South African Military History Society


JOHANNESBURG - at a Committee meeting held on Thursday 14th June 1979, Mr. H.W. (Nick) Kinsey having been proposed, was unanimously elected VICE-CHAIRMAN of the Society. Our congratulations to Nick who we are sure will maintain the high standards set by his predecessors.

THE JUNE MEETING - was held also on Thursday 14th June 1979 and was addressed by Major V.G. Metcalfe on the subject of his "EXPERIENCES AS A WAR ARTIST".

This evening turned out to be the coldest of the winter up to that stage - and no doubt accounted for a rather poor attendence; only 40 persons braving the weather.

Major Metcalfe started by giving a brief leading up to his attending the Constantine School (of Art) in Middlesborough and later the Chelsea School of Art.

The Second World War intervening saw Major Metcalfe as a Gunner Subaltern in Southern India when he received the call from Delhi of his appointment as an Official War Artist. From here on Major Metcalfe remini[s]sced on his experiences in India and Burma and also on some of the major personalities whose portraits he painted, these including Field Marshal Auchinleck and General Slim. Each remini[s]cence was in fact a "verbal canvas" and the Scribe was impressed by Major Metcalfe's ability to explain an event so graphically after some 30 years, and to paint a picture in doing so. Major Metcalfe concluded with a resume of his appointment as Official War Artist to the South African Defence Force attached to the Army and some of his recent visits to the Border area.

The thanks of those present was given to Major Metcalfe by Major D.D. Hall.

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Thurs. 12 July - talk due to be given by Mr. R. Cornwell has been cancelled due to his being Overseas - and we have been fortunate in securing the British Miliary Attache Cal. E.H. Tremlett who will speak on "THE CAMPAIGN IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA".

Thurs. 19 July - Film and Slide evening -
Arrangements have been made for an additional meeting to be held on this evening, for the showing of a film on the Zulu War and slide show.
The film, produced by Casdagrove Limited (Zulu War Centenary Merchandising) will be shown by Mr. Peter Walton of that firm and various souvenirs or silver mementoes, together with ties and cravats, which have already been exhibited to the Society and to which reference was made in the June 1979 Newsletter, will be on sale.

The slide show will be given by Major Darrell Hall and will be a light-hearted (and probably libellous) look at members of the Society who enjoyed the recent trip to Zululand for the Zulu War Centenary. If it is anything like his previous "character assassinations" it should prove most enjoyable.

Thurs. 9 August - Mr. C. Stewart will talk on "THE CHARGE OF THE LIGHT BRIGADE"

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Thur 12 July - BULLERS UPPER TUGELA CAMPAIGN" a talk illustrated with slides by Mr. N.J. Veitch.


JULY - Sunday Mini Tour of the Oude Dorp Potchefstroom, the Presidents House, The Park and other historical sites - (full details from Mr.J. Orford - K/dorp 81131)

16th August (Provisional date). - Major D.D.Hall "Scharnhorst/Gneisenau" venue the hall at K/dorp Library (date / time will be confirmed in next newsletter)

DURBAN - Unfortunately still no news from our friends.

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A. OBITUARY - it is with deep regret that we advise the death of Group Captain G.D.L. Haysom D.S.O., D.F.C., a member of that select band of airmen - "one of the few".

B. PHOTOS TAKEN - during the May tour of the Zulu War battlefields have now been printed and are now available priced at 70 cents each - contact Dudley Aitken at the "WAR" MUSEUM if interested.

C. The Scribe has been busy moving from the "Mink and Manure" to the "Manure" and from now on can be contacted -
MAIL - P.O. BOX 2150,
PHONE - Office - 836-7621
Home - Heidelberg (Tvl) - 0151 - 3335.

D. The following is a letter written on 28 January 1900 by Ted Elton to friends in Knysna - The copy of this letter was submitted by Mr. Paul W. Barker who advises that the original is held by a friend of his in Johannesburg:-

Jan. 28th, 1900.
(During the Boer War).

Letter sent to Knysna friends from an old resident.

First of all, many thanks to you and the girls for all their letters, received them yesterday. We have been away in the hills fighting like blazes for the last month. I have been through several engagements and two big battles; on the first we were ordered to take a big steep hill, after one of our regiments had been driven off it, with strict orders not to come back! We swarmed up like ants, under a very heavy fire from the Boers. We took the hill, and kept it, being under heavy cross fire all night and next day. I had some narrow escapes from shells, one of which burst near me, and bullets which came like rain. This was the Battle of Acton Homes (Sugar Loaf Hill) . The other night we were ordered to take another mountain at the point of the bayonet. We left 6 p.m. and got to the top of the mountain about 2.30 a.m. when we charged the Boers with fixed bayonets, our Regiment leading as usual. We held the place all night, and at 6 a.m. the great battle of "Spion Kop" commenced and lasted two days. During the whole of which time, we were under a most fearful hill fire of shells, and explosive bullets. Our men felt like rotten apples. All our officers (with the exception of two) were killed. I was helping a wounded officer when a shell burst near me, hitting both of us. Luckily only knocking one down, giving me a nast knock.

To be concluded in next Newsletter.

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Keep well - best regards
D C Landels

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