South African Military 
History Society


News Sheet No. 7.
May 1973


Aspects of local history never seem to lose their interest. This was borne out by the fact that 30 persons attended the monthly get-together on Thursday, 10th May, to hear Mrs. Daphne Strutt, Curator of the Local History Museum, deliver an address on Dick King. An extremely well-prepared talk, supported by old documents, sketches and maps, which had been laid out on two long tables, gave an insight into many hitherto little known aspects of Dick King's life. Best know for his epic ride to Grahamstown he would, in all probability, even without this achievement, have earned for himself a niche in the annals of Natal. Although a modest and unpretentious man, endowed with a very considerable measure of courage and determination, his deeds have added much colour to the early history of Natal, as for instance when, after the murder of Piet Retief and the sacking of Durban by Dingaan's hordes, he set out on foot to warn the Voortrekker encampments in the Natal midlands of the Zulu threat. This feat was no less arduous and dangerous than his subsequent ride. Mrs. Strutt succeeded, in masterly fashion, in interweaving the main facts of his life with interesting incidents and anecdotes which illustrated not only the part he played in the military history of this province, but also gave, a better understanding of Dick King as a person.

The Durban Branch was happy, on this particular occasion, to welcome a visitor from the Johannesburg Branch in the person of Mr. S. Beadle whose grandfather had been the first white man to be met by Dick King at the conclusion of his ride.


(1) Weekend Trip to Ladysmith.

This branch is planning a trip to Ladysmith and surrounding battlefields for the weekend 23rd/24th June. As most of the points of interest can be approached to within a short distance by car this outing should not require any strenuous effort and need not deter any of the older or frailer members from participation. An endeavour is being made to find an expert guide and commentator.

Major Darrell Hall has indicated that he would be prepared to present one of his slide talks by way of an evening's entertainment on the Saturday evening. Everyone who has seen and heard one of these programmes before will know their incomparable quality. (We note with satisfaction that Darrell, a former Durban branch member, has been appointed a member of the Johannesburg Society's Committee.)

Details in regard to rendezvous and itinerary will be made known at a later stage, but members wishing to participate would be well advised to make early reservation of accommodation. The majority of members are expected to be staying at the Royal Hotel, 128 Murchison Street (Box 12), Telephone Ladysmith 65. Other hotels are: The Crown, 90 Murchison Street (Box 9), Telephone 85, and Andrews Motel (Box 335) Telephone 576.

(2) Monthly Programme

June 14th Maj. Justin Hulme, Chairman, Durban Branch, S.A. Nilitary History Society, will give a talk entitled "A Review of Early South African Military Units".

July 12th Col. Frank Coulter, SM, DSC, Group Commander, 10 Commando Group, will give a talk on "Raiding Forces and the Levant Schooner Flotilla in combined operations in tho AEgean Sea during the years 1943-45 when 400 allied fighting men kept 400,000 enemy garrison troops at bay".

August 9th Mr. Gerry Gore, a former Police Officer in Cyprus, will give a talk entitled "Cyprus, Island in Revolt". At present a serving officer in the Commandos, Mr. Gore has also served as an officer in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and in the King's West African Rifles.

September 13th Dr. Ian Copley will give a talk, accompanied by some slides, on "Robin Hood". (We have been assured that this story has some significance from a military history point of view.)


While guests and visitors are at all times most welcome and members are invited to bring them along, an appeal is hereby made to those guests who find our proceedings of interest and wish to attend regularly to support the efforts of the Society by enrolling as members in their own right. lIiembership application forms will be laid out at all meetings or may be applied for from tho undersigned.


A limited edition of 100 Royal Worcester porcelain bone china models by artist Doris Linder of the Queen (then Princess Elizabeth) in 1947 on police horse Tammy for the Trooping of the Colour, sold then for 100 guineas each. Each piece is now worth 7 000 sterling!


Sir Winston Churchill explained how he had answered the French generals who had asked him how England would be able to withstand an invasion. "So I said that of course I'm not a military expert and I was always very careful in not meddling in these sort of questions, but that my professional advisers told me that the best way to deal with such an invasion would be to drown as many as possible on the way over, and knock the rest on the head as they crawled ashore."

T.M. Johnston

South African Military History Society /