flank of a suspected insurgent position together with Lance Corporal Hillebrand, the insurgents suddenly opened fire with two machine-guns. L/Cpl Hillebrand was pinned down by heavy machine gun fire but Lieutenant Zeelie, without thought for his personal safety and in spite of the extreme danger to which he was exposed, immediately stormed the enemy position over a distance of approximately 50m forcing one machine-gun crew to withdraw and successfully neutralising the other, regrettably losing his life in the process. As a result of this selfless act of gallantry in the face of great personal danger, the left flank of the patrol was able to re-deploy. For his courage, determination and self-sacrifice, Lt Zeelie was posthumously awarded the Louw Wepener Decoration. Lt Zeelie was the first South African soldier to be Killed in Action during the Border War. He was also the only member of Special Forces to ever receive the Louw Wepener Decoration. He was buried with Full Military Honours in Alberton. He was 22.

23 Jun 1980: 73215824PE Sergeant Jacobus Daniel Cilliers from 17 Squadron was Killed in action when his Alouette III, Serial No. 24 was shot down by an RPG-7 anti-tank rocket during the later stages of Ops Sceptic. Both he and the pilot, Captain Tinus van Rensburg were thrown clear when the aircraft hit the ground. Cilliers was killed in the crash but the pilot, although injured, successfully evaded capture until rescued and returned to South African lines. Cilliers body was recovered by the Angolan Authorities and pictures of his body appeared on FAPLA and SWAPO propaganda pamphlets. His remains were eventually returned to South Africa in 1982. He was 23.

23 Jun 1984: 80564958BG Corporal Johannes Christiaan Theunissen from 7 SAI was Killed in Action after being struck by shrapnel from a Soviet PG-7 Anti-Tank Rocket when their position at Okankolo was attacked by a numerically superior force of SWAPO/PLAN insurgents. He was 21.


1977 – Corporal Grainger MANNING, HQ Protection Company, Rhodesia Defence Regiment, died on active service. Buried in the Athlone Cemetery, Bulawayo.

1977 – Guard M. ZVIRIME, Protected Village Protection Group, Guard Force, died on active service.

1978 – Woman Police Officer Linda Joan LAMB, CID, BSAP, killed on active service. Died in tragic circumstances, aged 24 years. Her private funeral was held at Warren Hills Cemetery , Salisbury, on 28 June.

1978 – Private Cossum NDLOVU, D Company, 2nd Battalion, Rhodesian Regiment, KIA. Killed in a terrorist action.

1978 – Warrant Officer 2 Brian George REES , 2 Medical Company, attached 1 Rhodesian Regiment, Rhodesian Army Medical Corps, killed on active service. Died in a vehicle accident.

1978 – Constable Michael Younger SIBANDA , Uniform BSAP, murdered. Murdered by terrorists whilst on bicycle patrol in Njube, Bulawayo West, Op Tangent, at the age of 22. His semi-military funeral was held in Bulawayo on 23 June.

1979 – Auxiliary Constable Bernard Mahone MARADZE, Police Reserve, BSAP, KIA. Killed in a CT action in the Bindura area, Op Hurricane, at the age of 20. His semi-military funeral was held in Victoria Province on 2 July.

† Their names and sacrifices have not been forgotten †


  • June 23, 2017
  • Piet Fourie
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