South African Military 
History Society


Newsletter No. 530
November 2021

Contact: Charles Whiteing
Telephone: 031 764 7270
Mobile: 082 555 4689

ON 13TH NOVEMBER 2021 AT 14H30.

The Chairman, welcomed members & guests to the meeting and advised that the raffle will be drawn at the interval. The respective speakers and the topics of their talks were announced.

Fellow committee member Professor Phil Everitt requested that all be upstanding for a minute`s silence in memory of the passing of Barbara Buchan, widow of fellow committee member, the late Dr John Buchan.

The chairman announced a sale of books by the Talana Museum via Pam McFadden.

The chairman announced the Society will be represented by himself in laying a SAMHS cross at the Cenotaph on Sunday 14 November 2021

The DDH speaker fellow member Brian Thomas was invited to deliver his talk titled "My Waterloo Ancestor Stephan Brown who 200 years ago was an 1820 Settler."

This convoluted family tree commenced with his father`s mother, a Gertrude Thomas née Frost, her mother being Elizabeth Frost, in turn the last child of Nathanial Brown; the granddaughter of the 1820 Settler Stephen. He was in turn born in 1771 in Middlesex, an illegitimate son of John Wenman and Susannah Brown. Stephen was twice married, firstly in 1794 to Mary Butler and later to Sarah Hillman in 1807. They had eight children of which five were borne in London, and three near Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. In July 1812, Stephen enlisted in the 7th Hussars serving for about four years. After the Battle of Waterloo in July 1815, its surmised he was granted leave to attend to his pregnant wife. This made him eligible for a campaign medal and although he claimed it, it`s current whereabouts is unknown. It has not been established if he served in the Peninsula campaign. There was a General Service Medal issued for that campaign, but his name was not recorded as a recipient. In October 1819 he applied to the Colonial Secretary to immigrate to the Cape of Good Hope. The family sailed on the Weymouth which arrived in Table Bay on 26 April and subsequently in Algoa Bay on 15 May 1820. It was recorded in the Albany press in October 1822 that Stephen Brown served in the 2nd Division of the Albany Levy which was disbanded in March 1825.

The Frontier Wars were responsible for the death of ninety-one settlers including Stephen and his son William. One of Stephen`s sons Nathaniel married Sarah Ann Saunders in Grahamstown in 1833. He was later granted land outside Berlin to farm named Streetlea Farm. Nathaniel died on Streetlea Farm in 1898 but his wife Sarah died a few months before him, and both are buried in the Kingwilliamstown cemetery.

Elizabeth Brown the nineteenth child from that marriage passed away in East London in 1954 at the age of 93. The was the great grandmother of our speaker Brian Thomas who knew her well.

There was an opportunity for Q & A with the speaker.

During interval, the raffle was conducted with a bottle of red wine as a prize.

The Main Talk, titled "The Battle of Agincourt" was delivered by guest speaker Clyde Simpson. The Chairman delivered a brief CV on the speaker which included his career in engineering and military service spanning some 33 years terminating as Commanding Officer with the rank of Lt. Colonel in December 1995.

Clyde then proceeded to take us back about 606 years to 25 October 1415, to a muddy field located between the small villages of Azincourt and Tramecort about fifty-eight kilometres' south of Calais in France. This was the site where a 28-year-old King Henry V of England led his small army of six thousand men comprising 1000-foot soldiers and 5000 well trained archers. They were exhausted and hungry after their march from Harfleur in pouring rain and the cold. Facing them was the 30,000 strong army of King Charles V1 of France; with a further 8,000 reinforcements en route. Azincourt would be the title of this famous battle. The English with their three small "battles" (formations) of 1000 strong men-at-arms faced overwhelming French numbers comprising two successive 8,000 strong "battles". However, King Henry`s decisive weapon was his English Longbow which in the hands of his skilled archers wreaked havoc initially on the French cavalry, and subsequently the French "battles."

William Shakespeare would later write about Henry V who exhorted his men before the battle as his "Band of Brothers."

This fascinating piece of period on military history supported with excellent Power Point illustrations evoked an active Q&A session by those in attendance.

Committee member Professor Phil Everitt delivered the vote of thanks to both speakers for their detailed well - researched talks.

The Chairman thanked all attendees and advised them of the next meeting at the same venue at 14h30 on Saturday 11 December 2021.

Being the last meeting for the year, there only will be a DDH (curtain raiser) speaker only followed by the traditional "cocktail party" for members and guests.
The speaker will be Col (retd.) Steve Bekker who will deliver another of his humorous anecdotes on his career in the SAAF.
An invitation has been extended by the Society for the Preservation of Militaria to all SAMHS members who wish to attend their year-end meeting which be from 14h00 at NMR on Saturday 27 November 2021 in the form of a "bring & braai."

The Chairman thanked everyone for their attendance, to travel safely and looking forward to seeing them at the December meeting.

Charles Whiteing

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South African Military History Society /