South African Military 
History Society


News Sheet No. 2.
November/December 1972


(a) Weekend Tour 28/29 October 1972.

To follow-up an earlier visit to Hlobane and Kambula, a weekend outing on the abovementioned dates was attended by five members of this Branch. They were happy to welcome in their midst Darrell Hall and the Benade family who had specially motored down from Johannesburg. The rendezvous was at the Luneburg church where the military cemetery, which contains Capt Moriarty's grave, and Fort Clery provided points of interest. Stopping at the Filter - Larsen Memorial on the way the party then proceeded to Myer's Drift across the Intombi River to inspect the battle site, old wagon drift, graves and monument. Midge Carter gave a lucid description of the battle which took place at this spot on the 11th March 1879.

On the way to Paulpietersburg a stop was made at the Commando Rocks where in April 1902 the Utrecht and Vryheid Commandos met Louis Botha to choose their representatives for the peace negotiations at Vereeniging. The rest of the afternoon, after stopping briefly at the Kruger Bridge, was spent at Holkrantz, the site of an engagement between a Boer Commando under Field Cornet J .A. Potgieter and a Zulu impi under Sikobobo on 6th May 1902. A separate memorandum dealing with this action has been prepared by the Branch Secretary and is available on application. (20c. per copy).

The night was spent at the Stilwater Motel, Vryheid, vhere Darrell Hall provided an evening's entertainment, in inimitable style and technique, of slide talks on
(a) "The story of the Zulus",
(b) "Delville Wood" and
(c) "Holiday in the Sun" - Part I - (Military experiences in Aden).

The party woke on Sunday morning to a misty and drizzly day which, however, did not dampen its eagerness to scale the heights of Hlobane Mountain, after making a brief visit to the Old Raadsaal and Fort in Vryheid. Taking the cars as close to the base of the hill as possible the group ascended the eastern slope of Tendeka in the direction of Piet Uys' grave which was reached after 1½ hours climb. The extremely rugged terrain of the Devil's Pass on which Col. Buller gained his V.C., but Col. Weatherley and the veteran Uys lost their lives, emphasised the dramatic circumstances under which the British retreat had to be carried out and left a deep impression on the members present. The return trip was made towards midday and under the shelter of some large thorn trees next to the cars the party enjoyed an alfresco luncheon before taking their departure.

The Durban members mado a further detour in. the vicinity of Rorke's Drift to visit Fort Pine, a remarkably well-preserved stone fort of considerable dimensions erected after the battle of Isandhlwana as part of the string of fortifications designed to protect Natal against a Zulu invasion.

This was altogether a memorable weekend.

Monthly Get-together.

The monthly Branch meeting, which was attended by twenty-one persons, took place on the second Thursday as usual (9th November) in the Board Room of the Department of Bantu Administration, 132 Ordnance Road.

Captain Ken Johnson, R.A., gave an extremely interesting talk on helicopter usages in modern warfare. The second half of the ovening was enlivened by Midge Carter who showed his colour slides taken during the weekend trip mentioned above.


In view of the many commitments of the Christmas period there will be no Branch meeting or News Sheet in December.


January 11th
Mr. Alton Dighton (ex Lancaster Bomber Pilot) will give a lecture on "Pathfinder Squadrons of the R.A.F." February 22nd (Please note this is not the second Thursday)
Speaker and subject will be announced in the January News Sheet. March 15th
Commandant S. Bourquin will give a talk, illustrated with colour slides, on "The Cato Manor Riots of 1959." April 12th
Mr. H.W. Schmidt, author of "With Rommel in the Desert", will talk on his experiences as a former Captain in the Afrika Korps and one-timo A.D.C. to Field Marshal Rommel.

Please note that in view of the lateness of the February meeting the March meeting will not be held on the second Thursday but on the third Thursday in March (i.e. 15th).

T.M. Johnston

South African Military History Society /