We were treated to a most entertaining discourse by Bishop Reginald Cawcutt at our March evening, it was just a pity that the number of listeners was relatively small. The speaker first sketched his personal background which was rather unusual in that he is 6ft 3in. tall while his father as jockey and horse trainer, as well as his jockey cousin, were small in stature. His mother was from Austrian stock, born on Robben Island, but our speaker was born in Rugby as one in a family of eleven children at a time when wives and mothers were still caring for their families and did not go out to work. After matriculating in Cape Town, he moved to Pretoria where he studied for the priesthood, was ordained as a priest in 1962 aged 23, and was then appointed as Auxiliary Bishop of Cape Town in 1992. But before that Cardinal Owen McCann placed him as a chaplain to the deaf community in which he served for six years, and from there moved to the Army and AATC at Youngsfield to gain valuable experience which would stand him in good stead later in his career. Many are the voices who fondly remember this shepherd doing his service, not in any highbrow manner but in a warm-hearted style that endeared him to the soldiers as well as the sailors in Simon's Town where he served as Naval Chaplan from 1967.
But he not only ministered to all those, he also took care of the sick in No. 2 Military Hospital and the youngsters serving with the Army who did not have their own Chaplain. When his superiors decided to use his many skills acquired in Army and Navy he was promoted to Auxiliary Bishop to Archbishop Naidoo of Cape Town and became Vicar General of the Arch-Diocese and lived and worked in Lavistown, Woodstock and District Six for a number of years. In 1992 he was made Bishop of Egabra, a town in Spain, and also visited Madrid. He was flown to the Vatican to be appointed by the Pope and was then consecrated as Bishop in Cape Town. The ceremony took place in the Good Hope Centre and the Church flew down a retinue of catholic dignitaries from all over the country to be present. Having worked with the armed forces for so many years, Archbishop Naidoo then wanted to use the profound people skills of Bishop Cawcutt and entrusted him with a mountain of administrative work, among which organizing the visit of Mother Theresa was the most taxing. He also set up an organization to care for AIDS sufferers and involved himself with a number of religious projects. He retired as Auxiliary Bishop in 2002 and is now serving as Parish Priest of St.Patrick's, Mowbray.
We all enjoyed Bishop Cawcutt's presentation tremendously, his many telling and amusing anecdotes were delivered with the wit and understatement of an expert in handling people while never losing sight of his mission and purpose to help those in need, either materially or spiritually.
CHAIRMAN'S REPORT FOR THE YEAR 2005
The Branch fared during the 2005/2006 year much as it has during the last few years. Our numbers have been consistent, our finances sound and our talks most interesting, captivating and greatly appreciated. The Committee can confidently invite people with absorbing narratives to render because it knows there will be sufficient people present who will enjoy and appreciate the talks they give.
These talks have ranged from Napoleonic times to the present during the past year and there is a programme for this year which promises to be as enticing as last.
I am most grateful to my fellow Committee members for the unstinting enthusiasm and the efforts they make for the Society.
One of the highlights of the year was the visit to the area and site of the Battle of Blaauwberg, organized and conducted by Tony Gordon. Those who took part are greatly indebted to him.
HERITAGE WESTERN CAPE
We received a most interesting letter from Dr. Antonieta Jerardino, Senior Heritage Officer Archaeologist of Heritage Western Cape (HWC). She would like to find out more about the Radar Station at Baboon Point, Elands Bay, 250 km north of Cape Town. The HWC is investigating the possibility of formally protecting four erven that make up Baboon Point. The main radar station building is situated about 40 m to the north, slightly below the Elands Bay cave site which was excavated several years ago, yielding fossil remains. Other related structures are: a building that used to house the generator serving the Radar Station, and the barracks (3 buildings, one illegally demolished a few years ago). Dr. Jerardino would like to know the role that such Radar Station played in the network of stations in SA during WW II, how many manned it, its power and main objectives for its existence, when it was built, whether any military and/or political figures visited it, and when it was de-commissioned. She adds that it is important for all significant heritage sites to be identified and evaluated, in order that the research may later be translated into a document which will be submitted to the Council of Heritage, Western Cape, to motivate protection of the whole area of Baboon Point. Parts of this document already exist, i.e. archaeological and palaeontological research, but they lack good information regarding the Radar Station.
The Scribe suggested to Dr. Jerardino that she contact fellow member and ex-member of the SSS organization, Geoffrey Mangin, to obtain the information required. He has replied to her already in great detail, and we are waiting to see what will happen. If any fellow member is in a position to comment, we suggest he submits this to Dr. Jerardino. Her e-mail is: Agerardi@pgwc.gov.za
A further enquiry was received from Mr. Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu (Senior Research Officer - Archaeologist) from the same department, enquiring about the George Air School during World War Two. He is most interested in all technical details, among them underground cables and communications.
We suggest that members who know about the school or know of former pilots and ground staff stationed there during that time and are able to assist contact Mr. Ndlovu at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PROPOSED COAST DEFENCE TOUR - 15TH MAY 2006
Major Tony Gordon and Commander Mac Bissett have kindly offered to conduct a Tour on Saturday, 15th May, from Woodstock (meet 09:00) "French Lines", Treaty Tree, then to Lion and Apostle Batteries, and via the East Fort in Hout Bay to Simon's Town.
Anyone interested may find out more from either Tony or Mac or the Scribe, but may also ask them at the next Society Evening on the 13th instant. Our Chairman will co-ordinate bookings, so if you would like to come along, please contact him.
1. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING - PLEASE ATTEND
2. RAF BOMBERS OVER GERMANY IN WW II
A study of military Operations in order to present the big picture of the night bombing raids of the RAF.
An illustrated Talk by Brigadier-General R.S. "Dick" Lord
THE US MARINE CORPS
Organization and history, concentrating on WW II, Vietnam and Iraq.
An illustrated Talk by Sgt. Richard Dollar, USMC Deputy Detachment Commander, Cape Town
THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME - JULY 1916
In the footsteps of the South African Brigade 90 years on.
An illustrated Talk by Johan van den Berg
THE LIFE AND CAREER OF MAJOR-GENERAL DAN PIENAAR
A detailed illustrated Talk by Simon Norton
THREAT PERCEPTIONS AND STRATEGIES DURING THE 1960s
and the SADF's Assessments and Responses
An illustrated Talk by Rodney C. Warwick, MA BA(Hons) HDE (UCT)
AN UPDATE ON THE MILITARY/POLITICAL SITUATION ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
Speaker: Major Helmoed Roemer Heitman
THE FINAL BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN IN OCTOBER 1942
A Talk on the South African involvement
Speaker: Colonel Lionel Crook
TRAGEDY AT KUFRA
An illustrated Talk by Francois de Wet
on the disappearance of three SAAF Blenheims in North Africa in 1942 in which his uncle, Major de Wet, was lost
Society Meetings are normally held on the 2nd Thursday of every month, at 20h00 in the Recreation Room of the SA LEGION'S ROSEDALE COMPLEX, Lower Nursery Road (off Liesbeek Parkway/Alma Road ), opposite Rosebank Railway Station. Secure parking inside the premises. All Visitors welcome. Tea and Biscuits will be served.
Jochen (John) O.E.O. Mahncke,