The Annual General Meeting on 13th April should have started with a fanfare since our Branch has been in existence for 30 Years. From humble beginnings, struggling to pay rent, stationary and telephone expenses, we have slowly grown into an acknowledged branch of over 100 full and associate members, financially independent, recognized overseas. We have a suitable venue which associates and puts us in touch with old servicemen, and the list of past and future talks presented is as varied as it is impressive based on the expertise and willingness of our speakers. This is also confirmed by the fact that 29 members and 23 visitors were present that evening. We are extremely grateful to all Committee members who offer so much of their spare time to keep things running, who organize tours and undertake research into military history subjects to the benefit of everybody. We hope that with the help of all our members we will continue to grow and keep the interest in South African and World Military History alive for many years to come.
The composition of our Committee did not change, all serving members made themselves available for re-election and were duly re-elected and confirmed:
Chairman: Derek O'Riley
Vice-Chairman/Scribe: John Mahncke
Hon. Treasurer: Bob Buser
Members: Tony Gordon, Johan van den Berg, Mac Bisset
Our Hon. Auditor, Geoff Mangin, was also once more confirmed in his position.
Anyone wishing to obtain a copy of the audited Balance Sheet is asked to contact Bob Buser at 021-689-1639 (after hrs.)
We were privileged to have two speakers at our Society evening of 11th May who talked on the subject of the US Marine Corps. They were Sergeants Richard Dollar and Marshall Gobba, in full uniform, from the USMC Detachment guarding the US Consulate in Cape Town. They gave us an overview of the history of their Corps which was created on the10th of November, 1775. The Corps motto, adopted in 1883, is Semper Fidelis ("always faithful"). It is an idea central to the Marine code of conduct, not only to their country but also to each other. Originally organised as the Continental Marines for ship-to-ship fighting, shipboard security, and to assist in landing forces, by the early 20th century the Marine Corps has grown into the dominant advocate for amphibious warfare. With service in every war in US history including ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Marine Corps has evolved into a multi-purpose role in the current US military. The speakers showed us the structure of the Corps, using excellent slides to explain the various branches, their tasks, and how Marine Corps Training is done. They also described the enlistment of Marines and their intensive training for recruits and commissioned officers at the various camps in the USA. The corps has 180 000 active and 40 000 reserve Marines. In absolute terms, the Marine Corps is larger than the armed forces of many major nations, it is, for instance, even larger than the British Army. The Marines have become an integral part of NATO defence, and have been deployed for both offensive and humanitarian missions.
It was a most interesting lecture which led to a variety of questions from members of the audience, and we are most grateful to the speakers for taking the time to inform us on their Corps of which both are extremely and justifiably proud.
A member paid an affiliate subscription at our May meeting using an ABSA Bank cheque. The treasurer, unfortunately, did not note the name of the member. Could he please contact the treasurer at 021-689-9771 (mornings only).
Dennis Croukamp's book on his experiences as a Warrant Officer in the Selous Scouts is now available, titled: Only My Friends Call me "Crouks" - Reminiscences of a Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist, Paperback, 477 pp, at R290,00. This is one of those rare books that comes along only once in a decade or longer - the author tells it as it was, unvarnished, seen from the ground-level, no effort to safeguard careers. If it is your type of or to your taste, make sure you don't miss it - the print run is limited to a 1 000 copies. The book can be purchased from fellow-members Johan van den Berg (The Military Bookshop - Tel: 021-939-7923 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) or David McLennan (Select Books in Long Street, Cape Town - Tel: 021-424-6955 or e-mail: email@example.com). (The author self-published the book, therefore all proceeds will revert back to the author).
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
An in-depth illustrated talk by Simon Norton
THREAT PERCEPTIONS AND STRATEGIES DURING THE 1960s & THE SADF'S ASSESSMENTS AND RESPONSES
An illustrated talk by Rodney C. Warwick
AN UPDATE ON THE MILITARY/POLITICAL SITUATION ON THE AFRICAN CONTINENT
A talk on the South African involvement in this pivotal battle.
Speaker: Major Helmoed-Roemer Heitman
THE FINAL BATTLE OF EL ALAMEIN IN OCTOBER 1942
Speaker: Colonel Lionel Crook SM JCD
TRAGEDY AT KUFRA
An illustrated Talk by Francois de Wet on the disappearance of 3 SAAF Blenheims in North Africa in 1942 in which his uncle, Major de Wet, was lost.
December: In recess
Society meetings are normally held on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 20:00 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. All visitors welcome. Tea and biscuits will be served.
Jochen (John) Mahncke