South African Military History Society


Past meeting - Johannesburg:

On 13 September 1979 thirty-odd members and guests attended Colonel A.D. Cilliers' lecture "Reminiscences of being on the staff of Gen. Dan Pienaar."

As a result of his prewar experience in the S.A.Police and Railway Police, Col. Cilliers was seconded to the Union Defence Force to organise and train the South African Corps of Military Police. He first met Dan Pienaar on a troopship en route to East Africa when the then Brigadier Pienaar commented on the badge worn by the Provosts - it turned out to be of Pienaar's design.

During the desert campaign, Cilliers had considerable contact with Pienaar, later on joining his staff. Pienaar consistently chased away the guard platoon normally assigned to a General, but tolerated a Provost team whose principal problem was to keep him from being captured. Cilliers' impressions of Gen. Pienaar as a terrific soldier and a very human leader were conveyed in many anecdotes, informally told to an appreciative and often amused audience.

Col. Cilliers also spoke of Dan Pienaar's predecessor, George Brink, who literally led his army from the front ...... in an 8 cylinder staff car at 80 plus miles an hour, leaving his truck convoy struggling gamely behind him. The speaker also mentioned Frank Theron and the Duke of Gloucester.

Mr. Frank Winder thanked Col. Cilliers on behalf of the Society for his much appreciated lecture.

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Future meetings - Johannesburg.

Thursday 11th October: Bill Garr - "Gettysburg."
Paul Barker - "Some planes of the Luftwaffe."
Fred Wright - "Episodes in the War in the desert."

Thursday 8th November: Mr. Keith Campbell - "Sino-Vietnamese War,
Feb.1979, and an assessment of China as a Military Power.

Future meetings - Durban.

Thursday 18th October: Major D. Mack - "Operation Savannah."

Thursday 8th November: Leuitenant-Colonel N.S.E.Martin - "The history of NATO."

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A selection of recent books on South African Military History, compiled by Prof. Barnard:-
Gon, Philip, The road to Isandhlwana, the Years of an Imperial Battalion. A.D. Donker, Johannesburg, 1979. 288pp., illus., maps., bibl. Price R14,95.
(Dr. Philip Gon is a Johannesburg member of our Society. His book, just published, deals with the South African campaigns of the 24th (2nd Warwickshire)Regiment of Foot. Congratulations, Dr. Gon!)

Grundlingh, A.M., Die "Hendsoppers" en "Joiners", Die Rasionaal en Verskynsel van Verraad." HAUM, Pretoria, 1979. 379 pp., illus., bibl. Prys: Rl2,75.

Pakenham, Thomas, The Boer War. Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg, 1979. xxii, 659 pp., illus., maps, bibl. Price: R21,90.

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Information sought: Calisher and Terry Rifles.

Information on their use in South Africa is wanted by Brian Knapp (94 Teglan Park, Tycroes, Ammanford, Dyfed, Wales, U.K.) for a project on which he is currently working. Anyone who owns or knows of, a Calisher & Terry, or who can supply information on the units using them (either as official issue or privately purchased), the numbers made and issued, actions where C&T rifles were used etc., is asked please to get in touch with Brian Knapp. He is also interested in information on the South African military use of the British Army SHARPS CARBINE of 1857.

That's all ..... Joan Marsh.

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