South African Military History Society



The monthly meeting of the Society was again very well attended to hear Prof. D.W. Kruger of the University of Pretoria address us on the "Military Aspects of the Battle of Blood River."

The Chairman's introduction of Prof. Kruger which covered his past experience both in and out of the Republic as an historian, left us in no doubt that we would be listening to an expert.

Professor Kruger's lecture came up to all expectations. He traced the events leading up to the final action, detailing the strategy employed in bringing Dingaan's impis to battle against a superbly chosen defensive position.

Question time proved most novel as Dr. Machanik, one of the members present, was able to explain the exact workings of the "voorlaaier" of those days by demonstrating on one of his most treasured possessions - one of the few authenticated existing weapons actually used at the Battle of Blood River.

Our thanks to all for a most pleasant and instructive evening.


On Sunday, 11th August, 1968, a party of some 30 members and friends met Major G.N. van den Bergh, a member serving in the S.A. Artillery, and Mr. J. Coetzee, curator of the Potchefstroom Museum on the Potchefstroom Road. Frankly, the writer could not think how they could possibly entertain us on historical matters for an entire day. How wrong I was.

First we went to a Voortrekker Fort built in 1843 near Fochville where we were told the story of its origin by Mr. Coetzee. From here we went on to Potchefstroom Museum and Winslow Fort of the 1880-81 War fame. After a picnic lunch at the lovely Potchefstroom Dam, we were taken to the battlefield of Frederikstad, where Major van den Bergh delivered a most interesting lecture on the tactics of the battle.

On behalf of all present I should like to thank Major van den Bergh and Mr. Coetzee for a most pleasant and interesting day, made more so by the hard work done by both of them beforehand. The battle maps which were distributed, bore ample evidence of the preparation involved.

Let us hope that our Honorary Editors make sure that the information gained appears in the Journal.



same date & venue. TIME 7.15.p.m.

Pat Rice.
Honorary Secretary.


A circular has just arrived from Ladysmith Historical Society advising us of two battlefield tours to take place on Saturday and Sunday the 7th and 8th September, 1968.

The Saturday tour will be to Vaalkrantz, scene of Buller's third unsuccessful attempt to break through to Ladysmith. This tour will leave the Royal Hotel, Ladysmith, at 2.00 p.m.

The Sunday tour will leave the Royal Hotel at 9.00 a.m. to visit Spioenkop, which was the scene of Buller's disastrous attempt to break through following his first abortive attempt at Colenso.

Mr. B. "Pitch" Christopher will conduct both tours. Having been present at a similar week-end arranged during May, I have no hesitation in advising members to avail themselves of the opportunity of being present.

Will all those who wish to attend, please contact me at once.

Home: 43-1783 (After 6.00. p.m.)
Office:52-6916 (Business hours.)

Pat Rice.

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