South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 504
February 2018

Roy Bowman
Land-line; 031 564 4669
Mobile; 084-951 2921


The Chairman, Roy Bowman, welcomed all members back from their seasonal break and hoped that all were well and looking forward to an interesting year of lectures and visits to places of interest. After the usual admin matters the Chairman announced that there was a need for the meeting to decide on the venue for the 2018 KEN GILLINGS MEMORIAL TOUR and after some discussion, the tour was pinned down to the Spioenkop Battlefield. The date is to be announced in March, once our tour guide, Maj. Gen Chris le Roux, has finalised his work calendar for 2018.
The large number of visitors was acknowledged by the Chairman and he expressed the hope that they would become members and enjoy our monthly meetings and the extremely interesting subjects that the speakers deliver in their lectures.
The first speaker for the year, fellow member Robert Suberg was called upon to deliver the DDH and his subject was "The SAP Cap Badge".

In the late 1980s, Colonel Fletcher of Radio Headquarters Pretoria held a parade inspection at my unit. This means that all State property and books were inspected. During our conversation, I told him that I was starting to collect South African Police Cap badges.
He informed me that when he attended meetings at Army Headquarters, they said that there was something wrong with the police cap badge. He did not ask what was wrong as he was not interested.
Now for a bit of history.

On 31 May 1910, The colony of the Cape of Good Hope, The colony of Natal, the Boer republics of the Transvaal and Orange Free State were amalgamated to form the Union of South Africa under British dominion.
There were different Police Forces in South Africa throughout each of the Colonies.
The different Provinces had their own Police Force as well as Town and Borough, which were not co-ordinated together: each of the colonies having their own laws, bylaws and regulations.
In Natal we had the Natal Police, The Borough Police of Pietermaritzburg, Ladysmith, Newcastle and Durban.
The Durban Borough Police retained their own identity and became the longest serving police force in the country, being established in 1854. The force has undergone several name changes i.e. the Borough Police, City Police in 1936 and finally the Metro Police in 1994.
The Union government decided to have one National Police Force serving all four provinces. On 1 April 1913, the South African Police was formed under the command of Sir Theodore G Truter.

From 1910 to 1926
The South African Police Cap Badge was a seven pointed star with the Tudor Crown on top with a Circle inside, with a legend South African Police in English and Zuid Afrikaanse Politie in Dutch on the bottom half. In the centre of the badge was a circle in which was placed the Union Coat of Arms.

This was up to about 1926 when it was changed to Suid Afrikaanse Poliesie with the same English title. The English wording is on the top half and the Afrikaans at the bottom.
In the centre of the badge was a circle in which the Union Coat of Arms was placed.

In 1932, the word Poliesie was changed to Suid Afrikaanse Polisie.
The English wording is on the top half and the Afrikaans at the bottom.
In the centre of the badge was a circle in which the Union Coat of Arms was placed.
During 1957, the crown was removed and replaced with an eight pointed star.
On 31 May 1960, the country became a Republic and the crown on the cap badge was removed as it can only be used with the British Monarch's permission. Also, the Republic of South Africa took itself out of the British Commonwealth on 31st May 1961, which probably also caused the crown to be removed.
The Cap badge was changed to Afrikaans lettering on the top and English at the bottom.

When I joined the South African Police and was attested on 25 Jan 1967, the Police cap badge was solid for non-commissioned officers and had to be polished with brasso. The Commissioned Officers wore a Voided and Gilded cap badge
During 1976, this was changed when all Cap Badges were issued with voided centres and were gilded.
The senior officers of Major and upwards had a gilded and enamel cap badge with the South African coat of arms on the outside of the ring.
The South African Police Gilt and Enamel Badge

After nine months of buying books and doing research, I found out what the Army was speaking about.

I bought a book "National and Provincial Symbols and Flora and Emblems of the Republic of South Africa where I found the answer I was looking for.
So is the South African Police Cap Badge Correct?
Only part of the cap badge is correct.
The coat-of-arms in the middle of the badge is correct. It is the 1910 Badge of Union.
The problem is with the heraldry side of the cap badge.**
When studying the coat-of-arms , in the middle of the badge, it was discovered that the Springbok and the Gemsbok had their tails down *instead of the tails being straight up or curved upwards .This states, if the tails are between the legs is called "cowed or coward ."*
In heraldry terms, this means that the South African Police have been "cowards" since 1913until 1994, before they changed their name to "The South African Police Service".

After a very lively question and answer session, the Chairman declared a comfort break before the main talk of the evening.

The Main Talk was delivered by guest speaker Peter Williams whose subject was "ISIS - the beginning of the end?".

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as ISIS or IS and the Arabic acronym of Daesh is a Jihadi terrorist organisation formerly unrecognized proto-state that follows a fundamentalist Wahabi and heterodox doctrine of Sunni Islam. ISIL gained global prominence in 2014 when it drove Iraqi government forces out of key cities in its Western Iraqi offensive followed by its capture of Mosul and the Sinjar massacre and declared itself a worldwide caliphate.
This group has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations and many individual countries. ISIL is widely known for its video's of beheadings and other types of executions of both soldiers and civilians and its destruction of cultural heritage sites such as the ancient city and world heritage site Palmyra.
Its adoption of the name "Islamic State" and its idea of a caliphate have been widely criticised with various governments and mainstream Muslim groups rejecting its statehood. ISIL is believed to be operational in 18 countries across the world.

In July 2017 the group lost control of its largest city, Mosul, to the Iraqi army. Following this major defeat, ISIL continued to lose territory to various states and other military forces allied against it, until it controlled no meaningful territory by November 2017. On 10th December 2017, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al Abadi said that Iraqi forces had driven the last remnants of Islamic State from the country three years after the militant group captured roughly a third of Iraq's territory.

Allied forces continue to target the leaders of ISIL but like a Hydra there is always another leader ready to take over. ISIL is headed by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, Before their deaths he had two deputy leaders Abu Muslim al Turmani for Iraq and Abu Ali al Anbari for Syria. The late head of intelligence was Samir Abid al Khlifawi, a former colonel with the Iraqi Intelligence Service. He was responsible for the strategic planning of all their operations. In 2016 media reports suggested that ISIL had a multi-level secret service established in 2014 that has become an internal police force and an external directorate complete with regional branches. The unit was under the overall command of ISIL's senior Syrian operative and propaganda chief Abu Mohammed al Adhani until he was also killed by an allied air strike.
ISIL relies on captured weapons, mostly from their victories over Iraqi and Syrian forces. They use truck and car bomb suicide bombs and IED's as well as chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria. They are known to have captured nuclear materials in July 2014but it is highly unlikely that they would be able to convert the material into weapons. They also use drones for surveillance and aerial attacks with the drones delivering bombs and grenades.

They direct propaganda to women although not to take up arms but to do admin and nursing duties and become Jihad wives. Their propaganda wing runs TV and radio stations which targets young Muslims from such counties as England and France, promising much wealth and security in the imagined new Muslim world.
ISIL's five primary sources of revenue are

They produce balance sheets that make large commercial organisations look like amateurs! They also produce their own currency in the form of gold and silver coinage.

Since 2015 ISIL lost territory in Syria and Iraq and are backpedalling in Libya, due to the allied military victories but there is still the spectre of the possibility of terrorist attacks against Western powers, which will definitely destabilise the Western democracies more than the long static wars in the Middle East where the Western nations had thousands of troops tied up fighting this ideological organisation.

At this stage there is no sign of an end only the hope that this is the BEGINNING OF THE END?

Once again there were many questions which were eloquently answered by our guest.

The Vote of Thanks was delivered by Professor Philip Everett.

Roy Bowman thanked both speakers for their time and diligence and announced the two presentations for the next meeting on 8th February 2018.
The DDH will be presented by Mark Coghlan and is a follow up to the presentation in 2017 on the Moscow Tram Stop entitled " Moscow Tram Stop, learning (or not)from History"
We have been fortunate to lure Peter Williams for a second time within two months and he has kindly offered to tell us about"32 Battalion - my formative years".

The chairman then thanked all attendees and wished them a safe journey home

Roy Bowman

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South African Military History Society /