South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 482
April 2016

Ken Gillings 031 702 4828
Roy Bowman 031 564 4669

Since our first speaker was our Branch Chairman, the meeting was chaired by our Vice Chairman, Lt Col Dr Graeme Fuller, who opened the meeting with the customary list of events in military history that occurred through the ages during the month of March.

The Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture - presented by Roy Bowman - was entitled "PT Boats at Guadalcanal."

In 1934, Hubert Scott-Paine of British Power Boat Company, later Vospers, in England, designed the first modern torpedo boat. As finally constructed, Scott-Paine's boat was 70 feet long, carried 4 torpedoes, had two machine guns each in two power driven turrets and could do 42 knots. It was light, strong, fast and manoeuvrable.

A PT boat

Such developments in Europe prompted the U.S. Navy to relook at torpedo boats and a design competition was held in 1938. As a result, contracts were signed with several manufacturers to build some experimental boats.

Meanwhile, Henry R. Stuphen (Executive Vice President of the ELECTRIC BOAT COMPANY (ELCO)) persuaded Assistant Secretary of the Navy Charles Edison that the American designs were obsolete in comparison to the Scott-Paine boat. As a result Stapleton was commissioned to go to England and purchase a Scott-Paine boat with an eye to building such boats for the U.S. Navy. Since they did not have a complete set of blueprints for the boat they purchased, ELCO engineers took the boat apart, precisely measuring every part and created a blueprint. In order to evaluate the competing designs, in May 1941 the Navy held a series of trials in the waters around New York, which was unceremoniously dubbed "The Plywood Derby", in reference to the fact that all of the boats competing were made of wood. The ELCO boat was the clear winner, however; the Navy was also impressed by revised designs from Higgins Industries and by a small yacht manufacturer Huckins Yacht Company. Consequently all three were given production contracts.

With 350 boats, ELCO produced the most PT boats for the Navy during World War II. Most of these boats were 80 foot in length but there were 77 foot and 70 foot versions.

Higgins produced approximately 199 boats, using a design by Sparkman and Stephens, the designers of the DUKW, but most of these were used in the European theatre. Huckins only produced 18 boats and none of these saw combat. The ELCO design was the one that was used primarily in the Pacific battles. These boats were 80 foot long and had a beam of 20 feet. They were powered by three 12 cylinder Packard Marine engines that were derived from a World War One aircraft engine design, which developed 1500 HP (1150kW) each, giving a designed speed of 41 knots (76 km/h) with a clean hull. Consequently the boats used highly volatile, 100 octane aviation fuel, which their thirsty engines consumed at a rate of 66 gallons per hour at 23 knots but at a top speed of 41 knots, consumption grew to 166 gallons an hour per engine. With a 3 000 gallon fuel capacity, a patrol could only last six to 12 hours depending on speed.

PT boats upriver

The hulls of the ELCO boats consisted of two layers of 1 inch mahogany planks with a layer of aircraft fabric glued between them, held together by thousands of bronze screws and copper rivets. While there was some protection around the wheel-house and the turrets, enemy machine gun fire could cause splinters to fly and a direct hit from a naval gun or a bomb from an aircraft was usually catastrophic with 3 000gals (11 360 lts) of 100 octane avgas aboard. Relative to their size, the PT boats carried the heaviest armament per weight of any naval vessel. The early boats had four torpedo tubes and two twin 50 cal. machine guns in two turrets. Subsequently a 20mm Oerlikon cannon was added at the stern.

The first use of these craft was in the Guadalcanal campaign from 7th August 1942 and subsequently throughout the Solomon Islands, New Guinea and the Philippines.

The Solomon Islands lie in two roughly parallel lines in the South Pacific. When the Japanese began to build an air base on Guadalcanal (the Easternmost island in the chain), it threatened the lines of communication between the United States and Australia. To remove this threat, the U.S. Marines landed on the island on 7th August 1942 and seized the airfield. After a series of savage land and naval battles the American forces secured the island in February 1943.

In the battle for Guadalcanal, the Japanese made extensive use of self-propelled armed Daihatsu barges and destroyers to bring in reinforcements and re-supply existing troop concentrations during the "Tokyo Express" operations to reinforce the island. Because of their shallow draft, these barges could manoeuvre in the shallow, reef-filled waters surrounding Guadalcanal and neighbouring islands. American destroyers were not able to follow them into these waters, consequently, the job of "barge - busting" in the littorals around the Solomons fell to the Navy's P.T. Boats.

The P.T. boat's Mk 8 torpedoes were ineffective against the Japanese Daihatsu barges. The Japanese barge's had a draft of approximately five feet and the minimum running depth of the American MK 8 torpedo was 10 feet with the result that the P.T. boat's torpedoes would pass beneath the barges. Consequently the firepower of the P.T. Boats had to be increased to deal with the heavily loaded barges. These torpedoes were effective against other surface ships but during some night-time attacks, the P.T. Boats position may have been given away by a flash of light caused by grease inside the black powder actuated Mk 13 torpedo tubes catching fire during the launching sequence. This resulted in the P.T.s retiring under the protection of smoke screens from stern mounted smoke generators.

Whilst the manufacturers back in the U.S. looked for ways of increasing the firepower of these boats, many innovative plans were made in the field. These ranged from fitting 80mm single shot anti-tank guns to the bow to stripping crashed P39 Airacobra aircraft, on Guadalcanal, of their 37mm cannons and attaching these very powerful automatic guns to the boats. Mortars and rockets were also put into service in the attempt to sink the Japanese transports.

Lt. Cmdr. Alan P. Calvert had taken over command of Squadron 3 at Tulagi on Florida Island, on 8th August 1942 with a complement of two boats and immediately set to building a base whilst his boats began reconnaissance missions. His constant problem was to obtain sufficient avgas to feed his very thirsty boats. This was eventually solved when the tender USS Jamestown arrived to provide workshop and supply facilities, together with 13 more boats.

The "Tokyo Express" was now in full swing and the P.T. boat command began to be used more effectively. Patrol schedules were set up and new innovative approaches to attacking Japanese submarines and destroyers in the waters off Guadalcanal were being put into play. Finding that Japanese destroyers could run down and catch P.T. boats on a clear night, a game of cat and mouse was developed. The young P.T. boat officers learned to avoid being silhouetted in open water while avoiding flat water that would show wakes and to attack using diversions, with some boats working as decoys while boats closer to shore rushed in. As the crews changed their tactics, so did the Japanese. The P.T. boats from Tulagi inflicted incremental losses on the "Tokyo Express" and even the knowledge of the "Mosquito Boats" presence was enough to put an end to some of the resupply expeditions to Guadalcanal. On the 7th December 1942 the "Tokyo Express" ran again, with 11 destroyers making the run down the "Slot". They were harassed by the aircraft from Henderson Field and after dark the "devil boats" roared in. The destroyers turned away after this sustained attack with the loss of two of their number.

Admiral Yamamoto began diverting submarines from hunting ships to running the blockade. On the night of 9th December a pair of P.T. boats caught a Japanese submarine on the surface 3 miles off Kamimbo Point, towing a barge full of ammunition, food and medicine. They opened their throttles and rushing in, sank the Japanese submarine I3 with torpedoes. Credit for the kill went to P.T. 59.

Towards the end of January 1943, enemy activity gave the appearance of preparation for another major effort to regain Guadalcanal.

In fact it was an evacuation; the Japanese KE' Operation had begun.

Reconnaissance aircraft and coast-watchers reported, on the afternoon of 1st February, that 20 Japanese destroyers were proceeding down "The Slot" at high speed. Forty one fighters, bombers and torpedo aircraft from Henderson Field attacked the force at dusk, crippling one of the destroyers. Thirty Zero fighters, flying cover for the destroyers, shot down four of the American aircraft but lost three of their own.

After dark the destroyers USS Fletcher, Radford and Nicholas moved up to the Russell Islands to intercept the Japanese fleet but every-time they tried to close Cape Esperance Japanese aircraft attacked them, forcing them to open fire, so showing their position. As soon as the American destroyers opened fire, the planes would leave only to return on the destroyer's next attempt to work in toward Cape Esperance. The Japanese aircraft also dropped flares to mark the track of the three destroyers and robbed them of the element of surprise.

The light minelayers U.S.S. Preble, Montgomery and Tracy arrived in Iron Bottom Sound early in the evening and dropped their mines from Doma Reef to halfway to Cape Esperance, the earliest offensive minefields laid by American surface craft in the Pacific.

The following quote is taken from the action report of Squadron 3, based at Tulagi, for the night of 1st/2nd February 1943, the height of Operation KE', the evacuation by the Japanese of Guadalcanal: "All eleven available P.T Boats were deployed in the Savo/Cape Esperance area to meet the enemy".

On the way to their patrol area at sundown, Claggett (111) and Gamble (48) were ineffectively strafed and bombed by a Betty bomber. Forty minutes after arriving on station the crew of 111 sighted 2 Japanese destroyers, 2 miles west of Savo. The two P.T.s fired at the two destroyers. Both missed astern! Gamble (48) took more lead and fired his forward torpedoes. The crew had only a few seconds to watch the progress of their missiles, before heavy fire from both destroyers forced them to retire behind their own smokescreen. Then a heavy rain of fire from another ship forced them to turn toward Savo to avoid being trapped, where the skipper nosed 48 onto the beach and ordered the crew to abandon ship, expecting the enemy to pick up his boat in their searchlights and destroy it, but the Japanese failed to discover her and the crew pulled her off the beach, returning to base in the morning.

The captain of 111 (Lt Claggett) approached with his boat to within 500 yards of his target and fired all four of his boat's torpedoes, but the crew also had no chance of observing the results because of the extremely high volume of fire directed at them. Thirteen minutes after firing its first torpedo P.T. 111 was hit by shellfire and burst into flames. Claggett was severely burnt about his face and arms but still managed to get over the side of his burning boat. Once in the water, unable to swim because of his burns, he was supported by two of his crew until they were rescued by another P.T. boat. One of the gunners, R.J. Wackler, suffered compound fractures of both legs. He was assisted by two of his fellow crew members Eris White and Lamar Loggins, who stayed with him, fighting off sharks, for 2 1/2 hours before he died. ExceP.T. for Wackler and the Exec officer, Lt. Shribman (who was missing), all of the crew of 111 were rescued.

Lieutenant Jack Searle's P.T.59, Lt. Connolly's P.T.115 and Ensign Kelly's P.T.37 were bombed and strafed, without damage, by enemy aircraft as they passed through the Savo-Cape Esperance channel. An hour later they found themselves completely trapped by destroyers on three sides and the enemy occupied Guadalcanal coast on the other. They counted as many as 12 destroyers circling them.

Connolly, in P.T.115, closed to within 500 yards of one destroyer, fired two torpedoes and reversed course. He thought both hit as he saw the ship slow abruptly and start to list. Suddenly out of the dark another ship loomed ahead. He fired two more torpedoes and reversed course again. Shell-fire now seemed to be coming from all directions so he cut his speed and as the destroyers lost his wake their fire became increasingly inaccurate. A sudden intense rain squall gave Connolly a chance to slip 115 through the cordon of destroyers. He beached his boat on the western shore of Savo Island and at dawn they backed off and returned to base. During the same squall Lt. Jack Searles also escaped the trap and hid on the Northern shore of Savo until dawn.

Ensign Kelly, the skipper of P.T.37, fired four torpedoes but in retiring P.T.37 received a direct hit in the fuel tanks. The brilliant, blinding flash lit up the entire sky in the vicinity of Cape Esperance. There was only one survivor. Lieutenants Faulkner and Richards on P.T.s 124 and 123 respectively were bombed and strafed by enemy aircraft, whilst proceeding to the patrol area, but received no damage.

Soon after arriving on station, the crew of P.T.124 sighted a destroyer coming through the Savo/Esperance channel and closing to 1000 yards, fired three torpedoes. Two hits were registered, sending up a large column of fire. The destroyer burst into flames and burned for more than 3 hours. Lieutenant Richards in P.T.123 followed P.T.124 and was about to fire three torpedoes at a second enemy ship when an enemy aircraft glided in over them and dropped a bomb squarely on the stern of P.T.123. Flames immediately swept the boat and the crew abandoned ship. Enemy aircraft bombed and strafed the men in the water killing one and wounding three.

The two remaining strike groups of P.Ts fired no torpedoes and at dawn assisted in the rescue of the survivors of the night action. Three Daihatsu barges, which appeared to be hurriedly abandoned by their occupants as they contained Japanese rifles, knapsacks and personal effects, were recovered by the crew of P.T.39.

P.T. boat at speed

Of the 11 P.T.s that went out to meet the enemy, 5 had fired 19 torpedoes and 3 P.T. boats had been lost. Six men were killed, 3 officers and 6 men were missing and 1 officer and 5 men were seriously injured. The P.T.s claimed to have sunk 2 destroyers and damaged two others. There was only one confirmed sinking, that of IJNS Makigumo and the cause of her sinking was not entirely due to the P.T.s. Captured documents indicated that the destroyer, whilst manoeuvring to avoid the P.T. boat torpedoes, struck one of the newly laid mines off of the Guadalcanal coast and the Japanese sank the damaged destroyer after futile efforts to tow it to safety.

This was the most violent action the P.T. boats had at Guadalcanal and it was to be their last, as on the night of 7/8th February 1943, exactly 6 months after the Marines first landed, the Japanese completed their evacuation. Guadalcanal, steppingstone for all of the Solomons, belonged to the Allies.

"Mosquito Boats" went on to develop a reputation during the Second World War with their continued harassment of Japanese shipping and bombardment of shore installations. This reputation became so big that one captured Japanese soldier's diary described their fear of the "Devil Boats" by describing them as "The Monster that roars, flaps its wings and shoots torpedoes in all directions".

The main talk was presented by fellow member Robin Smith, who is no stranger to several branches of the Society. Entitled "General C R de Wet at Bothaville", the story of the clash with Christiaan de Wet and his commandos at Doornkraal, south of Bothaville begins with his escape from the Brandwater Basin in July 1900. Boer forces had been pushed south from Bethlehem into this area, surrounded by mountains, where they were supposed to be safe from Major-General Archibald Hunter's force advancing from the north. De Wet realized that they could be trapped if the British closed the passes and headed to Slabbert's Nek in the west making for Renosterkloof, a farm near Vredefort in the north of the Free State. There he holed up for nearly two weeks while a number of British columns surrounded his hiding place.

de Wet

Lord Roberts sent Kitchener to take command but de Wet managed to evade all his pursuers and cross the Vaal River at Schoeman's Drift on 6th August. Keeping to the bank of the river he headed through van Vuuren's Kloof and made as if he was heading north. The nearest column was that commanded by Lieutenant-General Lord Methuen who realized that only his mounted men had any chance catching the fast-moving Boers. De Wet met with General Piet Liebenberg, the Western Transvaler, at Syferbult which enabled Methuen to close the gap.

De Wet turned north again and the 78th Battery Royal Artillery managed to get close enough to open fire on his rearguard. Four British Lieutenants, captured in the course of de Wet's advance through the Free State, were released and had information for Methuen about the make-up of de Wet's fleeing Boers. Major-General Ian Hamilton with a large column of cavalry, mounted infantry, infantry and artillery had been given orders to march west from Commando Nek so as to intersect with de Wet. However, his large column was unwieldy and slow-moving and he failed to block de Wet from crossing the Magaliesberg and entering the bushveld to the north. Most of de Wet's men went further north so as to rest their exhausted horses and make their own way back to the Free State.

De Wet and the Free State President, Marthinus Steyn headed eastwards, Steyn to make his way around the north of Pretoria to Machadodorp for a meeting with Transvaal President Paul Kruger, then living in a railway carriage on the station at Machadodorp. By the time of Steyn's arrival, Kruger was at Nelspruit making ready to leave to board the Dutch cruiser Gelderland, sent to fetch him by the 18-year old Dutch Queen Wilhelmina. Steyn made fiery patriotic speeches to the demoralized Transvaal commandos and followed them on their trek to Pietersburg where the Vierkleur still flew over government buildings.

Meanwhile De Wet was trying to make his way back to the Free State and was hemmed in against the Magaliesberg by numbers of British columns. All the passes were guarded but de Wet managed to find a way where, he was told, only baboons can cross. He and 246 men managed to get over into the Hekpoort Valley on 19th August 1900. He was soon back in Renosterpoort and organizing for the Free Staters to come back on commando, ignoring the oath of allegiance offered by Lord Roberts that many of them had signed.

He visited Potchefstroom, not then occupied by the British, and approved of their citizen's efforts to refurbish rifles rescued from the bonfire that the British had made of their confiscated weaponry in May 1900 on their way to occupy Pretoria. Some larger guns were taken from their hiding places and de Wet headed back to the Free State. Piet Liebenberg asked for de Wet's help in an attack on Major-General Jeffrey Barton's British force at Frederikstad. De Wet said that Frederikstad was "a miserable affair altogether" and was forced to retreat back to the Free State.

The British now knew his whereabouts and guarded all the drifts over the Vaal River. Colonel William Knox was in command of an all-mounted force assembled at Vredefort. Knox moved in to Potchefstroom and learned that de Wet was not far away. Lieutenant-Colonel Philip le Gallais had been left at Tygerfontein to guard against de Wet crossing at Schoeman's Drift. He was thus forced to turn back to the east and made for van Vuuren's Kloof leading to Rensburg's Drift, a difficult crossing place where the Vaal splits up into a number of streams and small islands. Knox sent Lieutenant-Colonel Henry de Lisle and the 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles in pursuit and they came upon de Wet's men as they crossed over into the Free State at about 4 p.m. The Australians crossed the river and chased the disordered Boers eastwards towards Parys with Le Gallais coming up from the south. He had crossed the Vaal further downstream at Venterskroon, thus preventing de Wet from making for Vredefort. A shell from a pom-pom machine gun hit a Boer wagon carrying ammunition which exploded and obliterated the wagon. The Australians reported discovering various body parts and Sergeant Jackson of the 7th Mounted Infantry said he "came upon a head and shoulders just like a bust in marble - quite complete except that the hair was singed off." In the darkness and pouring rain the tracks of the Boers were lost and the British camped for the night at Groote Eiland, outside Parys.

De Wet left his men to go to the Transvaal to meet Steyn, returning from his visit with Kruger and ordered the commando to move towards Bothaville under Commandant C.C. Froneman. De Wet and Steyn rejoined the commando on 5th November. The Boer tracks were lost and so Knox decided to make use of the main railway line to spread out his force and sweep westwards. The Colonial Division was sent north to the Vaal on some false intelligence, but le Gallais from Honingspruit and de Lisle Koppies from Koppies moved westwards. Le Gallais's advance guard reported finding the tracks of a force with some guns a few kilometres from Bothaville and came under fire from Boer guns on the other side of the Valsch River. By now it was dark and le Gallais ordered a long march arriving in Bothaville well after dark. De Lisle was 15kms to the north and resolved to join le Gallais the next morning. On the morning of 6th November le Gallais's men were on the move before dawn, in spite of their long march and late night arrival in Bothaville. Major Kenneth Lean led the 5th Mounted infantry forward with the 8th M.I. on his left and the 7th M.I. to his right. His men came across a Boer picket of five men who were all asleep and were captured without a shot being fired. Making sure that the guns of 'U' Battery Royal Horse Artillery were closed up, Lean's 67 men galloped forward and soon saw the Boer laager drawn up around a farmhouse and a small dam. From a low ridge they opened rapid magazine fire on the sleeping encampment.

The Boers were taken completely by surprise as the rifle fire and the shrapnel from one of 'U' Battery's guns caused pandemonium in the laager. Most of the 800 Boers ran for their horses, some getting saddled and some riding barebacked. President Steyn's horse was already saddled and tied to a wagon but de Wet needed to saddle his horse. De Wet was surprised that his men were galloping past him and said they seemed to have been seized by a panic, hardly surprising with de Wet himself being one of those leaving in a hurry. About 130 Boers, unable to get to their horses or otherwise determined to resist the attacking British soldiers, took shelter in a stone-walled garden. Their fire power exceeded that of the British until reinforcements arrived - Yeomanry, some more guns, the 1st New South Wales Mounted Rifles and the 1st Western Australians.


Le Gallais was soon on the scene and he and his staff made their headquarters in the farmhouse. The west-facing windows allowed them a good view of the Boer defences but put them in clear sight of the Boers. Le Gallais and a number of others were killed in a fusillade of shots and it became a Tommy's battle for a while as so many officers had become casualties. British numbers were gradually increasing as more and more soldiers arrived from de Lisle's column which had camped 15 kilometres away the previous night. After fighting for more than four hours, de Lisle now in firm command and a Boer counter-attack beaten off, a bayonet charge was ordered. The brave Boers in the garden put up the white flag. Abandoned by their commanders and their colleagues, they had fought bravely although surely knowing that there could be only one outcome.

The British lost 38 killed and wounded, of whom 10 were officers, but Boer losses were much higher. Seventeen Boers were killed and seventeen wounded prisoners were taken as well as 97 unwounded. All of the Boer artillery was captured and the loss of material was serious, large quantities of stores and wagons as well as ammunition for the guns and small arms were lost. De Wet said the loss of the guns was trifling as their ammunition was nearly exhausted but this was the real start of guerrilla warfare. At this stage even de Wet seems not to have realized that big guns would henceforth be of little value to the Boers.


The Boers had been routed by a handful of mounted infantry and had lost their guns and stores but de Wet and Steyn had escaped and de Wet was loose again somewhere in the vast plains of the Free State. Barely a month later de Wet was once again at the head of a well-mounted force of 1,500 men who captured the town of Dewetsdorp and invaded the Cape Colony. Had Steyn and de Wet been captured at Bothaville it is probable that the war would have then ended. Instead it was another 18 months before a peace treaty was signed at Melrose House in Pretoria. One of the Boer 75mm Krupp guns may be seen in King's Park, Perth in Australia.

The thanks of the meeting for two superbly presented lectures were conveyed appropriately by Ken Gillings.

Thursday 14th April 2016:
Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture:
"From mirror shined boots to the spirit of the bayonet" by John Goodrich
Main Talk: "Iron Fist from the Sea" by Lt Col Douw Steyn

Future Meetings:
Thursday 12th May 2016:
Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture:
"The Historiography of World War 1" by Dr Mark Coghlan
Main Talk: "Three Scouts of the Anglo-Boer War and their exploits" by Alan Townsend

Thursday 9th June 2016:
Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture:
"The Emden" by Rob Crawley
Main Talk: "General CCJ Badenhorst in the Western Free State during the Guerrilla phase of the Anglo-Boer War" by Dr Arnold van Dyk

Thursday 14th July 2016:
Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture:
"The Last Man to Leave Delville Wood" by Brian Thomas
Main Talk: "The Battles of Tassafarongo and Rennell Island, Guadalcanal" by Roy Bowman

2016 Subscription. This coming year the Society is going to have differential rates for the subscriptions viz:
R235.00 - for single rates.
R250.00 - for family members at the same address.
R117.50 - for 80yrs to 89yrs (half price)
Free for those over 90 yrs.


Members are asked to indicate their preferences for the Branch's 2016 Battlefield Tour but e-mailing the Scribe, Ken Gillings on


We are short of speakers for 2017 and are appealing to members to share the fruits of their research with fellow members. The Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture is 20 minutes duration and the Main Talk 40 to 60 minutes. Please contact the Ken Gillings on if you'd like to present a paper or simply give us a talk on your favourite military history topic.


Please remember that the Branch has donated several books on military history to the Bergtheil Museum in Queen's Avenue, Westville. Our library is being regularly used by researchers, from schoolchildren to senior citizens. Use of the library is free and the Museum itself (which is situated in Jonas Bergtheil's original house) is a fine display of early occupation by Zulu, Indian and German settlers. Jonas Bergtheil brought out numerous German settlers to what was then Natal in 1848 and these industrious workers planted cotton on what they named Wandsbeck, after their home of origin. "Wandsbek" [sic] is the second-largest of seven boroughs that make up the city of Hamburg, Germany. The cotton project failed due to infestation of red mite, and most of the settlers crossed the Palmiet River and established a new settlement which they named New Germany.


The SA Military History Society was approached to comment on a proposal to erect a water reservoir on the Free State Commandos' positions during the Battle of Vaalkrans (5th to 7th February 1900). We opposed the plan and put forward some possible alternatives. At a highly successful meeting that was held in Hilton on the 9th December 2015, attended by Branch Chairman Roy Bowman and Committee Member Ken Gillings, a compromise was reached and it has become a win-win situation for everyone. The reservoir will be constructed underground behind the Boer trenches and it will now include a viewing platform with a diorama of the Battlefield.


Members are reminded that the Branch AGM will be held prior to the Darrell Hall Memorial Lecture at the meeting on the 14th April 2016. Please send your nominations or your offer to serve on the Committee to Ken Gillings via e-mail to
The present committee comprised the following members:
Roy Bowman (Chairman)
Lt Col Dr Graeme Fuller (Vice Chairman)
Don Porter (Honorary Treasurer)
Maj Dr John Buchan
Dr John Cooke
Prof Philip Everitt
Ken Gillings
Maj Gen Chris le Roux
Charles Whiteing.



The South African Military History Society and Talana Museum will be facilitating and hosting a Conference to coincide with the centenary of the Battle of Delville Wood. The Conference theme will be "South Africa Remembers" and it will take place at Talana Museum on the 18th and 19th July 2016. A flyer is attached, and members are encouraged to contact either Ken Gillings via e-mail on or Ms Pam McFadden on

South African Military History Society /