South African Military History Society

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


Past ZOOMeeting - Hosted by Johannesburg

Dr Anne Samson talked about The South African economy at war, 1914-1918 as our July Zoom offering.

At the beginning of the Great War South Africa was not even 5 years old as a Union. Many inter- provincial procedures had not yet even been agreed; the government contributed 8% of economic activity, the mines (mainly gold but also coal) 16% and agriculture 30%. But exports, especially of gold - to the British at a price fixed in 1917 - were very valuable. Imports were curtailed because of the armies' shipping needs and as a result South African industries had to grow to meet consumer demand. While pre-war technical requirements frequently consisted only of servicing and repairing equipment and machinery which had been imported originally, technical abilities grew and this meant that the country was able to undertake more technical work than might have been possible had it not been for the war.

The gold mines endured increasing production costs, which by 1918 led to them asking for an increase in the agreed fixed price; Britain demurred. Coal mining was not 'commandeered' and sales to the USA and even Japan increased. Some other commodities experienced growth despite the war.

Some companies formed - or re-named in the wake of anti-German sentiment following the sinking of the Lusitania e.g. Baumanns to Bakers biscuits - which are still flourishing today. Lindsay Saker supplied vehicles for the invasion of German East Africa - viz Berrange's Trek in the June Military History Journal - which gave motorised transport an improved reputation and no doubt improved sales for the fledgling industry.

The cost of living did however increase and the time saw the birth of trade unions amongst other social development. Dr Samson concluded South Africa was better off at the end of the Great War than at its start.

The recording is on the website as usual as part of the ZOOM library:

* * * * * * *


Johannesburg Branch

Thursday 11th August at 19h30 and then 20h15

Prof Ian van der Waag will tell us about "Crime behind the Wire: traitors, collaborators, stool pigeons".

* * * * * * *

Eastern Cape Branch (SAMHSEC)

Monday 8th August 2022 meeting; 19h30 then 20h15 as usual Martin and Jean Urry are to tell us about The SAAF Heavy Bombers in Italy and the tragic events of the night of 12/13 October 1944 when 6 SAAF Liberator bombers with 48 airmen were lost during a mission in Northern Italy to drop supplies to partisans behind enemy lines. This remains the largest loss of aircraft and men for a single SAAF mission to date.

* * * * * * *

Becoming Zoominati and enjoying Military History Society
meeting and talks from your own home.

Approximately 200 of our members receive announcements of forthcoming meetings and are invited to join the meetings. We wish to encourage more of those who are missing out to become involved. We hold three ZOOMinars a month.

All you need is a computer, OR A CELLPHONE, and a data connection and you can become part of the meetings. You will need to contact the Society to be added to the invite list and then you are all fitted out. You then click on the link in the invitation just before the meeting starts and it will hook you up to join the meetings.

* * * * * * *

ROOM MEETINGS KwaZulu-Natal Branch

Meeting at St Cyprians Church Hall in Umbilo, Durban, Saturday 9th July
from 14h00 for 14h30

Details from Uli Duebi -

* * * * * * *

BOOKS for sale eastern side of Johannesburg

Pierre du Toit is reluctantly selling many of his books which include several Anglo-Boer War publications. If interested please e-mail him at or phone 011 453 5542 or cell 073 335 1741 for a list of what is still available.

* * * * * * *


Let know in order to be sent an invitation to the next ZOOM meeting.

* * * * * * *

June 2022 Military History Journal - Distribution

The June 2022 Journal - Volume 19 No 4 - has been sent out to all paid-up members with the exception of overseas issues which the SA Post Office still does not accept for posting - e.g. the Philippines. A pdf version of the Journal is available to overseas members who have been sent the relevant link.
Please let Joan know if yours has not arrived by the end of August - they were posted on 26 July.

* * * * * * *

AN APPEAL for information
AB war black concentration camp in Bez Valley

A black concentration camp was situated in Bez (Bezuidenhout) Valley, on the farm Doornfontein in the east of Johannesburg, during the Second Anglo-Boer War. The camp was possibly located alongside the Jukskei River, which had a rich source of clean water, Would anyone have any information about this concentration camp? Alkis Doucakis and Mrs Ann Meisel are editing a book on the history of the farm and its two suburbs, "Old" and New Doornfontein. Although 132 manuscripts have been submitted by 84 researchers, as yet no information has been forthcoming on this camp. We would dearly appreciate any leads. Please contact us at

* * * * * * *

Branch contact details

Eastern Cape details contact    Malcolm Kinghorn    041-373-4469

Gauteng details contact    Joan Marsh     010-237-0676

KwaZulu-Natal details contact    Prof Phil Everitt    084-437-1636

Cape Town details contact    Ronnie Glass    083 441 6170

* NOTE* Fast mirror and backup site      BOOKMARK FOR REFERENCE     Main site * NOTE*

South African Military History Society /