South African 
Military History Society


Is it just me, or do the days now only have 12 hours, and the weeks only four days? That's the way it seems of late, or is it that I'm getting older. I sumpose its rather like the ice creams were always bigger when we were children. Anyway, although it only seems like yesterday that I posted of the last newsletter, here we are again.


As you can see we've finally managed to come up with something a little better, by way of a name. At least I think its better, being as I thought it up. If anyone has a better suggestion, please, Please, PLEASE, contact me.

Last month we saw Niel Veitch give a very lucid account of Buller's upper Tugela Campaign, including various visual aids, or at least until the epidiascope gave up the ghost. Sorry, Niel!! This mishap was more than compensated far by a first class map, and many slides of the Spion Kop area. Niel took those himself on a field trip. These went to prove the advantages of the "illustrated talk," by literally taking us to the places where the events occurred.

During this trip, Niel, was a witness to some of the exhumations of the war dead, before their re-interrment in War Graves Commision Cemetries. Rather grisly, but of interest. I know that this can be something of a contentious subject, so if any-one has anything to say, pro or con, perhaps we could hear about it via "Despatch."

Thank you, Niel, for an entertaining and illuminating talk, presented under difficult circumstances.

Our thanks are also due to Frank Mitchell, who gave us a brief run down on the happenings in Zululand during May. There seem to have been all sorts of high jinks, and the bus that was used, sounded like something out of the Marx Brothers.

I was hoping to have received something from Durban telling me about the Tattoo, but I can only go by hearsay reports of the Television coverage. From all accounts it was well worth the time and trouble, and more than covered expenses. This may be the fore-runner of a regular occurrence.

Woody Nel reports that the last known "buitelander" has just celebrated his centenary, in Brussels. For those not familiar with the term (Yours Truly included) the "buitelanders" were the Angle-Boer War equivalent of the International Brigade. Its's strange how any international conflict attracts outside interest. I've always been surprised at the number of people who are prepared to put their life on the line for a cause that isn't their own, or just for the love of a fight. Anyway as for "Tom" keuzenkamp, he was given a "Kruger Medal", and received telegrams from the SADF, and the State President. It's nice to know that "forgotten warriors" aren't always forgotten.


Rather short notice, but I've just received notification that the Ladysmith Historical Society has arranged a tour of the Ladysmith battle sites. The itinerary appears to be pretty full and interesting. The only problem is that it is taking place this week-end (4th Aug - 5th Aug.). Sorry, but if anybody will be in the area contact G.TATHAM, at Tel: 5014

I have contacted Casdagrove Ltd, re the Zulu War Commemoration documentary film " Black as Hell: Thick as Grass". From whet I understand this is a somewhat controversial look at Isandlhwana and Rorke's Drift. No dates as yet but watch this space for further details, as this will be an added extra to the published programme.

Suggestions have been received for changing the starting time of our meetings, from 8-00pm to 8-15pm. Unless I receive adverse comment this will become effective for the SEPTEMBER meeting.

I mentioned sometime ago that the 24th Regt, had commisioned a special cover to match the Zulu War Commemoration stamps. I have finally received mine, and will be bringing them along to the next mecting for anyone interested to have a look at.

I have been approached by Dr R. Greenwall of 59, Station Road, Observatory, to ask for assistance in research he is doing into pictoral representations of the Boer War. He is particularly interested in the works of the following three artists:

ALL three were involved with the Harmsworth publications "WITH THE FLAG TO PRETORIA," and " AFTER PRETORIA- THE GUERILLA WAR."

Anyone having any information whatso-ever is asked to contact Dr Greenwall at the above address. He is also interested in Africana in general so if you have a like interest, please contact him. You never know, he may be able to help you on a subject that you are looking into. I know that he has an enviable collection in his own right, and is a knowledgable fellow on sevral topics.

Wargaming reared it's head during the month of June. My apologies to those I didn't get round to. The rules seem to have multiplied in complexity since I last indulged, but once absorbed they provide for practically all battlefield occurrances: from weather condtions, to Pte Blogs failing to appear with the rations. As a by the way, the German Para's held Monte Cassino, and gave the Allies a severe drubbing, exterminating the 9th Ghurkas in a vicious night attack.

If anyone has a hankering to become a Crusader, or an Accursed Musselmen give me a bell. This one seems to be a lot of fun, allowing for all the treacherous individuality of those "Chivalrous" brethren. Another idea is to try running an Armada, from construction of your fleet to raising rebellion in your enemy's rear. It sounds terribly uncomfortable, but I shall refrain from making obvious off-colour jokes. I'll leave that to your imagination.

You may have seen a letter in the Argus. It's brought in a fair response, but I'll be introducing new members as things progress. Watch the Cape Times and Die Burger, and keep your fingers crossed that things go as well there.


A fair amount happening in this section this month, and an added bonus coming your way after Notice Board.

AFTER THE BATTLE:A quarterly magazine, dealing with WW II battle fields, then and now. Each issue has 56pp and concentrates on one specific area with comparative photo's and descriptive text. There are also featurs on the war carreers of well known personalities, preserved equipment, wreck recovery etc. Thre are, at present 23 titles in the series, such as Normandy, Market Garden Dieppe, Corregidor Etc, etc. For further details, give me a bell.

THE NAPOLEONIC WARS, 1792-1815: Michael Glover/ Batsford Ltd. 322pp Hardbound. This is an axpensive book, (approx 25-00), but is an interesting assembly of facts and illustrations, graphically tracing the history of this turbulent period. Highly readable, and crammed with facts covering the naval, military, economic and diplomatic aspects. Reccommended for the enthusiast.

THE GERMAN RIFLE: John Walter/ Arms & Armour Press. 160pp Hardbound. A comprehensive. illustrated history of the standard bolt action rifle design, from 1641 to 1945. A breakdown of all the major types developed from Dreyse and Mauser, from the "needle gun" to the Gewehre 93/40 and 33/40. Development history, service carreer, mechanical description, et el. Another one for the enthusiast, but if this is where your interest lies, then an absolute must for your library.

ROMMEL: CAMPAIGNS AND BATTLES. Kenneth Macksey/Arms & Armour Press. 224pp Illustrated + 24 maps & diagrams. For those of you that know A&AP I hardly have to say more. The author is a recognized authority on tank warfare, and provides a perceptive analysis of the man and his military career. He leads one through WW I to North Africa, Normandy and the implicatons of the 20th July plot to assassinate Der Fuhrer. An enthralling account of the "Desert Fox."


Oh! Deary me!! What a sorry lot. Thanks Mac, and Woody, What would I do without you two. Those that phoned, I think that I have covered any queries, but if I haven't, you are more then welcome to beat me over the head, preferably with an inscribed piece of paper. It's a lot less easy to forget than the telephone, and it's even cheaper.


Not too much for this section again, so I'll just give details of our forthcoming attractions.

9th August The Fascination of War Medals and Decorations.
This is to be a joint meeting with the Cape Town Medal Collectors Group, so let's see as many as possible there.

13th September. The End Of The Mandate: 1946. Col A. J. Barker.
Personal recollections of Palestine.

That's all for now.



South African Military History Society /