South African Military History Society

Tel (+27)(0)10-237-0675 Fax (+27)(0)86-617-8002


Past ZOOMeetings

"No Grave but the Sea" by Charles Ross.

This Zoom lecture, hosted by Johannesburg Branch, was given from his home in Pretoria on 16 January 2021.

Charles Ross first spoke to the Johannesburg branch of the Society in 2012 in his then capacity of Secretary of the South African Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. This ZOOMeeting allowed him to show photographs of many of the memorials erected in many countries to honour the victims of war on the high seas.

Memorials that were detailed were Thiepval, Menin Gate, Chatham Naval, Plymouth Naval, Portsmouth Naval, Bombay (Mumbai), Chittagong, Bombay 1939-45, Halifax, Victoria, New Zealand Naval, Tower Hill, Liverpool Naval, Lee-on-Solent, Lowestoft, Runnymede - the Air Force Memorial, Malta, Hollybrook, Brookwood, Maseru, Attridgeville, Avalon, El Alamein, and Seaforth.

Perhaps the best known South African loss was that of the SS Mendi where over 700 men of the Native Labour Corps lost their lives (Atteridgeville and Avalon cemeteries). Then there was the SS Nova Scotia carrying over 700 Italian PoWs from Italian East Africa to SA, which was torpedoed off the coast of KZN with many casualties.

Post Script - Charles e-mailed this answer because the ZOOM session was abruptly truncated during question time:
A large number of Troopships were lost during both wars with the loss of a large number of lives.
Here are some:

Both parts of Charles' presentation are accessible from the ZOOM library on the Society's web- site.

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ZOOMeetings and ROOMeetings

The four venues which used to host our monthly lectures - ROOMeetings - have as yet been unable to accommodate the Society due to Covid-19 restrictions. The dates for the Ditsong Museum auditorium have been provisionally reserved for 2021 but there is no indication as to when this might start.

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SAMHSEC - Eastern Cape Branch's next ZOOMeeting
will be at 1930 on 8th February 2021

Speaker: Mac Alexander
Subject: The Siege of the Alc´zar during the Spanish Civil War.

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SAMHSEC's next Request the Pleasure of your Company
will be at 19h30 on 22nd February 2021

The first session topic is tbc while in the second session Jaco Pretorius is to review the book Anglo-Boer War Blockhouses a Military Engineer's Perspective by Simon C Green

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Johannesburg's next ZOOMeeting
will be at 1930 on 18th February 2021 (Third Thursday)

Speaker: John Myburgh
Subject: Why is there a statue of Jan Christiaan Smuts in Parliament Square near the Houses of Parliament in Central London?'

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Details of the ZOOM lectures will be sent to all on the master list as usual. There are currently 159ZOOMINATI from all over the world on this list

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Just let know in order to be sent an invitation.

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Members with an interesting presentation on any aspect of military history are sought for ZOOMEETINGS. A nominal 30 minute lecture supported by Power Point or similar slides, but not video, is required.

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The nominal December 2020 Military History Journal is under construction.

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Subscriptions for 2021 will remain as R265 for single and R285 for family memberships. Thank you to the many members who have already renewed for 2021.

There are 3 deposits which cannot be allocated because there is no name identified on the bank statement - Payments were on 5 January (SAMHS), 13 January (SA Mil Hist Soc) and 27 January (Yearly sub). Please check if you might have been one of those willing people ...

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Restored Harley-Davidson

jared smith e-mailed as follows:
"I'm bringing a 100% correct original 1942 10/12 to the market. I have its full extensive history and restoration information. This is a Museum quality vehicle. I'm wondering if you know of any collectors that might be interested? It's located in the United States."

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The Second Watercourse History Festival in Plettenberg Bay is scheduled to take place on Thursday 25th and Friday 26th February 2021

If you are interested in this festival please Whatsap Mike Kantey at 072 628 5131. He is also the contact person for booking - limitations on audience size at the venue indicate it would be an idea to contact him soon. Sessions cost R150 apiece and Thursday's speakers include

Friday's talks are:

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Branch contact details


Cape Town details contact Carl Burger 082 333 2706

Eastern Cape details contact Malcolm Kinghorn 041-373-4469

Gauteng details contact Joan Marsh 010-237-0676

KwaZulu-Natal details contact Roy Bowman 031-564-4669

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