PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE WILL BE NO MEETING ON THURSDAY, THE 9TH OF JULY.
THE REGULAR MEETING OF THE CAPE TOWN BRANCH FOR JULY WILL TAKE PLACE ON TUESDAY, THE 14TH OF JULY
THE REGULAR MEETING, TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE ON THE 9TH OF JULY, HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED AND POSTPONED UNTIL THE 14TH IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE OUR SPEAKER FOR THE JULY MEETING, MR JAMES WILLSON, FROM KENYA. WHO IS CURRENTLY VISITING SOUTH AFRICA. THE VENUE REMAINS THE SAME.
FOR OUR VISITORS: The Cape Town Branch of the SA Military History Society's meetings are held every second Thursday of the month, except for December (in recess) and January (third Thursday due to summer school holidays), and of course, this month's special arrangement.
HOW TO GET TO OUR MEETINGS: Take the Alma Road extension off Liesbeek Parkway, towards the mountain. At the T-junction (railway embankment - Rosebank Station) turn left onto Lower Nursery Road (some maps show it as Guildford Road). The Rosedale Complex is about 300 m down the road on the LH side and is a 7-storey high-rise complex set back from the road (next to a block of high-rise flats) with a high wire-link fence and boom control at the entrance gate. Secured public parking on the premises is to the left, once inside the complex, behind the covered resident parking bays (the public parking bays abuts the road which you have just passed on your way towards the gate). The main entrance and front of the building is in line with the road entrance. The meetings are held in the residents' recreation room, main block, through the entrance foyer and passage on the left past the lift, first door on the RH side of the said passage.
TIME: Meetings start promptly at 20:00.
TUESDAY*, 14 July 2015: GUERRILLAS OF TSAVO: WW1 IN BRITISH EAST AFRICA, AUGUST 1914 - MARCH 1916 by Mr James Willson
Our speaker is a man of many talents: Battlefield guide, historian, and author, as well as a retired hotelier with wide experience in the Kenyan hospitality and tourism industry. Mr Willson will be on a visit to South Africa and has graciously offered to share with the Cape Town Branch of the SAMHS his research and experiences on the WWI campaign in British East Africa. He has over the course of thirty years in some detail researched the East African Campaign within the time-frame of events and operations between 1914 and 1916.
During this period the conflict was not only restricted to Tanganyika (the erstwhile German East Africa, today Tanzania), but also spilled over into the then British colonies of Kenya and Uganda, Northern Rhodesia, Nyassaland and Portuguese Moçambique. His lecture will concentrate on the least recorded period of the campaign and will picture events by describing the numerous skirmishes along the common German and British East Africa frontier [BEA]; the build-up of Empire reinforcements following the invasion and occupation of part of the British colony, up to the arrival of the South African Expeditionary Forces under General J C Smuts, who finally freed BEA of German occupation in March 1916.
This illustrated lecture will show camps, forts and battle sites, which were built to contain the German threat against the Uganda Railway and the port of Mombasa, as they were and as they are today.
Also to be discussed will be: The disastrous seaborne landings and attempted invasion of Tanga by the Indian Expeditionary Forces and the effect it had on the campaign; the skirmish that led to the only VC awarded during the land campaign in BEA; special mention of the British actions against the German sea raider SMS Königsberg (coinciding with the centenary of her destruction in the Rufiji River delta on the 13th July, 1915); the subsequent arrival of the first aircraft to the war zone in BEA, and lastly, the arrival of the South African RFC squadron.
Mr James Willson's years of research culminated in a book of the events described above, appropriately titled Guerrillas of Tsavo: WW1 in British East Africa, August 1914 - March 1916. His book will be on sale at the meeting for R450,00 a copy - offering a discount of R100,00 specially for members on the evening. [RRP is R550,00 per copy.]
THURSDAY, 13 August 2015: MEMOIRS OF A RHODESIAN SAS OPERATOR by Mr Keith Nell
Our speaker is a former Special Air Services (SAS) Operator, and author of the book Viscount Down*, the story of the two Viscount crashes in which 107 passengers and crew were killed in missile attacks on Air Rhodesia Flights RH825 and RH827 in 1978 and 1979 respectively. Although these traumatic events are central to his story, our speaker will, amongst other reminiscences, also relate to the hair-raising account of living alone with a group of 100 mutinous terrorist thugs for six weeks in a secret bush camp, and the struggle to turn them into a highly-disciplined unit of crack undercover assassins needed to break the grip of insurgent terrorist occupation over a large and extremely hostile area surrounding Kariba. His mission included the top-secret hunt lasting almost four months, to track down and eliminate the terrorist group that downed the Viscounts. Of particular military interest is the modern-day focus on "Winning 'Hearts and Minds' in counter-insurgency operations" -which featured prominently in the mission.
The introduction to Mr Nell's personal account of the Rhodesian Bush War will consist of the showing of a DVD (duration 35 min.) that introduces the build-up to the war in Rhodesia and the two Viscount crashes, and following from that, he will also talk about how these disasters changed the history of Southern Africa and in a sense, be viewed as the forerunners of "Strategic attacks on Civilian Aircraft in Flight."
* The book will be on sale at the meeting.
Johan van den Berg
Chairman: SAMHS (Cape Town)
(Tel: 021-9397923; Cell: 082-5790386)