South African Military History Society


JUNE 2000

At our Society Meeting on 11 May, we were privileged to listen to a presentation on the ROYAL ARTILLERY COMMANDO GUNNERS by Col J.R.McGregor, especially the 29 Field Regiment RA with whom he proudly shared a good part of his military career.

When in 1960 it was decided to select an artillery regiment to support 3 Commando Brigade RM, 29 Field Regiment RA, doing duty in Kuwait and Aden at that time, was chosen. In consequence, all personnel was required to pass the RM commando course.
Our speaker then showed a Video about the tough and diverse training forcing soldiers close to physical limits, almost beyond exhaustion day and night. The course finished with an endurance march over 30 miles, survived only by the fittest, and the best were then presented with the coveted green beret.
Regimental training continued until the end of 1961, and in 1962 the Commando Gunner Establishment came into being, consisting of 95 Cdo AO Regt RA and 29 Cdo Rgt RA.

1963 saw 29 Cdo Regt RA dispatched to Singapore on HMS Bulwark Cdo Carrier. Further deployment in 1963/1964 included operations against Indonesian Invasions in Malaya and North Borneo.
By 1965 the Cdo Gnrs were subjected to organisational changes, the 95 Cdo AO Regt was converted to a Gun Regt and 29 Cdo Regt structure changed to HQ Bty, 1 x AO Bty and 3 x Gun Btys.
From 1966 on the 29 Cdo Regt was deployed to NATO's north flank, and 95 Cdo to the Far & Middle East. Operations in 1967 saw one Bty of 29 Cdo Regt dispatched to Nigeria on HMS Albion, while 95 Cdo Regt took part in the evacuation of Aden with HMS Bulwark, Albion, Intrepid and Fearless.

In 1968 there came a change of tour, with 29 Cdo Regt being sent to 3 Cdo Bde in Singapore to relieve 95 Cdo Regt returning to the UK to do duty with NATO. At that time the RM Commando strength was: 3 RM Cdos in the UK and 2 RM Cdos -3 Cdo Bde- in Singapore. 1971 saw the withdrawal from Singapore and disbandment of 95 Cdo RA which was re-equipped and then consisted of 1 x TA AA missile Bty and 1 x AO Bty.
The Falklands conflict brought 29 Cdo RA into the thick of the fighting and we were treated to a Video about part of this campaign with all its drama, and afterwards the homecoming of the troops.

With the fall of the USSR TA AO Bty disbanded and in 2000 only 29 Cdo Regt RA exists, fully equipped with the most modern guns and transport vehicles, as well as HMS Fearless and Intrepid which will be replaced at a later date. 1 RM Cdo and 1 Cdo Bty RA can be embarked on HMS Ocean, and as it happens they are now employed at Sierra Leone.

It is planned to conduct a ceremony on 15th July 2000 to commemorate the affiliation of 29 Cdo RA with Cape Field Artillery at the Royal Citadel. These two units fought in Tobruk together during World War 2.


8 June 2000

(Their part in the Normandy Invasion, a Bridge too far, and the Battle of the Bulge)
Illustrated Talk by Stan Lambrick

13 July 2000

Talk by Mr. J.P.Creighton

10 August 2000

Speakers on a variety of subjects have signed on, but we still invite members to come forward to talk on their favourite topics.

INVITATION: Any member who has travelled overseas and is willing to share any interesting facts on Museums or military history in general, is invited to talk for 10 minutes at our meetings. Please contact Chairman Derek O'Riley at 689 2300.
The Bumper Journal has, unfortunately, not been printed during 1999. This has been due to a commercial publisher offering to produce the 100-page special issue at no cost to the Society, funding the exercise on sponsorships. Possibly these sponsorships failed to materialize, but attempts by the Committee and the staff of the SA National Museum of Military History to obtain the Journal were fruitless. The Advisory Committee of the Museum has since retrieved the written material and the Bumper Journal will be published this year. The normal June and December 2000 issues of the Military History Journal will also be produced.

HMAS SIDNEY - sunk by German raider Kormoran on 19 November 1941. A recent article from "The West Australian" sheds new light on the location of the Sidney wreck. Anyone interested in a photocopy of the story can contact John Mahncke.

BOOK CORNER: The new book in the series of Castle Military Museum publications is now available. It was authored by the late Prof Arthur Davies and is titled: "Town Guards of the Cape Peninsula". It can be purchased from Natie Greef at the Museum.

Our treasurer received a subscription from Mr J.O.Stuart, but with no address details. Would any member knowing Mr. Stuart kindly supply us with his address or telephone number?

RESEARCH ENQUIRY: Tony Gordon received a request for information on names and ranks of South Africans of senior officer rank in the British Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force, Army and Indian Army (General, Commodore or Air-Commodore). Anyone who can assist is asked to kindly contact John Mahncke.

Meetings of the Cape Town Branch are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month at 20h00 in the Recreation Hall of the SA LEGION'S ROSEDALE COMPLEX, Lower Nursery Road Rosebank, (off Alma Road), opposite Rosebank Railway Station, below the line. Visitors are welcome, donation R 3.00, students and scholars free. Tea and biscuits will be served.

John Mahncke, (Vice-Chairman/Scribe), (021) 797 5167

South African Military History Society /