South African Military History Society


(Copy from the Johannesburg Reference Library Date-Stamped 13 July 1968)

The first important milestone since the establishmont of our Society in October 1966 was reached in December 1967, with the publication of the Military History Journa1 No.1. It has received much favourable comment and its value is reflected in a dramatic increase in the membership of the Society. In December 1967, our membership totalled 64. At the end of May 1968, it had grown by 94 to a total of 158.

This is a satisfactory state of affairs but the Society must continue to grow and to do this it is essential that we build up a reserve of interesting and, if possible, hitherto unpublished articles for publication in future Journals. (Journa1 No.2 is already in the printer's hands.) With our present membership there must be a veritabe mine of information of the type required by our hard-working Honorary Editor. In the case of everyone of us something has motivated our interest such as a visit to an old battlefiold, a war diary or a badge. Whatever it was it has led us to studying various aspects of the subject in detail. Please 1st us have your stories with the facts checked for accuracy.

To assist members to corrospond with those of similar interests we have analysed the "application for membership forms" and classified them accordingly. We assume that overy momber is interested in general military history but, in addition, many have specialised in particular aspects such as badge collecting or uniforms. We hope that the attached list will be of use to them.

We were treated to a superb lecture on the Zulu War of 1879 delivered by a Natal member, Mr. G.A, Chadwick at our May meeting. After giving a general picture of the overall attack plan and the fates of the subsidiary columns, he painted a backround picture of the battles of Isandhlwana and Rorke's Drift and then concentrated on the lesser known battles of Hlobane and Kambula. His excellent sketch maps left no doubt of the tactics used and pin-pointed the location of tho battlefields for those of us who do not know the area. We should like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Mr. Chadwick, who is recognised as one of the leading authorities on the Zulu Wars.

Whilst discussing this subject, we would like to inform members that Mr. A.H.Wade of the Vryheid district, an authority on the death of the Prince Imperial during the Zulu War, is prepared to direct people visiting the area to the monuments and supply other historical data. We hope that you will take advantage of this offer if you happen to be in the district.

At the following meeting, held on the 13th June, we were entertained by Dr. Peter Becker, the author of "Path of Blood". He gave an enthralling talk on "The History of Bantu Tribal Warfare during the 19th Century,". We extend our thanks for a most gripping and enjoyable lecture.

During May four of us had the great pleasure of being present at the inaugural meeting of "The Ladysmith Historical Society." which was formed under the chairmanship of Mr. George Tatham. The main objects of this new society are to promote the study of the history of Ladysmith and its surroundings. It is steeped in military history, particularly at the turn of the century. We hope that members of the Ladysmith Historical Society will be willing to share their detailed knowledge of their battlefields etc. with us in the form of lectures to our Society and conducted tours of places of interest.


Please diarise the 11th August, 1968. Major S.W.I Kotzé who has made a study of the history of the Potchefstroom area has offered to conduct members on a tour of places and monuments of historical interest.

The final itinerary will be announced at the General Meeting but all those who are interested in going are aaked to contact Mr. Rice (Phone 43-1783) as soon as possible. Transport will be arranged if required.


The next meeting of the Society will be held at the National War Museum on Thursday the 11th July, 1968, at 8.00 p.m. The guest speaker will be Commandant G. Duxbury who will talk on the South African War of 1881. Major Southey who was to speak on this subject is unfortunately ill.

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